Press Releases

Congressman Smith made the following statement on the Bangladesh Government's interference in the affairs of Grameen Bank:

"By providing microfinance programs that offer small loans at extremely low interest rates, Grameen Bank has given millions of women in Bangladesh and across the globe entrepreneurial opportunities to rise out of poverty.  The bank's proven effectiveness and success should be a model for other organizations working to eliminate poverty.  Despite the fact they are a minority owner, the Government of Bangladesh has been interfering in the operations of Grameen Bank by forcing the resignation of founder and Nobel Prize winner Professor Yunus, undercutting the authority of the bank's majority owners—the women borrowers, and appointing an outside commission expected to make further changes.  These changes could thwart Grameen Bank's tremendous progress in uplifting women in Bangladesh and the good work it does around the world.  I urge my colleagues in Congress and the State Department to make clear that America supports Grameen Bank's  goals of empowering women and their desire to operate independently."

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement about the NSA Amendments in the Defense Appropriations bill:

“The federal government should never be allowed to access the content of phone calls or internet communications by any U.S. person unless they have a warrant, and I will do all I can to prevent that from happening.  That is why I supported Representative Nugent’s amendment which prohibits the use of funds by the NSA to target the phone calls, emails, and other communications of a U.S. person.  Under this amendment and current law, the NSA cannot see the phone calls Americans are making or track their communications without a court warrant.

“I also believe that it is critical that our intelligence community has resources that can minimize the risk of an attack on the U.S.  The Intelligence reauthorizing bill is the best place to address these issues to ensure we have both the right tools and the right protections for civil liberties. Considering this subject on an appropriations bill prevents us from considering how best to amend the law to ensure we achieve both goals.  That is why I opposed the Amash amendment.  As legislation advances, I will continue to look for ways to improve policies that strike a balance between safeguarding individual rights and liberties, and protecting our nation from threats and terrorism.”
 

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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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