Press Releases

“With the passing of Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, our community has lost an instrumental leader of the civil rights movement.  After moving to Seattle in 1957 to become a pastor in the historic Mount Zion Baptist Church, Reverend McKinney was a pastor in the church for over 40 years. A former classmate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, he played a fundamental role in Dr. King’s trip to Seattle.

“As spiritual leader for many in the African-American community in Seattle, Reverend McKinney understood that for African-Americans to be fully empowered, they must be supported and uplifted economically. When he arrived in Seattle, he witnessed systematic injustices such as discrimination, redlining, high unemployment among African-Americans. Reverend McKinney established numerous organizations and businesses to combat discrimination.  He helped establish the first black-owned bank to challenge practices such as restricted loans. He also co-founded the Seattle Opportunities Industrialization Center, a vocational training organization. Though Reverend McKinney has passed away, his legacy and advocacy for equal rights of African-Americans will remain ever present in the Greater Seattle community.”

Smith Statement Opposing Deployment of National Guard Troops to Southern Border

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the recent deployment on National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border

April 10, 2018

“President Trump’s decision to deploy the National Guard on the U.S. border is an ill-conceived, unnecessary stunt that inappropriately militarizes the issue of immigration enforcement. He appears to have based his decision largely on reports disseminated by conservative talk shows. The fact remains that according to the U.S. Border Patrol, for Fiscal Year 2017, illegal border crossings are at their lowest levels since 1971. It is unclear what deploying the military for an indefinite period of time will accomplish that our civil authorities have not already done, beyond sending a discriminatory message to people fleeing violence and conflict, and diverting funds away from rebuilding military readiness.

“What we really need is comprehensive immigration reform and an end to demagoguery, and the President has taken us in the exact opposite direction. Frankly, if this Administration was committed to decreasing the number of displaced persons fleeing incredible violence and conflict, they would invest heavily in international development programs that work to reduce fragility, and strengthen rule of law, and increase economic opportunities in these countries. Trump’s decision fails to even remotely address the root causes of the issue at hand.”

 “President Trump’s decision to ban transgender military service is vicious, inhumane, and utterly wrong. There are scores of transgender men and women serving in the military right now, under a policy that had already been established & vetted by DOD and validated by the courts.

“There is zero credible evidence that this policy has negatively affected readiness. By issuing this decision, President Trump has engaged in an act of pure discrimination against people who sacrifice every day to serve their country—and who have been doing so for years.

“Stripping patriotic service members of their ability to serve openly in this way goes against American values. I condemn this decision and will continue to fight it with all of my abilities.

“Congress should start by passing the bipartisan bill I introduced last October that would protect transgender members of the U.S. military by preventing DoD from removing currently serving members of the Armed Forces based solely on their gender identity.”

Smith Statement Opposing Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement today in response to his vote to oppose the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus spending package:

March 22, 2018

“Today the House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill that funds the federal government through the end of September. This bill will give more certainty to our federal agencies, but unfortunately it underfunds key areas of the budget and takes us further down our current path of fiscal irresponsibility by ballooning our federal debt and increasing our already unmanageable deficit.  

“Many vital environmental programs that protect our health and public lands will not be sufficiently funded.  It also underinvests in our core diplomatic and aid missions which are essential components of our national security. As rates of displaced individuals across the world reach historic highs on top of worsening famines, disease outbreaks, and weakening fragile states, it is critical that we focus on global engagement and not allow diplomacy and development efforts to stagnate.  

“Additionally, the omnibus ignores a number of critical policy priorities. The bill does not provide any solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) crisis the President created last year.  It also chips away at the core tenets of the Affordable Care Act, without providing any meaningful solutions to improve our health care system. We also missed the opportunity to provide protections for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

“The omnibus took a small step in addressing the epidemic of gun violence by strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) but this is not enough. Our communities have made it clear that they want significant and comprehensive policy solutions to the gun violence that remains pervasive through our country.  Overall, this bill does not deliver the solutions that will provide opportunities for and protect the livelihoods of all Americans.”

WASHINGTON—Today, a bipartisan group of House members introduced legislation to promote more effective development in fragile and unstable countries, addressing the conditions that create safe havens for terrorists, criminal networks, and war lords. The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act (H.R. 5273) would require the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to ramp up coordination with the Departments of State and Defense to develop a global initiative aimed at preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world.

The bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Adam Smith (D-WA), Bill Keating (D-MA), and Paul Cook (R-CA).

“The United States has been at war for 16 years and has spent decades more working to stabilize fragile countries. This bill would make us take a hard look at what’s working and what isn’t, and help relevant agencies work more closely to tackle this challenge. After all, when we help countries become stronger and more stable, we make it harder for terrorists, criminals, and other violent groups to put down roots. That makes the United States and our partners safer,” said Rep. Engel, Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. “I’m pleased to join with this group of lawmakers that spans the aisle to offer this measure and I hope the House acts on it soon.”

“With the rise of modern terrorism, fragile and failing states have become breeding grounds for radicalism and terrorist activity, directly threatening the national security of the United States. We must spend our already existing foreign assistance money more effectively, preventing states from failing in the first place. This allows us to later avoid undertaking costly military and nation-building interventions where terrorists find safe haven. Using the lessons we have learned over the last two decades, we must require our government develop long-term strategies to address conditions which lead to violent failed states, ultimately weaning them off American aid. The bipartisan Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act will ensure our taxpayer money is spent on carefully planned strategies that contribute to our national security and reduce violence abroad,” said Rep. Poe, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

“We cannot relent in our efforts to deny extremist groups territory from which they can conduct operations against the United States and the West. As ISIS and other terror groups and individuals spread violence and hatred in societies across the globe, it is clear that denying safe havens is simply not enough. Therefore, those charged with combatting terror around the world must be able to evolve with the dynamic and evolving threat landscape. This legislation requires the relevant governmental agencies to produce an integrated strategy to keep terrorists off the battlefield by drying up the unstable, fertile ground from which they recruit—a process I call ‘deny and dry.’ This bill will also proactively prioritize the resources necessary to eradicate terror hot spots and ensure we accomplish our goal of a more peaceful and stable world,” said Rep. McCaul, Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security.

“Around the world, instability in the form of conflict, famine, or disease sends millions of people fleeing from their homes annually. We are in the midst of an unprecedented global refugee crisis, with nations across the globe grappling with how to respond. The United States has a proud history of leading the international community in helping others during times of strife—however it is essential that our bodies of government that carry out these missions coordinate with one another. This legislation represents a significant first step in bringing the defense, diplomatic, and development communities of the United States to the same table, working to help answer the challenges of poverty and violence overseas,” said Rep. Smith, Ranking Member of the Committee on Armed Services.

“Instability breeds insecurity, and the more instability there is in the world, the longer we will continue to see extremism take hold in communities,” said Rep. Keating, Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and Co-Chair of the Congressional Counterterrorism Caucus. “Based on everything we’ve learned over the decades we’ve been combatting terrorism, assisting countries struggling with instability is our greatest opportunity to eliminate the threat of violence. This bill is a critical first step in building a strategy to tackle this challenge more effectively through long-term investments to strengthen and secure communities, helping countries become more resilient to extremism.”

Violence and violent conflict have become the leading causes of displacement worldwide, resulting in an unprecedented 66 million forcibly displaced people, while preventable violence kills at least 1.4 million people annually. Containing violence costs the global economy $14.3 trillion a year (13.4 percent of world GDP).

US National Security Strategies over the past 15 years affirm that America has a national-security interest in better preventing and mitigating violence, violent conflict, and fragility. Lessons learned over the past 20 years show that doing so will require more clearly defined goals, strategies, and interagency coordination.

The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act would charge USAID and the State and Defense Departments with designating 10 pilot countries from several regions of the world and implementing 10-year plans for addressing violence and fragility in those countries. The bill requires these agencies and departments to apply lessons learned and robust standards for measuring effectiveness and to adapt their efforts based on results. It also requires a mid-term evaluation by the Government Accountability Office, to provide an outside perspective on additional areas of improvement.


The following organizations have endorsed this legislation: Alliance for Peacebuilding, American Friends Service Committee, CARE, Carl Wilkens Fellowship, Center for Civilians in Conflict, Center on Conscience & War, Charity & Security Network, Chemonics, Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces, Cure Violence, Educators Institute for Human Rights, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Communities, Humanity United Action, i-ACT, International Alert, International Crisis Group, International Rescue Committee, Jewish World Watch, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, Mercy Corps, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Peace Direct, PRBB Foundation, SaferWorld, Search for Common Ground, STAND: Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, Stop Genocide Now, World Relief, World Vision.