Press Releases

Congress must take action soon to stop Stafford student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st.  However, the legislation passed by the House of Representatives today is projected to more than double the current 3.4 percent interest rates.  The Republican bill would link federal student loan interest rates to the variable rate changes of a 10 year Treasury note, a baseline for general interest rates, which the Congressional Budget Office projects will increase and in effect raise student  interest rates to 7.4% by 2017.  Congressman Smith released the following statement after he opposed this legislation:

“It is critical for the fiscal health of our country to reduce the deficit, but we cannot do so at the expense of aspiring college graduates,” Smith said. “College is already too expensive with high interest private loans and the ever increasing cost of tuition.  Congress should be helping hard-working families and students afford a college education, not  making it more difficult by potentially doubling student interest rates with this type of legislation."

There was an amendment offered by Representative Courtney that would have extended the 3.4 percent student interest rates for another 2 years.  Congressman Smith supported this amendment, but it was not considered on the House floor.  

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The Air Force is expected to announce later today that Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) in Washington State was not selected as the preferred site for the first Main Operating Base for the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.  House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding the expected announcement:
 
“I respect and appreciate how the Air Force has conducted this process, but  it is disappointing that Fairchild Air Force Base was not chosen as the Air Force’s preferred host for KC-46A,” Smith said. “I still believe that Fairchild’s capacity and accommodations for the tanker, strategic location, tremendous community support, and proven track record of serving our nation’s aerial refueling effort with the KC-135 make the base an ideal home for the next generation of tankers.  The Washington Congressional delegation has and will continue to work together to promote Fairchild’s capacity to host future tankers.”
 
On three occasions throughout the basing decision process, Congressman Smith signed a letter with local Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and the rest of the Washington State Congressional Delegation to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, encouraging the Air Force to base KC-46A at Fairchild. The letters detailed Fairchild’s capacity to accommodate the tanker and its success with previous aerial refueling efforts.  The Air Force conducted site surveys of 54 candidate installations before the announcement of the preferred basing decision today. Out of the 54 bases that were surveyed through this process, Fairchild will be named one of only two reasonable alternatives.  McConnell AFB will be selected as the preferred first Main Operating Base.  The Air Force must now conduct the necessary environmental analysis before making a final basing decision in Spring 2014.

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House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), made the following statement regarding allegations against a service member who was as a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood:

“If true, the latest sexual assault allegation released by the Army is deeply disturbing and extremely troubling. How can our military be so effective at protecting our nation, yet so ineffective at protecting those who serve? This is the second service member recently accused of sexual assault whose job in the military, in part, is to be one of the leaders charged with stopping such assaults in the military. Clearly, there is a serious issue with how individuals for this position are selected.

“This latest incident clearly demonstrates that the military's efforts to prevent sexual assault are failing miserably. It's outrageous and I will not stand for it. There is no excuse for this sort of behavior and the atmosphere that permits it. As we mark up this year’s NDAA, preventing sexual assault will be a top priority. The military has made it clear that it cannot handle this problem alone and it is time for decisive action by Congress."

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement in recognition of Cinco de Mayo:

"Today, families across our country celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a day when a Mexican militia defeated a larger French military at the Battle of Puebla.  Cinco de Mayo remains an inspirational part of history for Mexican and American families.   It further commemorates the tremendous achievements, contributions, and culture of Mexican Americans and Hispanic Americans that of which have strengthened our nation as a whole.  In recognition of Cinco de Mayo, let us continue to build and enhance our relationship with Mexico, and remember the key role Mexican Americans have played in American history.”


Congressman Smith released the following statement after the airmen of the U.S. Air Force KC-135 that crashed in Kyrgyzstan were identified as being from Fairchild Air Force Base:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Airmen who died in this tragic accident in Kyrgyzstan.  Details about the crash are still unclear.  Our servicemen and women risk their lives for our nation while training at home and serving abroad.  The service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in this accident will not be forgotten.”