Press Releases

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement following the crash of an Navy EA-6B Prowler in Eastern Washington:
 
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who died in today’s tragic accident.  Our servicemen and women take the ultimate risk while training at home and serving abroad.  Nothing can replace the service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives today.”

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Today, the House passed H.R. 933, a bill that represents a missed opportunity to avoid damaging cuts through sequestration. After voting against the bill, Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement:
 
“While this bill does allow the Department of Defense some discretion in implementing the across-the-board spending cuts through sequestration, it is a missed opportunity to remove these cuts all together and address our budget in a balanced way. Additionally, this bill fails to address the impact of sequestration on other important programs such as education, transportation, and scientific research.
 
“We should be squarely focused on removing cuts through sequestration, not implementing them. Regardless of how the cuts are implemented, they will still be extremely damaging. The deep, indiscriminate cuts threaten jobs, our economy, and our national security. We must repeal sequestration.  This spending bill fails to end these devastating cuts and essentially locks them in for the remainder of the fiscal year without giving any department or agency, with the exception of the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the ability to manage their budgets given our current budget situation.  
 
“It is my hope that the Senate will be able to pass a balanced approach that removes sequestration and provides our economy with some certainty.  Congress has a responsibility to the American people to address our fiscal issues in a balanced and effective way. Over the last ten years, we have dramatically cut taxes and increased spending. This is unsustainable. We need to take steps to address our long-term budget problems, but this bill is the wrong way to achieve that goal.”

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House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), released the following statement in response to the implementation of sequestration:

“Today marks the beginning of the implementation of across-the-board cuts through sequestration. This is a disappointing development that should have been avoided.  As I have said for months, this is not how we should govern or address our deficit issues.

“Congress has a responsibility to the American people to address our fiscal issues in a balanced and effective way. Without a doubt, the federal government has a deficit problem.  Over the last ten years, we have dramatically cut taxes and increased spending.  This is unsustainable.  We need to take steps to address our long-term budget problems, but cuts through sequestration are the wrong way to achieve that goal.

“We need a holistic and balanced approach that addresses mandatory spending and raises new revenues while, at the same time, responsibly reducing discretionary spending over the long-term. Deep and indiscriminate cuts in the short -term could push our economy back into a recession and damage national security and important programs.

“This week, I introduced a bill designed to eliminate sequestration and implement an alternative spending plan that is designed to promote greater certainty in our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government.  This plan would ensure that discretionary spending, and the economy, are no longer held hostage while Congress debates the larger revenue increases and mandatory spending changes necessary to move towards fiscal responsibility.

“It is my hope that a deal is reached before the cuts go too deep.  I remain committed to working with my colleagues and constituents to resolve these devastating cuts and find a long-term solution to our fiscal issues.”
On November 29, 2009, four police officers in Lakewood, Washington were tragically shot and killed as they prepared for the day ahead.  Through later investigation, it was discovered that the perpetrator that murdered the policemen was a convicted felon on parole, and that information was not effectively transmitted to the necessary authorities.  

Representatives Adam Smith (WA-09) and Dave Reichert (WA-08) introduced, H.R. 817, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Global Advisory Committee (GAC) Authorization Act to improve information sharing between all local, state, and federal law enforcement across the country.

“As a former cop and sheriff, I know that the more information law enforcement agents have, the better they can do their jobs,” said Reichert, the former Sheriff of King County who served 33 years in law enforcement, “This bill will improve communication among members of law enforcement and enhance the security of communities across the country. When the lives of cops and citizens are at stake, law enforcement officers must have all available information at their disposal so that they may effectively serve and protect the well-being of those citizens who count on them every day and to safeguard their colleagues.”

This legislation would continue to provide technical and financial support for GAC. Additionally, the bill would require that the Attorney General (AG) reviews information sharing between state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies and issue a report to Congress highlighting GAC’s review and recommendations to improve data interoperability and information sharing policies.

“Concerns about public safety have come under the national spotlight in recent months,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “This legislation would help enhance information sharing between all levels of law enforcement, which can only help improve law enforcement officials’ ability to keep our communities safe.”

GAC, which consists of over 30 representatives from law enforcement and criminal justice organizations, was established in 1998 and advises the AG on how to improve best practices and information sharing within the law enforcement community.  The committee provides a forum to discuss strategies and potential solutions to keep our communities safe.

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Today, as the implementation of sequestration grows closer, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith will introduce the Sequestration Relief Act of 2013. The bill is a responsible approach designed to eliminate sequestration and implement an alternative spending plan that is designed to provide certainty to our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government.
 
“Cuts through sequestration were intentionally designed to be so unacceptable and so damaging to national security and the economy, that Congress would be forced to take serious action to reduce the deficit,” said Ranking Member Smith.  “Unfortunately, that threat failed to produce a comprehensive, balanced solution to our deficit challenges.  We can no longer rely on this devastating mechanism to compel action. My bill would make a down payment on deficit reduction, dispel some of the economic uncertainty, and remove the threat of sequestration to our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government.”

The Responsible Solution
 
The legislation introduced by Smith would eliminate the sequester scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2013, and remove the Budget Control Act’s statutory requirement to produce $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.  The bill would produce $320 billion in spending reductions, one-third of what the March 1 sequester would cut indiscriminately, by incrementally reducing discretionary spending caps over eight years.  Of that $320 billion, $167 billion would be drawn from the defense budget, and the remaining $153 billion would come from all other areas of discretionary spending.  Additionally, the bill would suspend the debt limit until February 1, 2017.

“This bill does not deny the fact that we need to make changes to mandatory spending programs and raise new revenues.  We absolutely do.  This alternative plan would ensure that discretionary spending accounts, and the economy, are no longer held hostage while Congress debates the larger revenue increases and mandatory spending changes necessary to move towards fiscal responsibility.  We have a deficit problem that must be addressed, but we should not damage our economy and undermine national security in the process,” said Smith.

Background

 
As a resolution to the failed debt ceiling debate in 2011, Congress created the Budget Control Act, which Smith voted against. The act temporarily raised the debt limit and stipulated that if Congress did not find $1.2 trillion in savings, then a process called sequestration would kick in. Cuts through sequestration were designed to be so damaging to our national defense, the economy, and other important federal programs, that Congress would be forced to act.
 
As a deterrent to inaction, sequestration failed. Congress did not act, yet the devastating mechanism intended to force action remains in-place. As a result, a wide variety of federal programs face crippling uncertainty, including investments in national security, the workforce, transportation infrastructure, education, health care, public safety, housing, innovation, small business development, Medicare, and many other facets of enduring national strength. Over the weekend, the White House released a detailed report outlining the serious implications of sequestration.