Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
 
“Today we focus our thoughts and prayers on all those who perished in the brutal attacks on our country on September 11, 2001. We pay homage to the families they left behind and salute the brave men and women who have kept us safe in the days since. We must never forget the first responders who selflessly risked and gave their lives trying to save their fellow Americans. The images of that day will forever be seared into our collective memory and the price paid will never be forgotten.”
 
“We must honor the devastating loss on that day with vigilance, temperament and resolve. We must remember that many of those who committed this tragedy still walk the earth free men, and continue to plot and plan against the U.S. and our interests. We must redouble our efforts to bring these men to justice and to prevent further attacks. Let today serve as a reminder that we must never become complacent, that we must always be vigilant and act in a manner in accordance with our values and with our nation’s best interests at heart.”
 
“Our brave men and women in uniform have done an outstanding job around the globe fighting for our freedom and we must honor their service with sound judgment and thoughtful policy. With dedication to our ideals and a commitment to bringing those who brought our country harm to justice, today we stand not as Democrats or Republicans, but as American citizens dedicated to ensuring we never witness an attack like September 11th  again.”
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ announcement that the Department of Defense will delay its decision on a $35 Billion tanker contract until the next administration:
 
“While I applaud this decision, I have serious misgivings about the management of the process thus far and the fact that our troops now face a further delay in getting newer tankers to replace the aging planes in the current fleet. Our troops deserve better. However, given the short timeframe before a new administration takes over, as well as the significant problems and controversy surrounding the tanker, this was the fairest course of action for all parties involved.
 
“A new Administration can bring a much-needed fresh outlook and fair-minded approach to the tanker acquisition. This is the right step for our military, Boeing workers, the residents of Washington State and the American tax payers.”
 
“I look forward to working with the new administration to provide a fair and open tanker competition and ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.” 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on the President’s plan to reduce force levels in Iraq by approximately 8,000 troops and slightly modify troop levels in Afghanistan over the next six months:
 
“The President made it clear through his slight troop reduction announcement that he intends to maintain a long-term, unsustainable presence in Iraq. The situation on the ground in Iraq would permit - and the needs of our overstrained military and our struggling mission in Afghanistan demand - a much larger troop reduction, at a significantly faster pace. The President has effectively deferred the development of a responsible Iraq exit strategy to the next Administration. That is highly irresponsible.”

“The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan demands a dramatic adjustment to our current strategy. The President’s slight reduction of troops in Iraq, coupled with a troop reshuffling in Afghanistan that essentially maintains the status quo, shows that he does not grasp the severity of the situation in Afghanistan and the danger posed by under-resourcing our mission there. Any future attacks on the United States are most likely to originate from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, and we cannot allow the region to become a terrorist sanctuary or fall to the Taliban. But our forces continue to be overwhelmingly concentrated in Iraq. The President’s announcement demonstrates he is unwilling to divert from this dangerous course. ”

“Our troops remain the best in the world, and their efforts have helped dramatically improve the situation in Iraq. We must honor their sacrifice by bringing them home and ensuring their accomplishments in Afghanistan do not slip away.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today applauded the passage of H.R.6599, the Fiscal Year 2009 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. This legislation will provide $93.7 billion for veterans’ programs, an increase of nearly $6.1 billion over last year’s funding level. The bill passed the House by a vote of 409-4.
 
“This funding reaffirms our commitment to provide world class care for those who have faithfully served our country. Building on last year’s appropriations bill, which provided the single largest increase for veterans’ programs in the history of the VA, this bill again increases our investments to ensure veterans have timely access to top-notch VA health care and facilities,” Smith said.
 
Some of the key provisions of the bill include:
  • Mental Health Care: $3.8 billion for specialty mental health care to ensure that all veterans have access to mental health services and $584 million for substance abuse programs.  
  • Facility Maintenance and Renovations: $5 billion for maintenance and renovations on existing facilities to address shortfalls and ensure the facilities remain capable of providing first-class care.
  • “Priority 8” Veterans: $568 million to increase the enrollment of “Priority 8” veterans in VA healthcare by 10%. These are veterans who exceed a certain economic threshold and do not have a service-connected condition. This will be the first time there has been new enrollment for Priority 8 veterans since 2003. 
  • Assistance for Homeless Veterans: $130 million for the homeless grants program and to hire additional personnel for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program. 
  • Travel Reimbursements: $100 million to raise the beneficiary travel reimbursement rate from 28.5 cents per mile to 41.5 cents per mile.
  • Claims Processors: Funds for 1,400 new claims processors to reduce the backlog of disability and other claims on behalf of veterans. 

In addition to providing for veterans, H.R.6599 provides $24.8 billion for military construction and other projects that will improve living conditions and quality of life for military personnel. Locally, Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base will receive $344.1 million for construction projects, including $8.6 million for a new facility for the 262nd Information Warfare Aggressor Squadron (IWAS), a project specifically requested and secured by Congressman Smith.
 
“The 262nd IWAS, a Washington State Air National Guard squadron, is at the cutting edge of protecting U.S. national security in today’s high-tech world. I am proud to have these cyber warriors - most of whom have civilian day jobs at local tech companies - here in the Puget Sound area. They need this new facility as the squadron takes on a more prominent role in America’s cyber-security efforts,” Smith said.
 
The Senate must now consider similar legislation before the bill can be signed into law by the President.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives yesterday passed landmark legislation to expand U.S. efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis around the world.  Included in the legislation were provisions proposed by Smith and Rep. Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) to combat tuberculosis.  The bill passed by a vote of 303 - 115.

“The HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis pandemics have caused immense suffering around the globe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.  These diseases form part of a continuing spiral of poverty and disease in developing countries that threaten prospects for economic growth and stability.  This expansion was the moral thing to do, and I hope we can continue to build on it,” Smith said.

Congress passed the original U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act on a bipartisan basis in May 2003, and appropriated $19.3 billion over the past five years for the program.  The measure, based on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has saved millions of lives worldwide.

The bipartisan measure passed yesterday authorizes nearly $50 billion over the next five years - $20 billion more than the President’s original request – to transition from an emergency response to long-term sustainability that can be maintained by host countries.  The bill also adds emphasis to tuberculosis and malaria prevention, including Smith’s language related to tuberculosis, the “Stop TB” bill.

Smith helped shape the bill’s tuberculosis provisions, which include:

  • Requiring patient referrals between HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programs;
  • Enhanced testing and treatment in countries with high TB rates;
  • New strategies for attacking forms of drug-resistant TB;
  • Assistance for the World Health Organization Stop Tuberculosis Partnership to cut TB deaths and infections in half by 2016; and
  • $4 billion in funding for programs to combat TB for fiscal years 2009-2013.

The President is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.