Press Releases

This week, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted in support of important legislation designed to make it easier for small businesses to succeed and create jobs in our communities. Together, the Small Business Lending Fund Act and the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act, will address the lack of access to credit and remove some of the restrictive tax obstacles impeding small business growth.

"Small businesses are the foundation of our economy – generating approximately 65% of new jobs over the last 15 years and employing our families, neighbors, and friends,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Our nation’s long term economic stability relies on small businesses and we must continue to enact legislation and remove government barriers to help them grow.”

The Small Business Lending Fund Act will create a $30 billion lending fund to help small businesses expand through investments in states and small banks that focus on lending to local small businesses.  The bill will also help cultivate American innovation through a new public-private partnership designed to channel early stage investment capital to promising new start-ups.

To further ensure small businesses have every opportunity to succeed, the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act will help businesses expand and create new jobs through a 100% exclusion of small business capital gains; small business penalty relief; and increased deductions for start-up expenditures.

These two bills, which are fully paid for, will now move together as one for consideration by the U.S. Senate.
Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding the upcoming Memorial Day weekend:

“As Americans across the country gather with friends and family to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, we should all honor the sacrifice and service of the men and women in our armed forces. Far from the safe harbor of America’s shores, thousands of men and women have put aside their own safety to ensure ours. We owe them our deepest gratitude and respect.

“Holidays like Memorial Day provide us with an opportunity to come together as a nation and reflect on the ideals and values that unite us. As intense debates continue to swirl around a wide range of issues of national importance, the principles that bind us can sometimes be lost. So this weekend, let us all reflect on one thing I know we all can agree upon: the men and women of our armed services do a tremendous job keeping us safe and defending our nation. They are true patriots and serve as a source of pride for a grateful nation.”

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Today, two key pieces of legislation sponsored by Congressman Adam Smith moved closer to the Presidents desk for signature. The pair of bills, The Veterans to Work Pilot Program Act and Military Family Leave Act, will support military families when their loved ones are deployed and will spur job opportunities for veterans when they return from their overseas duties.

 “The men and women of our armed forces and their families make tremendous sacrifices to serve our nation and keep us safe. It is our obligation to ensure they are provided the support that they deserve,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “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.”

 The Veterans to Work Pilot Program Act of 2009, which Smith introduced in November of 2009 has been incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011. The legislation passed the House of Representatives today and now must pass the Senate before it can be signed into law. The legislation expands job opportunities by creating a 5-year pilot program to enroll military veterans in apprenticeship programs and employ them on military construction projects.

The legislation would specifically require the Secretary of Defense to designate at least twenty military construction projects per year where, to the maximum extent feasible, the utilization of veteran apprenticeship labor would be required. At the end of each year, and at the conclusion of the pilot program, the Secretary would be required to submit a report to Congress that, among other things, evaluates the benefits of employing apprentices who are veterans on Military Construction projects.

The Military Family Leave Act of 2009, which was introduced by Smith in July of last year, was also incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 by amendment. The bill would provide two weeks of unpaid leave to the spouse, children, or parents of a member of the military who receives notification of deployment or is currently deployed.

 While the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act added a provision to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allowing military families to take time off for a number of reasons connected with a deployment, not all employees were made eligible under that earlier law. The Military Family Leave Act of 2009 seeks to ensure that all military families have the ability to take two-weeks of unpaid leave in response to an upcoming or current deployment of spouse, parent, or child.  

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Today, Congressman Adam Smith, Chair of the Air and Land Forces subcommittee, voted in support of the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, a bill which makes record investments in our nation’s military. In addition to providing a 1.9 percent pay raise for our military personnel, the legislation lays out a balanced strategy to provide the resources we need to sustain the wars of today as well as prepare for the wars of the future.

“This bill is vitally important to our national security and I am proud of the support it provides to our troops and their mission to keep us safe,” said Congressman Smith. “I believe it strikes the right balance between fighting the conflicts of today, while preparing our forces for the challenges of the future.”

The legislation also includes some important provision for Washington State and the 9th Congressional District such as:

  • $184.9 million for military construction projects at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
  • $65 million for the Department of Defense Impact Aid program, which assists school districts serving the children of families stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
  • Extends TRICARE coverage to cover dependent children up to age 26.
  • $1 billion for 83 new Stryker vehicles, vehicle upgrades, and research and development.
  • $700 million for the separate National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account, for a total of $7.2 billion overall for Guard and Reserve procurement.
  • A provision put forth by Smith requiring Department of Defense to report on the impacts of illegal subsidies related to the KC-X tanker competition and whether such subsidies provided an unfair competitive advantage.  
In general, the NDAA authorizes $726 billion for Fiscal Year 2011 military activities including the Department of Defense, the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DoE), military construction projects, and other defense and military personnel activities related to U.S. national security efforts.

The bill must be approved by the Senate before the President can sign it into law.

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Congressman Adam Smith’s legislation to create jobs for Veterans has been reported out of committee as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011 and is expected to be voted on the House Floor next week. The bill, Veterans to Work Pilot Program Act, will expand job opportunities by creating a 5-year pilot program to enroll military veterans in apprenticeship programs and employ them on military construction projects.

“We should be doing everything possible to ensure that our military personnel come home to good, family-wage, quality job opportunities,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “By calling upon the Department of Defense to explore the utilization of veteran apprentices in military construction projects, we are working to find innovative ways to help our veterans secure employment and ease the transition into civilian life.”

The legislation would specifically require the Secretary of Defense to designate at least twenty military construction projects per year where, to the maximum extent feasible, the utilization of veteran apprenticeship labor would be required. At the end of each year, and at the conclusion of the pilot program, the Secretary would be required to submit a report to Congress that, among other things, evaluates the benefits of employing apprentices who are veterans on Military Construction projects.

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