Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement in observance of Martin Luther King Day:

“We welcome this year's celebration of Martin Luther King Day with great pride. The swearing in of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is the ultimate tribute to the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a milestone in our quest for racial equality. We have made great strides, and few moments will remind us of how far we have come than the swearing in of the first African American president. So, as we reflect today on the great life of Dr. King, let us also reflect on how far we have come.  Let us mark this moment as the time when we became a more tolerant and passionate country where all men are created equal and judged by the content of their character and merit of their works, not the color of their skin.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9) authored a letter sent to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Boehner and committee leadership requesting transparency and accountability requirements for all federal funding in the upcoming economic stimulus package. Specifically, the letter called for requirements to track and measure the impact of federal dollars, ensure spending efficacy and thorough reporting, and make certain that projects eligible for funding through the package have the widest possible exposure to qualified contractors. 

“It is critical that Congress improve transparency and accountability in all federal spending, and particularly in this new package that will inject hundreds of billions of dollars into our economy,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Technologies exist to track the disbursement and measure the impacts of economic stimulus funds, and we should make sure to use these critical tools.  Doing so will not only increase Congressional oversight and taxpayer confidence, but also help eliminate waste and fraud.”

The letter urged House and committee leadership to include three major provisions to the upcoming economic stimulus package: 

        1)  Track in detail how stimulus funds are spent by state, county and municipal entities, with project visibility from start to finish, and compliance reporting, while placing as little burden as possible on the recipient entities;

        2)  Report the resulting economic impacts down to the local level so the effectiveness of funding can be measured and future funding can be allocated with maximum impact;

        3)  Provide qualified businesses across the United States a simple method to access federally-funded stimulus projects as soon as they are let out for bid, at no cost to businesses.

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U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09.) voted with a bipartisan majority in favor of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act. The bill renews and improves SCHIP, providing health care coverage for 11 million children – preserving coverage for the 7 million children currently covered by SCHIP and extends it to 4 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.

“The reauthorization of SCHIP is a major victory for children in Washington state and across the country,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The renewal provides millions of children with one of their most fundamental needs – quality healthcare.”

SCHIP was created in 1997 to help families get medical care when they made too much money to get Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance.  The bill passed by the House today will provide states resources needed for outreach to enroll eligible families in the program.

Congressman Smith was particularly pleased to see significant gains for Washington state in today’s bill.  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.

Further, the bill will provide matching funds to assist with the state’s planned expansion to cover kids up to 300% of the federal poverty line. The bill also includes a provision – another benefit to Washington state -- that would give states the option of covering legal immigrant children who have been less than five years under SCHIP and Medicaid.  It covers children – legally here – sooner than a five-year waiting period, in order to prevent critical health problems from going unchecked. Washington is one of 22 states that uses state funds to cover this population and current federal law prohibits them from being eligible for SCHIP in their first 5 years of residency.

“The renewal of SCHIP is a win for our country and a win for Washington state,” said Smith. “With unemployment rising, causing many to lose healthcare for their childrenand their families, this reauthorization is exceptionally important."

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced legislation today to ensure that veterans discharged for “combat-related” injuries receive the benefits they have earned. In March 2008, the DoD narrowed the definition of “combat-related” and it has cost disabled veterans thousands of dollars in benefits. The legislation would revert back to the definition used prior to March 2008.

“This policy change has denied men and women in our armed forces - who have obviously sustained combat-related injures - access to thousands of dollars in benefits,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “This is unacceptable. Our brave men and woman in the armed services put their lives at risk everyday for this country and the least we can do is pay them the benefits they have earned.”

Last year, the Department of Defense issued a directive-memo which narrowed the scope of the definition of “combat-related.” This new definition made it more difficult for disabled veterans to receive their benefits from both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The previous definition of “combat-related” was broadly defined and covered most, if not all, injuries sustained in a combat zone, combat training or other hazardous service. The new policy restricts the definition to include only those injured directly through armed conflict. As a result, members of the military who were injured while taking cover from incoming fire or sustained injuries from a roadside bomb have had their injuries ruled as being unrelated to combat, costing them thousands of dollars in benefits.

Due to his concerns with the change in policy and its impact on disabled veterans, Congressman Adam Smith introduced bipartisan legislation to require the Department of Defense to revert back to the definition used prior to the policy change in March 2008.

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) toured the town of Pacific over the weekend to meet with local leaders and residents and survey damage caused by the recent flooding. In addition to surveying the damage, the purpose of the trip was also to identify how the Federal Government can help with the recovery efforts and evaluate what can be done to prevent flooding of this scale in the future.

"I want to applaud the residents and local leaders who have responded extremely well in the face of this crisis. They had an emergency plan in place and they executed the plan very effectively," said Congressman Adam Smith. "We must now focus our attention on getting assistance to individuals and businesses in need of help with their recovery efforts. Homes and businesses have been severely damaged and there cannot be a delay in getting help to these people, they are relying on us to give them direction and assistance during this difficult time."

Governor Gregoire gave a preliminary estimate of damage to roads and state property at $125 million. U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Friday that the state had immediate access to $2 million in federal aid and pledged more support once detailed assessments have been made. Congressman Smith has called for the disbursement of more federal funding and a timely assessment of what can be done to prevent this sort of flooding from happening again.

"We must also continue to assess the situation and put measures in place to prevent this sort of flooding in the future," Rep. Smith continued. "We should evaluate the levee system and current flood plain management plans and make any adjustments necessary to ensure flooding of this magnitude never happens again. My office will continue to be a resource to all the individuals, business owners and local officials during their recovery efforts."

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