Press Releases

U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) today called for a new United States strategy to combat the spread of violent terrorist ideology before a forum of 150 national security experts and practitioners.  Smith and Thornberry discussed their legislation, recently included in the House-passed Defense Authorization bill, which would require the President to develop a comprehensive, integrated strategy for strategic communication and public diplomacy.

“Strategic communication and public diplomacy were central to our fight against communism in the Cold War, and they should remain front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations.  Various organizations within our government work in some way to counter terrorist messages, but we lack a coordinated, comprehensive, adequately resourced plan to confront al-Qaeda’s ideology through a strategic message campaign,” Smith said.

Click Here to Link to a Video of the Forum

 Our nation’s multifaceted fight against al-Qaida and their allies includes efforts to counter their ideology – a war of ideas.  Terrorist groups aggressively push their narrative through new and traditional media with the aim of radicalizing and recruiting from new populations.  Through clever use of the Internet and a steady trickle of video messages distributed to and through the media, al-Qaeda drives its central messages and takes us on in the marketplace of ideas.  Numerous commissions and experts recommend improving the United States’ engagement with foreign audiences beyond traditional government-to-government relations.  Unfortunately, U.S. efforts remain insufficient to counter violent extremist narratives around the world.  Smith’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threat, and Capabilities repeatedly receives testimony that:

  • The U.S. doesn’t have a coherent, high-level interagency strategy on these issues;
  • The State Department and Defense Department aren’t coordinating sufficiently; and
  • We lack focus and nuance in our strategic communication messaging. 

To address these gaps in our counter-terrorism strategy, Smith and Thornberry offered their good-government amendment through bipartisan cooperation and with support of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairmen.   The Senate and the President must approve the defense bill before the Smith Amendment becomes law.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ announcement that the Pentagon will re-open bidding for the acquisition of 179 new Air Force refueling tankers:
 
“The Pentagon made the right decision – and the only reasonable one – to correct the Air Force’s mistakes and re-compete the tanker contract.  The GAO’s investigation made clear that the original acquisition process was unfair and disadvantaged Boeing’s bid in several respects.  I hope this will mean that Boeing and our Washington State workers will get a fair shot at the new contract, but I’ll be watching this new process carefully to make sure that’s the case.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today helped pass legislation to expand housing assistance and supportive services for homeless veterans.  H.R.3329, the Homes for Heroes Act, which Smith cosponsored, overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 412-19.

“It is an absolute shame that after years of faithful service to their country, thousands of veterans spend their nights sleeping on the streets or are under the constant threat of becoming homeless. We must do more to support these individuals who served their country. This bill is a step in the right direction to ensure our veterans receive the support and services they need,” Smith said.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 400,000 veterans are homeless at some point during the year, with nearly 200,000 homeless on any given night. This makes up a quarter of the entire homeless population of the United States. Many more low income veterans and their families live at the margins and are at risk of becoming homeless in the absence of permanent housing solutions and supportive services. In fact, 1.5 million veterans have incomes that fall below the federal poverty level, including 634,000 with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line.

Specifically, the Homes for Heroes Act:

  • Authorizes $200 million for an assistance program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for supportive housing and services for low-income veterans.
  • Directs HUD to provide at least 20,000 rental vouchers a year for homeless veterans.
  • Establishes the position of Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs within HUD to coordinate and oversee the Department’s assistance programs for veterans.
  • Requires HUD to submit a comprehensive annual report to Congress on the housing needs of homeless veterans and the steps HUD has taken under the programs provided for in this bill.

The Senate must now consider H.R. 3329 before the President can sign it into law.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) applauded the House Appropriations Committee’s approval last week of funding for two critical energy research projects at universities in Washington State.  The committee approved $500,000 which Smith requested to expand research capabilities at the Center for Biofuels at the University of Washington to facilitate development of new biomass conversion technologies.  The committee also approved $500,000 for research on power grid instability and insecurity and the development of modern “smart grid” technology at Washington State University.
 
“The Center for Biofuels is already completing research that will help Washington  This additional funding will allow them to purchase equipment and expand vital research on converting biomass into fuels,” Smith said. state become a leader in alternative energy.
 
 “Also of critical importance is ensuring that our regional and national power grids are stable and secure.  This funding will help WSU researchers develop smart-grid technology to better protect consumers’ access to the electricity we all rely on,” Smith said.
 
Smith also helped secure funding for the following regional projects:
 
 • $250,000 for the Lower Puyallup River Alternatives Study, which would determine alternatives for addressing flood and related habitat issues of the Lower Puyallup River in Pierce County, Wash.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
• $300,000 for the Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration to identify and fund important restoration opportunities in the Puget Sound Basin, which can benefit various federally listed species; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
• $600,000 million for the Puget Sound Nearshore Marine Habitat Restoration program. This funding will be used to evaluate causes for habitat decline and pollution in the Puget Sound Basin; formulate, evaluate and screen potential solutions to these problems; and recommend a series of actions and projects; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
• $1 million for the Duwamish / Green Ecosystem Restoration Project, which provides critical environmental improvements and includes assisting in the recovery of Endangered Species Act federally-listed Chinook salmon; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (King County).
 
• $4.107 million for the Mud Mountain Dam on the White River.  Funding would be used for both construction and operations and maintenance on the Dam, to enable the Corps of Engineers to meet existing and future fish passage responsibilities; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
The funds were included in the appropriations bill for energy and water projects for fiscal year 2009, approved by the House Appropriations Committee last week.  The bill now awaits consideration by the full House and reconciliation with the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President.
 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) applauded the House Appropriations Committee’s approval last week of the Fiscal Year 2009 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which included funding for several critical law enforcement and justice assistance projects in the 9th District. 

The committee approved $300,000 for the Digital Information Gathering System (DIGS), requested by the King County Sherriff’s Office.  The DIGS project will facilitate integration of records and information between all 49 municipal police departments, sheriffs offices, and other law enforcement agencies and will promote enhanced information sharing, data accessibility, and communications.

Also approved by the committee was $250,000 for the Rainier Communications Commission’s Wireless Public Safety and Emergency Response Network.  This network will improve interoperable communications for public safety and emergency management purposes and directly aid local law enforcement and first responders in Pierce County.

“Funding for the King County DIGS project and the Rainier Public Safety Network will help provide our local law enforcement officials with needed technology support to better respond to public safety threats and emergencies,” Smith said.

Smith also helped secure funding for important justice assistance programs that reduce and prevent crime as well as provide support and assistance to victims.

The Appropriations Committee designated $500,000 for the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center to fund their heavily-utilized civil legal services and the child-focused Stepping Stones program, both of which serve adult and child victims of violence.  The committee approved $1,100,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative to tackle the problems of manufacture, distribution, and use of methamphetamine.  The committee also approved $1,000,000 for the Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Initiative, which enables enhanced community-oriented policing activities and outreach to youths and families impacted by drugs, violence, and gangs. 

“These funds will support critical local  programs that prevent drug abuse, crime, and violence and aid victims and affected communities.”

The CJS bill now awaits consideration by the full House and reconciliation with the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President.