Press Releases

Congressman Smith released the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act:

“After the sequester’s painful and mindless cuts to important federal programs, this bill begins to repair some of the damage by providing critical funding for early childhood education and Head Start, and sequester relief for the Department of Defense and other vitally important housing, transportation, and technology programs.  

“This bill is by no means perfect.  It fails to restore unemployment insurance and leaves critical areas such as the National Institutes of Health underfunded, and I will keep working to address the multiple areas where this bill falls short.  However, it was imperative that we took this step forward to provide our government with much needed stability.  By helping to avert a potential government shutdown, I am hopeful this legislation will create more opportunities for Congress to advance policies that expand economic opportunity for all Americans.

“This bill is only the beginning of a long process to get back on track. We need forward-thinking policies that are focused on job creation, growing the economy, and reducing income inequality.  I look forward to continuing to work with all of my colleagues to advance these priorities. “

Today, Congressman Adam Smith reintroduced H.R. 3825, the Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2014 (FIRA), a bill that will support improvements to infrastructure and transportation in the national freight mobility network.    
“Our nation’s freight transportation system plays a significant role in our ability to grow the economy and compete globally,” said Congressman Smith.  “With our nation’s freight expected to double by 2040, it is critical to start making investments in freight and transportation infrastructure now to keep America competitive internationally for years to come.”
FIRA would establish the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Improvement Program through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that would provide competitive grants to states and designated entities to improve the efficiency and capacity of freight networks.  These entities would work in collaboration with their communities to identify projects of national or regional significance and apply for the grants.  The Secretary of Transportation would award funds based on the project’s ability to improve freight infrastructure, cost effectiveness, and its economic impact.  
“Our multimodal freight transportation system is a national asset that we have failed to appreciate and support. Nowhere is this need more pressing than in the freight system that provides for our nation’s commerce,” said Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Meyer. “Without strategic corridor investments to expand capacity and increase efficiency, U.S. productivity and global competitiveness will suffer, costs will increase and investment will lag. We applaud Congressman Smith’s efforts to make this vision of strategic freight mobility a reality.”
The legislation would fund these competitive grants through a user fee on the shipment of freight cargo within the United States.   The fee would be 1 percent of the total cost of transport and all the fees collected would go directly to the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund, a dedicated source of funding for freight mobility improvement projects.
“More and more our government and business leaders are agreeing that freight infrastructure is key to economic growth and merits public support,” said Leslie Blakey, Executive Director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors. “Currently absent from the menu of transportation investment mechanisms is a freight-specific grant program and a dedicated funding source. Congressman Smith’s proposal is truly creative and we applaud his vision.”    
The bill has been cosponsored by Representative Albio Sires, Representative Steve Cohen, and Representative Janice Hahn and has now been sent to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for further consideration.

Congressman Smith released the following statement recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty:

“Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  In 1967 the poverty rate was about 26 percent compared to only 16 percent in 2012.  Studies show that absent anti-poverty programs like SNAP, unemployment insurance, housing subsidies, Head Start, earned-income tax credits, and more the poverty rate would be much higher.  
“Even with these critical safety nets, too many people are being squeezed out of the economy because they can’t find a job or that they have one that doesn’t provide enough to pay the bills.  On the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we must continue to advance education and job-training programs, as well as policies that raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance to move Americans out of financial insecurity and strengthen the middle class.”

Congressman Smith released the following statement on unemployment insurance:

“Despite consecutive months of job growth, our economy is still recovering from one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Through no fault of their own, millions of hardworking Americans continue to struggle to find employment.  Yet, even with rates of long-term unemployed Americans near historic highs, federal unemployment insurance is set to expire three days after Christmas for 24,400 Washingtonians and for 40,000 more in the first half of 2014 if Congress does not act. That is unacceptable.
“Unemployment insurance benefits provide essential support for individuals and families while they are searching for work. Congress should extend unemployment benefits for hardworking Americans, not stand idly by as they expire.”

Congressman Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following the budget agreement passed the House of Representatives:

“This budget deal, while not perfect, is a small step forward. It provides two years of relief from sequestration for the Department of Defense as well as other vitally important portions of the discretionary budget, such as education, technology, housing, transportation and Head Start.  Sequestration has been wreaking havoc on these critical programs, and this deal provides some relief.

“The deal also provides some space for Congress to begin to function normally again.  It will help to avert political standoffs that threaten to shut the government down and it will offer some much-needed support for our government and economy.  I am hopeful that greater certainty will allow us to focus on what is important for the American people, such as policies that support the middle class and grow our economy.

“Today’s budget deal marks a beginning, not an end.  There is much more work to be done. Our debt and deficit are still unsustainable in the long-term, and we desperately need forward thinking policies that continue to address our budget issues in a comprehensive way that raises revenue and reduces spending.  I thank Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan for working in a bipartisan way, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find long-term solutions that reflect our priorities of making a stronger middle class and expanding economic opportunity.”