Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), who recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, released the following statement in response to the President’s speech on Afghanistan:

“It is clear that we face an enormous and difficult challenge in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other extremist groups in the region have a complex set of relationships spanning across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and these ideologies pose a grave threat to the United States and our allies. If the Taliban were to regain control of substantial portions of Afghanistan, or recapture the government they would provide al-Qaeda a safe haven from which to operate, and we can not allow this to happen.

“At the same time we face the limitation of what an outside force can accomplish in a nation like Afghanistan, the deficiencies of our current partners in the Afghan Government, and the cost in lives and dollars of our presence in Afghanistan. Ultimately, I believe that we need a strategy to contain the threat in this region. A strategy that recognizes we cannot completely eliminate the Taliban or completely rebuild Afghanistan, but one that focuses on building the capabilities of Afghanistan’s security forces and improves the effectiveness of the Afghan Government. By focusing on these key elements, we can not only contain the threat posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda but also reduce and eventually eliminate our presence in Afghanistan.  

“I believe the President outlined such a plan tonight. It will not be easy, and I will continue to closely monitor the progress of this effort, but I believe the President made a strong case tonight that is worthy of our support.”


Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in regard to the shooting that killed four police officers in Lakewood this morning:

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the police officers killed this morning in Lakewood as well as all those who work at the Lakewood Police Department.

"This is a senseless tragedy. The targeting of police officers is a particularly heinous crime and I urge all members of the community to cooperate with law enforcement officials as they hunt down the individuals involved. I will work with the Lakewood and Pierce County officials to help provide any assistance they may need to deal with and recover from this terrible tragedy."

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Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted to provide local firefighters with the tools and resources they need to prevent and fight fires, and keep our communities safe.

“At a time when many towns and cities in Washington state are facing budget shortfalls and cuts to basic services, this bill helps to ease the burden on local fire departments by providing federal funding to help provide training, purchase equipment and vehicles, and hire personnel,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Countless lives are saved every day by the courageous efforts of first responders, firefighters and EMTs and we must ensure they get the resources they need to protect our communities.”

Specifically, the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2009 authorizes $1 billion in each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, which provides funds for local fire departments and emergency medical services organizations to purchase equipment. It also authorizes $1.2 billion in each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, which provides grants for hiring and retaining personnel.

The bill also makes it easier for local fire departments to access these critical funds by lowering matching requirements and modifying time commitments, which will allow more fire stations to apply for the grants.  Grant recipients would be required to match 10% of the grant’s funding, and the bill allows the Administrator of the program to waive or reduce the matching requirements for applicants that have demonstrated economic hardship.

In fiscal year 2008, which is the most current data available, Washington state was awarded nearly $9.5 million through the SAFER Grant Program and nearly $11.4 million through the Assistance to Firefighters Program.

 

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced legislation to help ensure that veterans have quality, well-paying job opportunities. The bill, Veterans to Work Pilot Program Act of 2009, 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 the brave men and women who serve our country come home to good, family-wage, quality job opportunities when they return from their assignments abroad,” 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.

“Our veterans, military personnel and their families make enormous sacrifices on our behalf, and they deserve our support and gratitude. I am proud to be a strong advocate for them in Congress and I will continue to seek ways to improve their quality of life and improve the benefits they receive for their service.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in regard to the memorial service at Fort Lewis today honoring seven local soldiers killed in combat on October 27, 2009.

“Today, we honor the soldiers who died on October 27, 2009 and offer our condolences to their families and friends. As we saw on the tragic day when these seven brave soldiers were killed and with the confirmation of two additional Fort Lewis soldiers passing yesterday, our local military personnel continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in Afghanistan.

“We owe our brave men and women in uniform our deepest gratitude, and not just when they make the ultimate sacrifice. As a member of Congress who represents thousands of our military personnel, their families and our Veterans, I am constantly working to ensure they the support and benefits they deserve.

“Our local military personnel and their families play an important role in both our combat operations abroad and in our communities here at home. In combat, they are the brave men and women who selflessly put themselves in harms way to protect the greater good. At home, they are the individuals and families that make Washington state a wonderful place to live. For this, we are forever indebted to them.”