Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, made the following statement after the Obama Administration announced it will dispatch two senior officials to Syria. Congressman Smith recently returned from a trip to Syria where he met with President Bashar al-Assad and discussed a fresh start to relations with Syria.

“The Obama administration’s announcement to dispatch two senior officials to Syria to begin to initiate dialogue is a positive development and signals a new direction in U.S. relations not just with Syria, but the entire Middle East. After visiting with President Bashar al-Assad a few weeks ago, it was clear that the regime seeks to begin the process of thawing its relationship with the United States and the West. While we clearly have substantial differences, we also have a number of mutual interests in the region and we should begin to discuss all of these issues.

 “The Administration is mindful of the challenges we face and does not believe they will be easy to overcome, but the road to solving our problems starts with dialogue. Syria can help or hinder the prospects of peace and stability in the region and it’s our job to persuade them to be a positive partner.  Sending senior officials from the Administration to initiate dialogue is a step in the right direction.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement after his vote in support of the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
 
“America faces the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression.  Since this recession began approximately 3.6 million American jobs have been lost – nearly 600,000 last month alone. Americans are losing their homes and businesses, their jobs, their health care and their savings. This is not a time for us to stand by and hope our economy recovers on its own. We must act decisively. The longer we wait, the more jobs will be lost and I am not willing to stand by and watch as Americans continue to lose their jobs.
 
“The Economic Recovery Plan passed by the House today is not perfect, but it is the right size and scope to help stimulate our economy in the short-term and lay the foundation for long-term broad based economic viability. The plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs and make unprecedented investments in our infrastructure to modernize our roads, bridges and mass transit. It will cut taxes for 95% of workers, invest in an energy independent future and build energy efficient buildings and clean water projects.
 
“Voting for a stimulus package of this size was not easy, but it was necessary and urgent. I am deeply concerned about our growing deficit and have been for a long time, but the threats to our economy are real and doing nothing is simply not an option. We must use this crisis as an opportunity to invest in our country and build a stronger and more prosperous future.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) today applauded the inclusion of legislation to expand and improve the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program in the Economic Recovery Package. The measure will extend TAA to service industry workers, increase funding for and improve access to training, health care, and income support, and create a program to address community-wide needs.

Smith worked closely with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Senator Max Baucus during the last session of Congress in his efforts to expand TAA and other job training programs.  Congressman Smith introduced similar legislation to enhance TAA in the 108th, 109th and 110th Congresses.

“Improving the TAA program is more important now then ever before,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The current economic crisis is accelerating the displacement of workers and we must help them adjust and refine their skill sets to advance their careers in this fluid and unpredictable job market.  While we cannot walk away from globalization, we must help provide a bridge between jobs - through training, support and healthcare - to help individuals transition to the jobs and career paths of the future.”

Congress created the TAA program in 1962 in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans and to promote American competitiveness in the global economy.  TAA benefits have several components: training assistance, income support while in training, and interim health care support.  The program assists workers dislocated due to government policies that eliminated tariffs and other barriers to trade.  However, under current law, the program extends coverage only to workers in manufacturing and agricultural sectors, even though service-sector jobs also are increasingly moving overseas.

The Expansion of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program: 
Extends TAA to trade-affected service-sector workers and workers affected by offshoring or outsourcing to all countries, including China or India; 
Increases training funds available to states by 160 percent to $575 million per fiscal year;
Establishes a new TAA program for trade-affected communities;
Ensures automatic TAA eligibility for workers suffering from import surges and unfair trade;
Makes training, healthcare and reemployment TAA benefits more accessible and flexible, and improves the TAA for Firms and TAA for Farmers programs;  
Reauthorizes all TAA programs (which expired December 31, 2007) through December 31, 2010.

“Due to globalization our economy is rapidly transforming, and so must our policies to help displaced workers,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Service-sector employees are also adversely affected by the changing economy and increasingly by the recent economic downturn. We must do everything we can to help them and all other displaced workers transition into the growing sectors of our economy.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) was appointed to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The appointment will allow Smith to engage in deeper and broader oversight and policy development on a wide range of national security issues.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to the Intelligence Committee,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “I look forward to helping provide the intelligence community with the resources and tools they need to ensure our safety, as well as to conducting rigorous oversight to ensure our intelligence system works and that Americans’ basic freedoms are protected.”

Currently, Smith serves as Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, in which he oversees America’s Special Operation Forces and their lead role in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency policy.  The appointment to the Intelligence Committee will bolster Smith’s ability to conduct comprehensive oversight and shape policy on these and other critical national security issues.

 HPSCI was created on July 14, 1977 to oversee intelligence and intelligence-related activities and programs, submit appropriate proposals for legislation and report to the House on intelligence-related activities and programs. 

 HPSCI has exclusive jurisdiction over the National Intelligence Program (NIP), the budget program for national-level intelligence programs, and all legislative activity affecting or relating to how the U.S. Government collects intelligence.  HPSCI shares responsibilities with the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, and Homeland Security and works in conjunction with the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel.  These inter-committee interactions are a vital means of coordination and essential to Unites States national security.

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Rep. Adam Smith today joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in support of the final version of legislation to provide health care to 11 million children.  The legislation is expected to reduce the number of uninsured children in Washington state by 42%. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act was approved by a vote of 290-135. 

“The renewal of SCHIP is a significant win for Washington state. With unemployment rising, causing many to lose healthcare for their children and their families, this reauthorization is especially important,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “I was proud to support efforts to increase the number of insured children in our state which will reduce the costly use of emergency rooms for primary care, and move us closer to providing every child in our nation with affordable, high-quality health care.”

Further, Congressman Smith was particularly pleased to see that the significant gains for Washington state were included in the today’s final version.  The legislation allows Washington state to use a larger portion of its federal allocation, above the 20% previously allowed, for SCHIP through FY 2013. When SCHIP was first implemented, Washington state already covered SCHIP-eligible children under our state’s Medicaid program.  Because of this it is considered a ‘qualifying’ state and has not been allowed to transfer kids from Medicaid to SCHIP or use the full federal allotment for SCHIP on the Medicaid kids. The bill will also provide matching funds to assist with the state’s planned expansion to cover kids up to 300% of the federal poverty line.

The bill was passed by the House today and signed into law by President Obama this evening.

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