Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has reason to be a little upset with his colleague Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who listed Smith’s name as a co-sponsor for a bill after she got his name confused with another member.
Smith denied ever being a co-signer of a bill that would prohibit Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell from providing federal family planning grants to abortion clinics, airing his grievances on the House floor Wednesday.
“I just rise about a particular issue that happened to me, and I’m sure has happened to other members that you might not be aware of,” Smith said. “Other members can sign you on to a piece of legislation without your consent.”
Last week, Black confused Smith with a Republican who shares a very similar name.
“Regrettably, there’s an — well not, regrettably, he’s a nice man — but there’s an Adrian Smith,” Smith said.
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) is indeed a co-sponsor of Black's bill, HR 217.
Smith told CQ Roll Call that the snafu came to his staff's attention when he received a thank-you letter from a pro-life group. Black later spoke on the House floor and asked for the Democrat's name to be removed as a co-sponsor.
Smith says he wants the whole process of adding co-sponsors to a bill to change, claiming this was not the first time he was listed as a co-sponsor of a bill without his knowledge.
“You walk around the floor, say, ‘Hey will you co-sponsor such and such,’ and, if you say ‘Yes,’ then they just go sign you on," he said. "Your signature is not required.”
Smith said his name won't disappear from HR 217, but rather, “A line is drawn through it and it says next to it, ‘Withdrawn,’ as if at some point I did co-sponsor the bill and then changed my mind.”
“Now as a part of my permanent record is my name having been on a bill to all appearances of my own choice that in a million years I never would’ve sponsored," he said.
Smith urged the House to require actual signatures in order to co-sponsor a bill or to require the original sponsor to reintroduce the bill if a member is erroneously listed on it, so that it does not remain on a lawmaker's permanent record.
"When this happens, when it is clear that someone signed you on a bill you had no intention of being on, your name should be removed. Period. End of story," Smith said.
Watch Adam Smith venting above.
H/T CQ Roll Call