Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in tribute to the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which was officially designated the last combat brigade to leave Iraq under Obama's plan to end combat operations in Iraq by Aug. 31.

“The troops stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have born the brunt of the conflict in Iraq – they have been there since day one, and are now the last combat forces to leave. Many of them have lost their lives, and many more have been injured. These soldiers have sacrificed greatly, and I salute their service. They deserve our utmost respect and I will continue to work in Congress to ensure that the veterans of this conflict receive the benefits and support they deserve.

“While our role in Iraq is not yet finished, our combat operations are. Many of our nation’s finest men and women are no longer in harm's way and they should be commended for a job well done. The Iraqi people face difficult times ahead, but they have the promise of a brighter future - a future void of tyranny. A brighter future for Iraqis also means greater security for America. The military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord played a vital role in our efforts in Iraq and we can all be proud of their service.”

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“Today marks an important milestone in our efforts to protect the Green River Valley from flooding. This afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers laid out the details for interim repairs that will strengthen the Howard Hanson Dam. Yesterday, the President signed into law the Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, which provides the Army Corps of Engineers with $44 million to complete these interim measures. These two events are the culmination of many months of hard work by my office, as well as the entire local delegation and stakeholders from across the state, and will protect the Green River Valley from potentially very destructive floods.

“The interim measures will buy us vital time and protect the Green River Valley as we work to put in place a permanent, long-term solution. The livelihoods of tens of thousands of people are at risk if flooding was to occur and the interim measures announced today provide the residents of the Green River Valley the protection and assurance they deserve.

“I worked tirelessly with other members of the local delegation and stakeholders to secure this funding. I applaud everyone involved for their diligence and hard work and I look forward to working with them to ensure a long-term fix is achieved.”

 
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) continued to build on his strong commitment to veterans, military personnel and their families by supporting the fiscal year 2011 Military Construction and Veterans Appropriations bill. The legislation invests in projects and programs of critical importance, including veteran’s benefits and healthcare, and military family housing, barracks and mission critical facilities.

“The men and women who have served in our armed forces, along with their families, have made tremendous sacrifices and they deserve our full commitment and support,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The legislation passed by the House demonstrates our commitment by working to provide our veterans and their families with the benefits and support they deserve.”

Generally, the FY2011 Military Construct and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill provides $120.8 billion for veterans’ programs, a 10% increase over the previous year’s budget. These funds will help continue to strengthen health programs and improve benefits and compensation. As with the previous bill, this year’s bill provides advanced appropriations for medical services and facilities to ensure that the Veterans Health Administration receives reliable and timely funds to ensure care for veterans is not disrupted. The bill also provides important funding to help veterans suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), provide assistance to homeless veterans, and improve access to care to veterans living in rural areas.

The legislation also provides more than $200 million in funding for the construction and refurbishing of key military projects and facilities at Joint Base Lewis-McCord. This funding is essential to the continued modernization and expansion of the base.

In addition to supporting this important legislation, Smith recently introduced and the House passed a pair of bills that support Veterans and military families. These bills, coupled with today’s vote, demonstrate an unwavering commitment to our nation’s military, veterans and their families.

“Together, these bills will help address significant problems plaguing our military community – high unemployment in our veterans population and the strain placed on families when their loved ones are deployed,” said Smith.

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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.  

 

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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. “

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