Press Releases

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement after the President’s speech on Syria:

“Last night, the President made it clear that the Assad regime murdered more than 1,400 people, including more than 400 children, with chemical weapons. This was a despicable act and I agree that the world must respond.     

“I am encouraged to see that the President has postponed a vote to authorize the use of force in Syria to pursue a potential diplomatic solution. While we have not seen specifics of the proposal, which will be put forward by Russia, it could require that Syria’s chemical weapons be put under the control of the international community and destroyed.  

“The proposal could potentially prevent and deter Assad from using chemical weapons again while avoiding military action. This would be the ideal outcome, but we should not rush to judgment. The proposal is still in its infancy and it must be fully vetted.

“This is a difficult situation, and ideally a diplomatic solution is achieved, but I still remain undecided that a military strike is the appropriate course of action should diplomacy fail.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) did not challenge state law and updated its federal enforcement policy to not target Washington State voters complying with state law:

“I was pleased to see the DOJ’s guidance to U.S. Attorneys on marijuana laws, ensuring that criminal activity remains a priority and residents who are abiding by Washington law will not be targeted.  The State’s voters spoke loud and clear last November when they passed I-502, and the DOJ not challenging state marijuana laws is a positive step to respect the will of the voters.

“There are still steps that need to be taken to protect individuals and a burgeoning business market.  Our state has invested significant resources, including money and hours of state employees’ time, to establish regulatory systems allowing for successful implementation of I-502, and yet businesses looking to invest in this industry and banks seeking new clients cannot do so without fear of prosecution or other penalties from the federal government.  Similar concerns weigh on individuals who, while fully complying with state statutes, can still face criminal charges, despite the DOJ’s guidance to not target these individuals.  

“Since I-502 passed, I have spoken with many federal officials and sent numerous letters urging the DOJ to respect the will of Washington State voters.  I have cosponsored bipartisan legislation offered by Representative Dana Rohrabacher that would let state’s marijuana laws preempt federal law, and legally protect all Washington State citizens following state law.  I have also supported legislation offered by Rep. Denny Heck of Washington, which would protect banks doing business with the legal Washington State marijuana industry from Federal statutes.  I will continue to work with the DOJ to get all necessary assurances for the people of Washington State.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington:

“Thousands gathered in Washington, DC and witnessed history when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream Speech" during the 1963 civil rights March on Washington.  50 years later, thousands will gather again at the Lincoln Memorial to continue the fight against prejudice, inequality, and discrimination that still plague our country.  America has come a long way, but we still face major challenges to equal opportunity, including the recent Supreme Court decision that dismantles the Voting Rights Act and allows states to block African American and Hispanic citizens from the polls with policies like voter ID laws.  Additionally, while the unemployment rate is still unacceptably high in our country, it is still higher among people of color. I will continue to fight in Congress for jobs and equal opportunity.  Let us honor Dr. King and the March on Washington by recommitting ourselves to equality for all.”
 
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After visiting the Jordan-Syria Border, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement on the situation in Syria:
 
“It now appears that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of Syrian civilians and the world must respond. The overall stability of the Middle East region and the security of our allies – including Turkey, Jordan, and Israel – are of critical importance to the security of the United States. Preventing al Qaeda from establishing a secure base of operations in Syria is vitally important to protecting the United States from terrorist attacks.

“In response, we should expand and accelerate our support for moderate elements of the opposition forces with both military and non-military aid. I also support efforts to help our regional allies cope with the wide range of spillover effects from the Syrian civil war. To be clear, I am not calling for an open-ended commitment to remove the Assad regime, but that does not mean we cannot act in a way that is consistent with our interests and values.

“We should be under no illusion that such aid will significantly influence the outcome of the struggle against Assad. But the Free Syrian Army exists and we must be better positioned to combat extremism. They can help us in the future, but only if we help them first.

“Al Qaeda's presence in Syria is extremely disturbing - a similar presence in Yemen eventually led to attempted attacks on the United States. We must have allies in Syria who can help us prevent a similar occurrence there. Even if the Geneva 2 process succeeds, the collapse of the regime would result in a lengthy period of instability when we would need allies."

“I am still waiting to see what specifically the Administration and other involved partners have to say about a potential military strike, but I am concerned about how effective such an action could be and, above all else, I am worried that such action could drag the United States into a broader direct involvement in the conflict.

“Military action could have significant consequences and there is no guarantee that it would improve the situation or promote a positive outcome. Any potential use of military force will have long-term costs and will put our troops in harm’s way.  Simply lashing out with military force under the banner of “doing something” will not secure our interests in Syria.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act this Saturday:

“Japanese Internment during World War II is one of the darkest stains on American History. Over 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced out of their homes and communities and placed into internment camps purely based on racial prejudice.  The Civil Liberties Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan 25 years ago, paid necessary reparations to surviving Japanese and Japanese Americans who were unjustly interned during World War II. Many of the Japanese and Japanese Americans interned lost their property, jobs, and their status and reputation in society.  Although long overdue, the Civil Liberties Act acknowledged and apologized for the discriminatory internment of U.S. citizens, provided funds to educate the population in hopes to prevent such prejudice from happening again, and paid surviving Japanese and Japanese Americans for injustices and any personal or community property that was taken or destroyed during the War.  
 
“Because many Japanese  and Japanese Americans were interned in Washington State, the Japanese internment plays an important role in the history of the region. Through museums such as the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, and the many Japanese Americans closely tied to this dark period of our shared history, the people of Washington’s 9th District are both educated and active in sharing the important lessons of Japanese internment.  I am honored to join my constituents and my colleagues in celebrating the 25th Anniversary on the Civil Liberties Act being signed into law.”

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