Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, made the following statement applauding the passage of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009:

“It was clear during my recent trip to Pakistan in September that our support is absolutely helping Pakistan push back the threat they face from violent extremists. The Pakistanis are making positive progress and the skills and assets they have gained through our cooperation are invaluable to them. We must build on this relationship and continue to support their efforts. This bill will help us develop this long-term relationship based on mutual interests and the common goal of defeating violent extremists.

“A key component of this legislation requires the President to develop a comprehensive interagency regional security strategy in coordination with groups on the ground.  Such a strategy is essential to our efforts to counter terrorist threats and combat safe havens in Pakistan.   

“This legislation provides funding and support to train the Pakistani military in the crucial counterinsurgency capabilities needed to defeat violent extremist groups within or near its borders. It also provides funding to support economic, social and democratic development by strengthening democratic institutions, reinforcing the judicial system, developing infrastructure, spurring jobs creation, expanding public education and providing aid to refugees. This funding is vital to undermine the efforts of violent extremists, strengthen domestic support for the Pakistani government and move the country toward stability.

“While Pakistan still faces tremendous internal and external destabilizing pressures, some of these pressures have begun to subside over the last few months in large part due to our assistance.  We must build on this relationship and our long-term commitment to the region.  I am pleased to support legislation that will continue to provide the critical resources necessary to bolster the Pakistani government and develop a more constructive, accountable relationship with the United States.”

To see Congressman Adam Smith speak on the House floor about this important piece of legislation click here.

 

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) joined together to call on FEMA to conduct a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response exercise to take place in the Green River Valley as it faces a high risk of flooding due to damage at the Howard Hanson Dam. The exercise would help to ensure preparation at all levels to address the personal and economic impact of potential flooding and storm damage.

“With the critical situation facing the Green River Valley, a key component is to be prepared as we work for a long-term fix,” said Reichert. “I’m pleased to join with Congressman Adam Smith in this effort, as the threat expands to his congressional district. We must do all we can to protect our citizens and prevent property damage and loss.”

“Our communities continue to face the possibility of significant flooding and we must do everything we can to protect them,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “In the short term, all necessary resources should be focused on shoring up any infrastructure vulnerabilities and ensuring there is a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plan in place so we can react effectively in the event of a flood.  Overall, while state and federal resources are being appropriated to mitigate and avoid flooding damages, individuals should also be taking precautions to protect themselves and their property.”

In the letter to Mr. Fugate, the members state:

As representatives of the two congressional districts with constituents directly impacted by a flood event, we ask that your agency conduct a simulated exercise to mitigate the potential for severe personal and economic loss and prepare all of the local, state, and federal agencies involved in emergency response for any scenario that may arise from a breach of the Dam or the release of excess water.  Preparedness is essential for effective response, and your agency has the ability to help ensure the Green River Valley is ready in the event of flooding.  FEMA’s assistance in establishing and facilitating effective emergency communications and response could result in lessening the damages of this potential disaster.  The threat of flooding from winter storms and the reduced capacity of the Howard Hanson Dam is real, and it is imperative that all levels of government act swiftly and in full coordination to prepare and protect the citizens and the Green River Valley.

Full text of the letter follows:


September 25, 2009

Mr. W. Craig Fugate
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street S.W., Room 700
Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Administrator Fugate,

We write to urgently request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response exercise in the Green River Valley in Washington State.  This exercise could ensure that citizens, local officials, and emergency teams are prepared to address the infrastructure vulnerabilities, personal safety risks, and the economic impact of potential storm damage to the Green River Valley and the Howard Hanson Dam at a time of heightened risk of flooding.

For over 40 years, the Howard Hanson Dam and Green River levees in King County, Washington, have provided effective flood control and protection.  Following record rainfall in January 2009, damage to an abutment adjacent to the Dam diminished the maximum water capacity that can be safely held by the Dam. As the Army Corps of Engineers works to assess and repair the damage, cities located within the Green River Valley were notified of a scenario that may require the intentional release of more water than usual during extreme rain events. This has the potential to result in catastrophic flooding that could affect tens of thousands of individuals. King County officials are preparing plans to evacuate up to 5,000 people; some estimates show the potential for lost economic output of $46 million per day and up to $2 billion in property damage.

As representatives of the two congressional districts with constituents directly impacted by a flood event, we ask that your agency conduct a simulated exercise to mitigate the potential for severe personal and economic loss and prepare all of the local, state, and federal agencies involved in emergency response for any scenario that may arise from a breach of the Dam or the release of excess water.  Preparedness is essential for effective response, and your agency has the ability to help ensure the Green River Valley is ready in the event of flooding.  FEMA’s assistance in establishing and facilitating effective emergency communications and response could result in lessening the damages of this potential disaster.  The threat of flooding from winter storms and the reduced capacity of the Howard Hanson Dam is real, and it is imperative that all levels of government act swiftly and in full coordination to prepare and protect the citizens and the Green River Valley.

Our offices stand ready to provide any assistance you might need in orchestrating and carrying out such an exercise.  Please let us know if there is any additional information needed as FEMA considers this request.  We eagerly await your reply.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement concerning the Air Force’s draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker:

“I am pleased to see that the Department of Defense and the Air Force appear to have made positive adjustments to their draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker. The updated RFP for a new fleet of tankers will be released tomorrow. From my initial review, the new RFP seems to address a number of concerns raised in the last round of bidding, and will factor in the costs to operate, maintain, and base the aircraft over its service life. The new RFP also seems to more clearly lay out the overall criteria being used in the selection process and should help clarify the bidding process.

“In the coming days, I will review in much greater detail the new guidelines set forth in the tanker RFP to ensure they create a fair and transparent procurement process.  As the Air Force moves forward, I will follow the process closely to ensure all proposals are evaluated on equal merit. Any contract awarded must provide the best product to support our men and women in uniform in the most cost effective way possible.

“I hope that the new RFP will lead to an equitable and open tanker competition and ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in regard to Russell Investments’ decision to move its headquarters from Tacoma to downtown Seattle:

“I am very disappointed in the Russell Company’s decision to relocate from Tacoma. Despite Russell’s decision to relocate, the business climate of Tacoma and the South Sound region remains desirable and highly competitive and I am confident our local economy will continue to grow and strengthen.

“The Washington delegation has been working for years with the City of Tacoma and all of Pierce County to ensure that the South Sound region remains attractive to employers. I have no doubt in the economic strength of our region and will continue to work on the federal level to improve, encourage and enhance growth in the South Sound.”
Washington, D.C.Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement based on news reports that the World Trade Organization’s interim ruling declared launch aid to Airbus  an illegal subsidy:

“It is clear from reports today that the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) interim ruling has concluded that European governments have illegally subsidized Airbus.  In siding with U.S. officials they agree, rather than competing on a level playing field with privately-financed, U.S.-built aircraft, European governments have violated WTO rules by providing launch aid to develop Airbus planes.

"These illegal subsidies for Airbus planes have distorted the industry, shifting market share toward Europe and away from U.S. aircraft manufacturing jobs.   As the U.S. and the world move toward economic recovery, it is vitally important to restore market balance for American workers.  

"European governments and Airbus should cease all plans for future launch aid and end their practice of unfair competitive advantage. Boeing workers are among the best in the world and can compete directly in the aerospace industry but, in order to do so, we must ensure that our trading partners and international businesses abide by the WTO’s rules."