Press Releases

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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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement after his vote in support of the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

“Our nation is in a serious economic crisis. Over the past two months, one million Americans have lost their jobs. Just this week, companies considered some of our nation’s most sturdy and economically sound announced plans to lay-off 55,000 more people. The number of people currently receiving unemployment benefits has reached its highest level since 1982 – approximately 4.6 million people. We need decisive action to confront the growing economic crisis, jumpstart our economy and lay a foundation for sustainable long-term growth.

“The Recovery Package is not a cure-all, but it will provide a jolt to our economy and begin to lay the foundation necessary for long-term sustainable economic growth. It upgrades our current infrastructure – such as roads, bridges, ports and schools – and invests in innovation infrastructure through broadband, health information technology and clean energy. It contains a middle class tax cut to provide families immediate relief and targeted tax cuts to help businesses grow and hire. It will provide a college tuition tax cut to help families pay for college and a homebuyer tax credit to stop home prices from plummeting.

“Earlier this month, I sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and the Appropriations Committee Chairmen demanding that any stimulus package contain strong accountability and transparency measures. I am pleased to see that these requests have been incorporated into the stimulus package, including a dedicated website where citizens can track every penny and hold federal, state, and local officials accountable for their performance.

“With all that said, voting for a stimulus package of this size was still not easy, but it was necessary. I am deeply concerned about our growing deficit, but the threats to our economy are real and doing nothing was 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) 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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