Press Releases

Today, Congress approved $44 million for interim measures to strengthen the Howard Hanson Dam and protect the Green River Valley. Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), who has consistently been a leader in coordinating efforts to fix the dam, played a critical role in ensuring that the funding was included in the final version of the bill. The funding, included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a set of interim repairs to the dam. The bill will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.

“This money is critical to our efforts to prevent flooding in the Green River Valley. It will put in place interim measures to buy us time until a permanent, long-term solution is put in place,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “My priority is to achieve a permanent fix to the Howard Hanson Dam and restore long term flood protection, but until this can be achieved we must make every possible effort to protect the residents, homes, businesses, and the economy of the Green River Valley. This money is vital to that effort.”

Engineers from the Army Corps continue to closely monitor the dam and have identified interim repairs that will allow the dam to store higher levels of water and protect the Green River Valley during severe rain events. The Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill contains $44 million in emergency funding for these critical repairs to the Howard Hanson Dam. Smith worked diligently to ensure these resources were contained in the final version of the appropriations bill.

Tens of thousands of people are at risk if the Green River Valley were to flood.  In addition to the threat to peoples’ lives, the Green River Valley would suffer enormous negative economic impacts as it is home to the second largest industrial park on the West Coast, and is the fifth largest in the nation.  Over 95,000 jobs in the area make up approximately 8 percent of all jobs in King County.  This represents $107 million per day in total economic output – 12 percent of Washington State’s gross state product.  

 

###

 




###


Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

“It is clear that our financial system is in dire need of reform. The serious abuses that have come to light in the last few years are of great concern and we must change how Wall Street does business. Today, Congress passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - a strong step forward in reforming our financial regulatory systems.

“The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act provides significant protections for the American consumer and gives federal regulators the tools they need to reign in the irresponsible actions by Wall Street that did so much damage to our economy. The legislation establishes a new independent watchdog with the authority to ensure American consumers are offered safe, non-predatory products when they shop for mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and other financial products.

“The bill reforms the mortgage lending industry by eliminating many of the abusive practices that helped lead to the recent massive spike in foreclosures. Additionally, for the first time this legislation also limits some of the riskiest activities of banks and regulates the multitrillion-dollar market of over-the-counter derivatives. These are key reforms.

“Assessing the impact of institutions on our financial markets as a whole is a crucial piece of the needed reforms.  This legislation creates a council of regulators to watch for systemic risks, authorizes regulators to impose restrictions on large, troubled financial companies and creates a process for the government to liquidate failing companies and banks at no cost to taxpayers.

“The irresponsible behavior in our financial markets inflicted serious pain on the American people, costing millions their jobs, incomes, savings, investments and homes. This is unacceptable and the system must be reformed. It is vitally important that we have a strong financial system which can spur economic growth, jobs and American ingenuity. It is also equally important that we ensure transparency and accountability within that system to prevent the abuses that severely damaged our financial system and brought our economy to its knees. The legislation passed by Congress today is a strong step forward toward achieving these goals. “

###
Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) issued the following statement in response to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) final ruling that launch aid to Airbus is an illegal subsidy:

“Today’s ruling makes it clear that Airbus airplanes have been illegally subsidized by the European Union governments.  This ruling is a big win for Washington state aerospace workers and companies.

“Participating in trade with our global partners boosts the American economy and the American worker, but when our partners do not abide by their obligations under existing trade agreements it puts our businesses and workers at a disadvantage. We must demand enforcement of our agreements.

“Today’s ruling agreed with U.S. claims that, rather than competing on a level playing field with U.S.-built aircraft, European governments provided Airbus with an unfair competitive advantage, shifting market share toward Europe and away from U.S. aircraft manufacturing jobs.

“In light of this ruling, European governments and Airbus should immediately end their practice of launch aid, comply with the WTO’s ruling, and cease all plans for illegal subsidies to future planes.  Boeing workers are among the best in the world and can compete directly in the aerospace industry but, in order to do so, we must ensure that the policies of our trading partners and international businesses comply with global trade rules.”

###
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of legislation that will fix a projected 21% increase in Medicare physician payments:

“Last night the House passed a six-month fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to calculate payments to physicians through Medicare.  Without the fix, the formula called for a 21 per cent cut to physician pay for this year, effective June 1.  I was disappointed that Congress was unable to work together to solve this problem by the June 1st deadline and prevent uncertainty and frustration for Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians.  Thankfully, the bill passed last night will reverse these cuts and increase Medicare physician payments by 2.2 per cent through November 30, 2010.

“While I am pleased that the short-term solution passed will give Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians a small amount of certainty for the next few months, it is not enough.  Congress needs to find a permanent solution to the SGR problem so that physicians and patients are not faced with pending massive cuts every few months.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to address this issue and am hopeful that in the weeks and months ahead, we will find a permanent, paid for solution to this issue.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in response to House passage of legislation designed to impose tough economic sanctions against Iran:

“Today, Congress provided President Obama with additional tools to pressure Iran to cease its efforts to build nuclear weapons.  A nuclear armed Iran would destabilize the Middle East and pose a grave threat to the United States, our allies, and particularly Israel.  This scenario is unacceptable.  

“We cannot allow Iran to continue to act in a way that threatens the international community and its neighbors in the region.  This legislation builds on the recent U.N. Security Council Resolution and will help forcefully pressure Iran to meet its international obligations.

“In concert with the international community, it is critical that the United States continues to pursue both diplomatic and economic avenues to hold Iran accountable.  While there is more diplomatic work to be done, the bill passed by Congress today is another way to increase economic pressure on Iran to change its behavior.”

###