Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after opposing, H.R. 5, the Republican bill to reauthorize to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):

“Today, House Republicans lost sight of investing in the future of our children by passing an education bill that cuts funding by over $1 billion, eliminates provisions that ensure protections for disadvantaged students, and fails to develop and support our teachers.

“Now is the time to invest in areas like education that will grow and develop our future economy, not restrict and eliminate programs that protect our most disadvantaged students.  We need to fund programs that create a more equitable education system for English Language Learners, at-risk youth, rural students, Native students, and students with disabilities.  We need to provide our children with adequate resources and a prosperous learning environment to advance their education.  True reform will establish realistic goals and adequate performance criteria that stakeholders can agree upon to hold schools accountable for providing every student with a quality education.  Teachers must be equipped with the support and professional development necessary to meet the needs of increasingly diverse classrooms.  Standards should be high, but also attainable and enforceable to ensure our kids are ready to compete in the global economy.
 
“Unfortunately, H.R. 5 does none of this.  It eliminates standards that keep students on a path to graduate and become college and career-ready.   It cuts education funding across the board by over $1 billion below 2012 levels and creates block grants that allow funds to be shifted away from English Language Learners, migrant students, native students, or at risk-students.   Under the bill, after school programs lose funding and social and emotional support programs are eliminated.   The legislation also removes requirements for professional development for teachers and shifts funding support away from teachers in the most at-risk communities.  
 
“We are nearly four years late in reauthorizing our education programs and addressing the negative impact of No Child Left Behind on our schools’ ability to succeed.  However, this legislation does nothing to improve upon existing laws.  Our students deserve better.  I supported an amendment offered by Representative George Miller that included critical investments in education, created realistic goals and standards, and protected programs that help ensure all students can achieve and succeed.”
 

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Congressman Smith released the following statement after interest rates on federally backed Stafford student loans doubled today from 3.4 to 6.8 percent:

“Providing our youth with access to higher education is a necessary investment in the future health and prosperity of our country.  Federally backed student loans offer essential support and provide opportunities for hard-working families and talented students who are struggling to pay for college. At a time when private loan interest rates are increasing and college tuition is skyrocketing, we need to be looking for ways to make college more affordable.  Unfortunately, due to inaction in Congress, federally backed Stafford student loan interest rates doubled today from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.  

“The doubling of the interest rate is estimated to cost an additional $2,600 for each student who takes on these loans. It cannot be our policy to seek a balanced budget by increasing the burden of debt for aspiring college graduates, especially when this year alone the Department of Education expects to take in a profit of $51 billion from interest on student loans.  We need to do better for our students.  I cosponsored legislation offered by Representative Courtney that would extend the 3.4 percent interest rates for another two years.  This would give relief to students, while allowing Congress to focus on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and pass a long-term financing plan for student loans that families and students can rely on.”


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House Armed Service Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement after the House passed legislation improving protections of whistleblowers reporting sexual assault crimes:  
 
“I am pleased to see the House take action to pass legislation that addresses the issue of sexual assault in the military. It is critical that we do all we can to protect those who protect our nation. As demonstrated by the recent incidents of sexual assault, we are not doing enough. The defense bill that passed the House improved how sexual assaults are prosecuted, and the legislation passed yesterday, which reaffirmed the same language as NDAA, shows our commitment to protecting whistleblowers reporting sexual assaults in the military.  There is still more that needs to be done and I will continue to work with my colleagues to improve how we handle sexual assault in our Armed Services.”
 
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Congressman Adam Smith made the following statement after the passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate:

It is time to address our immigration system in a comprehensive way, and the Senate passage of their immigration reform bill is a huge step forward.  The legislation represents a bipartisan commitment to attract skilled workers, innovative minds, and dedicated individuals that will help create jobs, grow the American economy, and enrich the country with new perspectives and cultural diversity.  

As the debate over immigration reform moves forward to the House of Representatives, we must also look to improve our immigration system so that it  creates a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and keeps families together, while protecting our national priorities.  I will continue to work with organizations and communities in my district to ensure that we fix our broken immigration system in a way that builds our economy and reflects our national values.  

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Today, the Supreme Court ruled on two cases dealing with same-sex marriage.  In the case of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Court ruled the law unconstitutional, citing the Fifth Amendment, and enabling the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.  The Court also decided that those trying to reinstate Proposition 8 had no standing, effectively restoring marriage equality in California.  Congressman Smith released the following statement after the decisions:
 
“The Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality today are a huge step forward for our country.  By striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Constitutional right to equality for all Americans regardless of who they love.  Married same-sex couples will finally be recognized by the federal government and receive benefits previously denied such as Social Security survivor benefits, shared health insurance, and tax benefits for married couples.  Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled to return the right for same-sex couples to marry in California by allowing the lower courts to repeal Proposition 8.  
 
“Even with these rulings, significant work remains to ensure equal rights to the LGBT community.  Same-sex couples living in states that don’t recognize all marriages still face uncertainty and discrimination.  LGBT people can still be denied work simply based on who they are. Bullying in our schools is still a dangerous epidemic among youth who are or are perceived to be LGBT, and homelessness and poverty rates are still unacceptably high among LGBT people.  The Supreme Court’s decisions exhibit the tremendous progress we have made towards full equality, but we must remain committed to doing all we can to make sure equal opportunity and justice are realities for all Americans.”
 
Congressman Adam Smith has been a committed supporter in the fight for marriage equality and LGBT equal rights.  In February, he introduced the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, that would ensure that same-sex spouses received equal benefits in our Armed Services.  He also has cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which would have repealed DOMA, and signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
 

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