Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation to address the inefficient uses and management of public land through the federal grazing permit program:

The Rural Economic Vitalization Act of 2011 would:

  • Save taxpayers up to $115 million each year by reducing the costs of public lands management.
  • Attract private investments that will help stimulate rural economies.
  • Provide federal grazing permit holders the option to exchange permits for market value compensation.
  • Improve wildlife habitat and reduce environmental damage due to livestock grazing.

“The current federal grazing program is among the most economically inefficient uses of our public lands. My legislation opens the door for private solutions to a long-standing problem that costs taxpayers millions and has prevented public land ranchers from efficiently utilizing resources available to them.

“Many permit holders would choose to retire from public lands grazing if they could recoup their investment in their federal grazing permit. REVA provides a private market mechanism to do this. On a voluntary basis, current permit holders will have the option to relinquish their grazing permits in exchange for market value compensation paid by private parties.  

“The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest service run an annual deficit administering grazing permits and managing private cattle grazing operations. My bill eliminates wasteful spending, gives ranchers the choice to retire permits, allows public lands to recover natural habitats and fosters the return of native plants and wildlife.”

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Congressmen Adam Smith and Dave Reichert released the following statement after announcing their plans to host the Help Identify Real Employment (HIRE) for America Jobs Fair on Tuesday, November 22 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. PST at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington:

“Dave and I are honored to co-host this event in Kent, a city we both represent,” said Smith. “We both strongly believe in working across party lines to address unemployment and improve our local and national economies. We are also committed to working together to empower individuals and strengthen our local community. Our goal is that this event will provide workers the skills and resources they need to find jobs, and make the holiday season less difficult for struggling families. That is and should always be a bipartisan effort.”

“Adam and I understand that Washingtonians want their elected officials to work together to create an environment for economic growth,” said Reichert. “Our hope is that bringing local businesses and individual constituents together under one roof will increase employment in our communities. I am proud to be a part of this unique event and will continue to work across the aisle to help struggling families cope with these tough economic times.”

Representatives from more than 75 local employers are expected to attend. Participants are encouraged to bring resumes and prepare to interview onsite. The fair is free and complimentary parking will be available.

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U.S. Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force, made the following statement after the announcement of the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement among the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam:

"Today, with the announcement of a framework for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the President has taken a significant step forward in expanding U.S. trade that will improve our national and local economies. With nearly one in three jobs related to trade in Washington State, a regional agreement would help increase access for our local exporters. It would also bring us closer to doubling American exports by the end of 2014, a goal set by the President’s National Export Initiative. Based on the goals set forward, a successfully concluded TPP agreement would reduce barriers for U.S. goods to the world’s fastest growing economic region.  Opening new markets in Asia would create new sources of job creation and economic growth, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

"Looking out at the foreign policy landscape, the countries of the Asian Pacific region will continue to be strategic partners in the years ahead and it is in our interests to boost our engagement in the region through measures that improve diplomacy, development, trade, and security. Pursuing a 21st Century trade agreement that our advances economic ties with the region is solid progress in this process toward better relations. 

"This framework for a 21st Century trade agreement lays out a new approach – one that incorporates high labor standards, promotes innovation, helps small and medium sized businesses participate, reduces costs for utilizing green goods and services, and allows our country to more actively compete in international markets especially against state-owned enterprises. Going forward, I will continue to monitor the development of this agreement to ensure that it is the best deal possible for the American people."

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House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in observation of Veterans Day and after the Senate passed VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011:

“In observance of Veterans Day, it is not only important that we honor our veterans with words, but also with actions. Today, the Senate passed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, a bill championed by the President that will help unemployed veterans find work. I encourage the House to quickly follow suit. When our veterans return from defending our nation abroad, they should not have to fight for a job here at home. I applaud the President for making our veterans a priority and leading this effort.

“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, it is my privilege to represent our service members in Congress. We owe the men and women who have served our country an enormous amount of gratitude and respect. As a Member of Congress who represents thousands of active and retired services members, I will continue working to address the needs of our veterans and, for those newly leaving active duty, to ensure they have the support necessary for their transition back into civilian life.

“As a fierce advocate for our veterans, I will continue to push for the expansion of job and educational opportunities. Moving forward, I will also continue to work with the President and all members of Congress to provide our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and their families with all the benefits that they deserve for their years of faithful service.”

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Grant will assist in improving pedestrian facilities, upgrading traffic signals, and adding additional lanes to address the increased traffic around Madigan Army Medical Center

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA-06) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09) applauded the announcement by the Department of Defense that the City of Lakewood will be awarded a $5.7M grant for a transportation project to improve medical access to Madigan Army Medical Center.

“I’m proud to fight to make sure that our men and women in uniform and their families can access the medical facilities they need in a timely and efficient manner,” said Senator Murray. “That’s why I worked to help secure these funds, and I’m so glad that Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be able to start this long overdue project.”
 
“Madigan Army Medical Center is one of the busiest hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, providing critical care to our brave men and women in uniform in a six-state region,” said Senator Cantwell. “The successful operation of this state-of-the-art medical facility depends on modernized and efficient transportation infrastructure that alleviates congestion around Joint Base Lewis McChord. I was proud to support this investment, which will improve vital medical access to this technologically advanced facility for our military community. The men and women who serve our country deserve access to the quality health care they have earned.”

“These tangible improvements are expected to significantly reduce the delays that Madigan patients and JBLM employees experience entering and leaving the base, particularly at peak hours,” said Representative Dicks, who serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee.

“Working to reduce congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a priority to my District,” said Representative Smith, who serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This investment is a step in the right direction that will have a positive impact on our local community, though much more needs to be done and I will continue to make this a top priority. I congratulate the City of Lakewood for putting together a quality proposal and for their work with partners in the region to secure this funding.”

The infrastructure improvements were funded as part of a $300 million package of upgrades to military medical facilities approved earlier this year by Congress, helping to ease congestion at Madigan Army Medical Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and other defense-related hospitals.
 
The funding will allow the City of Lakewood to complete the Madigan Hospital Access Improvement Project, which involves:
•         Adding a third lane to the Berkeley Street overpass;
•         Adding a second left turn lane to the Interstate-5 southbound off-ramp;
•         Upgrading and coordinating traffic signals at the I-5 northbound ramp, the I-5 southbound ramp and Union Avenue;
•         Adding a second receiving lane from the Berkeley Street overpass into JBLM;
•         Improving lane configurations and widening on Berkeley Street and Union Avenue to improve overall efficiencies of the transportation system;  and,
•         Adding pedestrian facilities for improved safety.

When this project is completed, vehicles entering and leaving at the Madigan Gate will save a total of 662 hours in delay on a typical weekday, and individual delays will improve from an excess of 10 minutes to 35 seconds.

The Interstate 5 corridor plays a vital economic role due to both the freight movement and in national defense, serving as the primary access to and from JBLM and Camp Murray, the state’s Emergency Operations Center.  The project is critical to serving transportation mobility affecting commerce in the State of Washington, as well as measurably improving the provision of care for the 1.4 million patients visiting MAMC annually. This will also be a help to the local community as we continue working to reduce congestion along the I-5 corridor.

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