Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Crisis Housing Act which would establish a new automatic housing assistance program to provide emergency rental assistance vouchers to households during natural disasters or economic recessions.

“When responding to an unforeseen disaster like a pandemic, hurricane, or economic recession, families cannot wait in uncertainty for a relief bill to pass in Congress,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “As we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for rental assistance skyrockets in times of economic downturns, and we need a system that can rapidly deploy support to ensure vulnerable families at risk of displacement continue to have access to stable housing. Housing insecurity affects far too many families as is, and this bill would provide an automatic safety net to those most in need during a crisis.”

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States had an affordable housing crisis, which puts more families on the brink of displacement. The pandemic has further highlighted the heightened vulnerability of families in the case of economic crises in the future. There is currently no housing support program that is automatically triggered when a natural or economic disaster occurs, and this bill would remedy that gap.

The Crisis Housing Act would automatically provide low-income families and individuals with rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when either: the Stafford Act is invoked during a natural disaster, or when the state unemployment rate suddenly increases by a specific amount.

This legislation is the House companion bill to the Crisis Housing Act introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). You can read a one-pager of the bill here and the full bill text here.

Statements of Support:

“One of the fundamental lessons of this pandemic is how important housing assistance is in a crisis or disaster,” said Stephen Norman, Executive Director of the King County Housing Authority. “The speed at which aid can be provided is critical. Representative Smith’s bill is a common sense approach that lays the groundwork, before a crisis, for the government to respond quickly. He should be commended for paying attention to a nuts and bolts issue in federal policy that will make a real difference in people’s lives when assistance is needed.”

“Disasters often hit the lowest income households hardest, yet these same families struggle to receive the housing assistance they need afterwards. The result is often a predictable and entirely preventable rise in eviction and homelessness rates,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “If passed, the Crisis Housing Act would play a critical role in providing safe, accessible, and affordable homes to individuals with the greatest needs after a disaster by providing longer-term, flexible, rental assistance – helping them safely recover without the fear of being rendered homeless.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the House voted to override the President’s veto of the Conference Report for the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 by a vote of 322 to 87.

“Today the House reiterated – in a resounding, bipartisan way – that our service members and national security are more important than politics. By overriding the President’s veto, the House prioritized compromise and sound policy over legislative nihilism and blind political loyalty. By overriding the President’s veto, the House asserted the role of the legislative branch and underscored the importance of our constitutional separation of powers. But most importantly, today’s veto override ensures that our service members and their families have the resources they need to continue to execute their missions and defend our country.

“Following today’s vote in the House, I urge Leader McConnell to move swiftly in the Senate. While procedural hurdles remain, I am confident that the veto override vote will ultimately be successful – not because of politics, but because of the NDAA’s merits. It is Congress’ constitutional duty to provide for the common defense, and this responsibility should not be taken lightly.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the CASH Act, a stand-alone bill to increase the economic impact payments in the COVID relief bill from $600 to $2,000.

“I am proud to support passage of the CASH Act today, which would provide $2,000 direct cash payments as an economic lifeline for millions of Americans. After Congress and the Trump Administration reached an agreement on a COVID-19 relief and appropriations funding package, President Trump suddenly decided he would delay signing the bill into law, further exacerbating the struggles facing individuals and families across the country. Democrats have long pushed for increased direct payments, but House and Senate Republicans and the Trump Administration have opposed higher payments at every step of the negotiations.

“Now the President suddenly claims he supports $2,000 direct payments. If the President wants to follow through on his support for $2,000, he would demand that Senate Republicans bring this bill up for a vote immediately. Republicans have repeatedly failed to work with Democrats to provide the health and economic relief needed during this crisis. Signing this bill into law would help families struggling to put food on the table or make next month’s rent payment. We will continue to fight to provide Americans with the substantial support they need during this pandemic and economic crisis.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Trump vetoed the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 335-78-1 and in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 84-13.

“By choosing to veto the NDAA, President Trump has made it clear that does not care about the needs of our military personnel and their families. If the FY21 NDAA does not become law, more than 100,000 federal employees will be deprived of the paid parental leave benefits they deserve, necessary military construction projects will not move forward on schedule, and our service members who are in harm’s way defending our country’s principles will not have access to the hazard pay they are owed.  

“The FY21 NDAA passed with overwhelming, veto-proof support in both the House and Senate, and I remain confident that Congress will override this harmful veto. While the President may not care about our service members and their families, Congress still places an immense value on their service and sacrifice.” 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement on the 10th anniversary of the end of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Ten years ago, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ allowed tens of thousands of LBGTQ service members to serve openly for the first time. Our men and women in uniform are the backbone of our national security – all Americans owe them, and their families, a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ affirmed that we, as a nation, respect and honor the service of these patriotic men and women, no matter who they love.

“The last decade has shown us that the diversity of our military is a point of strength and has proven when service members serve openly, our national security benefits. Despite the progress we have made these last ten years, working to create a more diverse and inclusive military, there is still much to be done. Because of the Trump Administration’s hateful policies, thousands of transgender service members cannot serve openly. These soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines deserve the same honor and respect as their cisgender peers, for their service and sacrifice is no different. Thankfully, President-elect Biden has made it clear he intends to reverse the Trump-era ‘trans ban’ immediately so that these patriots can continue to serve their nation as their authentic selves.

“Today is a day to reflect on our progress and reaffirm our commitment to LGBTQ Americans. Our next task must be enactment of the Equality Act, so that the LGBTQ community is protected from discrimination and prejudice.”

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