Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced legislation to aggressively address the soaring unemployment rates within our veteran’s community. The Veterans Employment Assistance Act of 2010 includes a series of proposals that will expand training and education opportunities, enhance the ability to transition technical military skills to the civilian workforce, and improve small business assistance programs for veterans.

 “Our veterans have risked their lives to protect our country and our freedom and they deserve quality, well paying jobs when they return home,” said Congressman Smith. “While this seems like common sense, often times our veterans struggle to find work when they return home. The Veterans Employment Assistance Act takes a comprehensive approach to create new opportunities and expand existing support programs for our veterans.”

The Veterans Employment Assistance Act expands job training, placement services and entrepreneurship opportunities for veterans who may otherwise have fallen through the cracks of existing programs.

The Veterans Employment Act:

  • Establishes an apprenticeship pilot program that would encourage the employment of veterans on military construction projects.
  • Expands the Post-9/11 GI Bill to allow returning veterans to use the benefit for apprenticeship and on-job training programs that will help them acquire the skills they need to find stable, family-wage jobs in their communities.
  • Establishes a Veteran Business Center Program within the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide critical entrepreneurial training and counseling to veterans.
  • Creates pilot programs to test ways transitioning servicemembers can build on the technical skills learned in the military and better market those skills in the civilian workforce.
  • Establishes a Veterans Conservation Corps Grant Program and a Veterans Energy/Green Jobs Grant Program to connect veterans with the green jobs market.

Click HERE for a full section-by-section summary or HERE for the full text of the legislation.

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Scott Murphy (NY-2) introduced legislation today to provide new incentives to locate jobs here in the United States and make America more globally competitive.  

“Over the last few years, millions of hard working Americans have lost their jobs due to the recession,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “While the economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, we must do more to support hardworking Americans. The America Recruits Act will help do just that by encouraging job growth in expanding fields, while also incentivizing companies to create new, economically viable job opportunities in the United States rather than abroad.”

Specifically, the America Recruits Act would create a new program within the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide forgivable loans for up to $10,000 for each new high-tech and manufacturing job relocated from a foreign country to a high unemployment area in the US.  This forgiveness would help defer the costs of setting up the new jobs back in the United States.

Below is more information about the America Recruits Act:

Loans of up to $10,000 per job would be awarded by state, local or regional economic development agencies for use in augmenting their overall incentive package. These agencies would be required to provide at least a 25% match.

Loans would be interest-free, and would be disbursed in two, $5,000 per-job-per-year installments to the employer.

If the firm lives up to its promise to bring back eligible jobs, its initial installment will be forgiven after the first year.  This would make the firm eligible for the second loan installment of $5,000. If the firm retains the eligible jobs for the entire second year of the loan, the second installment will also be forgiven at the end of the second year.

If a loan recipient fails to honor its commitments, it must repay the first installment and would not be eligible to receive the second. If it fails to make the second certification, it must repay both installments.

Loans could not be used to move a job from one state to another. They are designed to provide an incentive to locate jobs in America that currently are located overseas.

It is estimated that the legislation could create nearly 24,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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Today, Congressman Adam Smith, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, Congressman Dave Reichert, Congressman Norm Dicks, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Jay Inslee, Congressman Brian Baird and Congressman Rick Larsen sent a letter to Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make unused funding available for short term fixes to protect the tens of thousands of residents and 95,000 jobs of the Green River Valley from catastrophic flooding while permanent fixes to the Howard Hanson Dam are underway.

“As we all know, a permanent fix for the Howard Hanson Dam is not a simple task, and that such construction projects take time to execute properly and safely.  We appreciate the hard work of the Corps to quickly complete the study and design phase,” wrote members of Congress. “In order to ensure the well-being of the people and the region while the permanent fix is completed, it is imperative that the Interim Risk Reduction Measures move forward as quickly as possible.  We realize that this may involve reprogramming funds previously appropriated to other projects, but as you are aware, this project is critical to the safety of our constituents and the economy of the Green River Valley, and therefore should be a priority for any unspent Corps funding.”

A copy of the full letter appears below.

Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp

U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

441 G Street, NW

Washington, DC 20314-1000

 

Dear Lieutenant General Van Antwerp:

 Thank you for your ongoing leadership and work on a permanent fix for the Howard Hanson Dam in Washington State.  We write to express our continued concern about the level of protection offered by the Howard Hanson Dam and the increased flood risk it poses to the Green River Valley.

We appreciate the progress that has been made to date on interim measures, including an initial grout curtain, work on the dam’s drainage tunnel, and deployment of flood barriers in the most vulnerable areas.  The result of this work has reduced the estimated probability of flooding from 1 in 3 to 1 in 25, which has been an important achievement toward improving the safety of those who live, work, or own businesses in the Green River Valley. 

As you may know, 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.  

Until the full protection offered by the Howard Hanson Dam is restored, it remains difficult for residents and businesses in the Green River Valley to feel secure.  Toward that end, we have been briefed by Major General William Grisoli and other Northwest Division-based officials on additional Interim Risk Reduction Measures for the dam that will further reduce the risk of flooding to an estimated probability of 1 in 140 by extending the grout curtain over a deeper and wider area of the right abutment.  We understand that this will allow the dam to store higher levels of water for short periods of time and protect the Green River Valley from several severe rain events, at a cost of $44 million.

It is our intent to continue to work closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to come up with funds to allow the Corps to move forward expeditiously with the Interim Risk Reduction Measures as outlined to us, as well as moving forward with a long term solution.  Given the enormous economic consequences to the Green River Valley, and that we are currently in the middle of an appropriations cycle, it is imperative that the Corps work diligently to find funds within its budget.   Therefore, we request that you, without delay, critically review and assess your budgets and previously obligated funds to determine the availability of funding to reprogram for this vital project.  

We ask that you look at all previously appropriated funds, including regular order appropriations, previously appropriated disaster or supplemental funds, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.  It is our understanding that the Interim Risk Reduction Measures are ready to go and construction on an extended grout curtain can begin quickly once funding is made available.

As we all know, a permanent fix for the Howard Hanson Dam is not a simple task, and that such construction projects take time to execute properly and safely.  We appreciate the hard work of the Corps to quickly complete the study and design phase.  In order to ensure the well-being of the people and the region while the permanent fix is completed, it is imperative that the Interim Risk Reduction Measures move forward as quickly as possible.  We realize that this may involve reprogramming funds previously appropriated to other projects, but as you are aware, this project is critical to the safety of our constituents and the economy of the Green River Valley, and therefore should be a priority for any unspent Corps funding.

Thank you for your attention to this request, and we look forward to hearing back from you on the availability of funding for the Interim Risk Reduction Measures at Howard Hanson Dam.


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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ speech today recognizing the importance of export control reform:

"I am pleased to see that it remains a priority for the Obama Administration to make progress on reforming our export controls, which currently undermine our national security by making it difficult for U.S. companies to compete internationally.

“Restricting U.S. companies from competing internationally threatens to erode our country’s position as a leader in military and dual-use goods and technologies. That in turn hurts the innovation and viability of American industry and may one day make us reliant upon international companies for these vital technologies within our defense apparatus. That undermines our national security.  

"To be clear, we must not pull back all restrictions on military and dual-use exports. What we must do is strike a balance between more stringently protecting information and goods that would otherwise expose our national security and allowing U.S. companies to compete with goods and technologies that are readily available and legally traded on the global market.  That is why I’ve been working in Congress to support the kind of comprehensive reforms announced today by Secretary Gates.  These reforms seek to strike that balance.  They aim to strengthen our export control regime and protect our national security by streamlining the system.

“My hope is that the Administration will continue to both consult Congress and those who use the system as they work to implement reforms and build a better system.  The status quo not only hinders U.S. companies, but creates the real possibility that we may one day have to rely on foreign companies for our defense needs.

“Today’s speech by Secretary Gates is a promising sign that the Administration recognizes the serious problems with our current export control regime and is committed to a solution.”

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Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Defense’s announcement that the Request for Proposals (RFP) deadline for the KC-X Tanker may be extended by an additional 60 days:

"After multiple setbacks to replace the aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, I am extremely disappointed to hear that the Department of Defense may once again delay the procurement process.

"Replacing the current, aging fleet of tankers is the Air Force’s top acquisition priority. It’s critical that we replace these aging aircraft and provide the warfighters with a new tanker that will meet their current and future mission requirements. A decision to extend the RFP by an additional 60 days will only further delay the warfighters’ access to this valuable equipment.

"While I believe that a fair, open, and transparent competition will benefit both the taxpayer and the warfighter, the original RFP timeline provides adequate time for potential bidders to evaluate the requirements and submit a viable proposal for consideration by the Department of Defense."