Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act:

“Today marks another milestone in our work to support the men and women of our Armed Services and I want to thank Chairman McKeon, all members of the committee and staff for their hard work and commitment to bipartisanship. Producing this bill has been a truly bipartisan effort. I also would like to thank all of my colleagues in the House for the work they put into creating this piece of legislation.

“Overall, this bill prioritizes our troops deployed in Afghanistan, and around the world by ensuring that they have the tools and resources they need to do their job and protect national security. It also provides our troops and their families with the benefits and support that they deserve, including a 1.6 percent pay increase.

“It continues to make counterterrorism a priority and makes significant investments in all branches of our Armed Services, ensuring that our military is prepared to meet the threats of today as well as the future. It supports our troops as they continue to fight overseas, invests in new technologies for the future, and protects vital military equipment production capacity here at home.”

Provisions within the National Defense Authorization Act include:
  • $519 million for military construction projects in Washington State
  • 1.6 percent pay increase for troops
  • $1.683 billion for military family housing
  • Required enhancements to psychological health, military suicide prevention and post-suicide response programs
  • Significant enhancements to Department of Defense sexual assault and harassment policies
  • Six year reauthorization of the Small business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer

Download the National Defense Authorization Act conference report.

Download the National Defense Authorization Act
conference report summary.

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Senator Patty Murray, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Governor Christine Gregoire have launched a campaign to ensure that Fairchild Air Force Base becomes home to the next generation of aerial refueling tankers. As part of that campaign, Washington state’s full congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley to outline the exceptional assets Fairchild has to offer the new fleet. The letter was sent in conjunction with efforts by Washington state legislative leaders who also voiced their support for tanker placement at Fairchild.

"Fairchild Air Force Base has been a historic part of our nation’s aerial refueling effort and is well suited to achieve global-level reach to the emerging Asia-Pacific theater,” the delegation members wrote. “Fairchild provides an exceptional quality of life for its airmen and the local community has embraced the base. The Spokane community has a rich history with the military and embraces military personnel, their families, and retirees through programs and events that have drawn numerous military recognitions awarded to the community.”

The KC-46A is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.

The full text of the letter follows:

Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1690 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330

Dear Secretary Donley,

On behalf of the State of Washington, we would like to thank you for the service and sacrifice made by the men and women and their families of the United States Air Force on behalf of our nation. It is with that gratitude that we write to you today in support of the KC-46A aerial refueling program and the Air Force’s strategic basing process. As you know, the KC-46A will play a critical role in the United States’ global strategy. Mission successes will rely heavily on the strategic basing determination process and the effective and efficient use of these aircraft.

Fairchild Air Force Base has been a historic part of our nation’s aerial refueling effort and is well suited to achieve global-level reach to the emerging Asia-Pacific theater. The base is a strategic staging platform supporting the rapid worldwide global mobility mission with access to a number of aerial refueling routes while minimizing transit fuel consumption.

Fairchild is also home to a classic association of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing with the Air National Guard 141st Air Refueling Wing. The association marries the best the active duty and reserve component have to offer, providing for world-class aerial refueling, airlift and aeromedical evacuation capabilities while fostering innovation and efficiency in operation. Together, the integrated ARWs deliver a full spectrum of capability with one of the largest, most experienced organizations in the Air Force today.

The Air Force continues to recognize Fairchild’s assets and has invested over $400 million in base infrastructure over the last several decades. Accommodating the new KC-46A will require a modest investment in infrastructure as the Air Force has already improved the 14,000 foot runway and has plans to build a new Wing Headquarters and improved SERE facilities.

Fairchild provides an exceptional quality of life for its airmen and the local community has embraced the base. It is a strongly desired duty station and is the second-most requested Air Force assignment in the United States. There are also 1000 Air Guard members who reside in the community with additional retirees who choose Spokane as their home following their military careers.

The Spokane community has a rich history with the military and embraces military personnel, their families, and retirees through programs and events that have drawn numerous military recognitions awarded to the community.

The Spokane community has developed a white paper by “Forward Fairchild,” a coalition of Spokane businesses and community advocated that further detail the benefits associated with Fairchild Air Force Base, the Spokane community and Washington State. We have enclosed it for your review.

We look forward to your consideration of Fairchild Air Force Base as a home for the new tanker fleet.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Patty Murray
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
U.S. Representative Jay Inslee
U.S. Representative Rick Larsen
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
U.S. Representative Doc Hastings
U.S. Representative Norm Dicks
U.S. Representative Jim McDermott
U.S. Representative Dave Reichert
U.S. Representative Adam Smith

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement today following the announcement of the OH-58 Kiowa observation helicopter crash at Joint Base Lewis-McChord:

 "I extend my deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of the soldiers who died in this tragic accident at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. While the circumstances surrounding this horrible accident are still unclear, we are certain this is a sad day for their families and for our entire community.

 “Our servicemen and women take significant risks while training and serving abroad. I will work with officials to investigate what happened during this training mission, and to determine ways we can prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again.

 “I express my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the soldiers. Nothing can replace their service and their sacrifice.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA – 09) made the following statement today after the Obama Administration and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury announced the U.S. Treasury will suspend future production of $1 coins:

“In August 2011, I introduced the Dollars and Sense Act (H.R. 2778) to reduce overproduction of $1 coins and eliminate the backlog of more than one billion excess coins sitting in Federal Reserve vaults.

“I’m pleased President Obama and his Administration have seen the waste in this program and have chosen to do something about it. This decision cuts costs and creates an opportunity to redirect taxpayers’ money in more efficient and meaningful ways.


“I applaud the President for taking an important step in addressing this issue. I look forward to working with the Administration and federal agencies to maximize the use of taxpayer dollars and reform programs that don’t effectively meet public needs or demand.”


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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) today reintroduced the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Act, H.R. 3607, that will ensure federal support for the national freight mobility network and critical freight infrastructure and transportation improvements throughout the United States.

“America’s freight transportation system is a national asset and critical to our productivity and global competitiveness,” said Rep. Smith. “Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that the volume of domestic freight will double while international freight will triple. This bill ensures our freight and transportation infrastructure remains competitive and strengthens economic growth.”

This legislation creates the Freight Mobility Infrastructure Improvement Program within the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide long-term financing for critical infrastructure improvement goals. Through it, states, ports and regional transportation authorities would work in collaboration with non-governmental stakeholders and freight transportation industry entities to identify high-priority projects and apply for funds. The Secretary of Transportation would then competitively award grants based upon a project’s impact on freight mobility improvement, cost effectiveness, and regional/national 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.”

Funds for this program would be generated by a freight-specific user fee and deposited into a newly-created National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund exclusively dedicated to supporting freight mobility projects. The fee would be imposed at a rate of one percent on the fair market value of multi-modal ground transportation costs, with a few exceptions for federal, state and local government transportation, and transport within a local geographic area.

“We applaud Congressman Smith for recognizing the importance of freight infrastructure and the need to support it with a responsible freight user fee,” said Leslie Blakely, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors. “Our national freight system needs significant investment for our manufacturers, producers and consumers to compete in the world marketplace. This legislation will help build the needed infrastructure while fairly spreading the burden among system users.”

For more information on Congressman Smith’s support of national transportation and infrastructure improvements, visit https://adamsmith.house.gov.

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