Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today pushed the top Defense Department acquisition official to provide more information related to the recent tanker decision involving Northrup Grumman / EADS and Boeing.  Smith questioned Under Secretary for Defense for Acquisition John J. Young, Jr. during a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Air & Land Forces and Sea Power & Expeditionary Forces Subcommittees.

“This decision raises a number of serious issues, from procurement process concerns to trade and economic implications.  The key point that came out during my exchange with Under Secretary Young was that the Air Force did not take into account the illegal government subsidies provided to Airbus by European governments – the very subsidies that our government is currently suing the European Union over.  As our own government has argued, subsidies like these allow companies unfair advantages against U.S. competitors and are illegal under international trade rules.  The Air Force procurement officials, however, did not take that critical factor into consideration meaning that as a question of policy it is up to Congress to take a closer look.  Watch for Congress to do so in the coming days,” Smith said.

Partial Transcript

Smith: Did you consider the subsidy issue?  Because one of the things we are really wrestling with here is that we are starting a WTO case against Airbus for unfairly subsidizing its competition against U.S. products.  It’s obvious the case is still in development but for years it hasn’t been terribly debated that Airbus is subsidized.  At a minimum they have a bank out there that they can take risk against that they know will cover them, which is no small item.  So … how do we balance as a government that we have on the one hand complaining about a subsidized competitor and then on the other hand giving that subsidized competitor a contract when arguably part of the reason they are able to keep their costs down is because they are being unfairly subsidized?

Young:  Again, the laws and regulations really don’t let me address in any way the subsidy issue that will be settled in another forum on a nation-to-nation and on an international forum. What we evaluated was the products that were proposed.  I did have a discussion with the Air Force to try to make sure, and I would do this in any process; it’s not just this particular program.  We don’t want an industry to buy in to a program because usually that comes back to haunt us in terms of increasing costs and other factors.  My understanding is that the Air Force assessed both team’s proposals; both team’s proposals present accurate assessments of their costs, and both teams proposals, I will tell you, include profits for both makers.  So we believe they both proposed their costs plus profits, we evaluated those performance and those costs benefits to the government.

Smith: So just so I can clarify: your decision therefore was based in no way on the subsidy issue, whether they were subsidized or not.  So in essence what you are saying is, if that is an issue of public policy, it would be an issue of public policy that Congress will have to address.  It was not addressed in your original decision…if that was an issue that was important to the country it would be something that Congress would have to deal with.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award a long-anticipated contract to build aerial refueling tankers to Northrop Grumman/EADS rather than Boeing:

“I am very disappointed in the Air Force’s decision on the tanker contract.  While I am sure that the Air Force’s process was fair and open, I look forward to reading in detail their justification, as the Defense Department had previously identified Boeing tankers as highly-rated, cost-effective updates to the force.  Our regional producer had a very competitive bid, and I am disappointed that the Air Force did not select our home-grown, innovative solution to their needs.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith congratulated CWO2 (Ret.) Christopher Navarre, Sr., on his distinguished service in the U.S. Army and on approval of his much-delayed Army Commendation Medal.  Navarre had previously discovered an unprocessed write-up for the Army Commendation Medal / Citation for his service in Korea.  He brought the write-up to Smith’s office, and Smith was able to drive the award process to a successful conclusion.  Smith presented Navarre with the award on January 24, 2008.

“Mr. Navarre is a fantastic example of distinguished military service to our country and I was honored to have helped him obtain these important awards.  A veteran of five World War II battles and three Korean War engagements, he put his life on the line for his country, and we are very grateful,” Smith said.

Navarre is a distinguished veteran of World War II and Korea.  His awards include:

  • The Silver Star
  • The Purple Heart
  • The Presidential Unit Citation
  • The Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor
  • Military Order of World Wars,
  • Patrick Henry Silver Medallion
  • 14 additional medals and citations

Smith was joined at the ceremony by Colonel Anthony Cruz, commander of the 6th Military Police Group (CID).  The 6th Military Police Group (CID) is the community connector unit for the city of DuPont, working to increase interaction and understanding between the U.S. military and its local communities.  After comments by Smith and Cruz, Cruz requested the orders be published.  This allowed Smith to finally present Navarre with the commendation.

The master of ceremonies at Navarre’s award presentation, Master Sergeant Teddy Compton, called him “a priceless asset to the United States Army and his country.”

Navarre Award Presentation

Cruz, Navarre, and Smith at the award presentation ceremony.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today announced that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his Global Poverty Act, paving the way for its consideration by the full Senate.  Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden and Ranking Member Richard Lugar signed on as cosponsors, joining original Senate sponsors Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, and Maria Cantwell.

“Global poverty is one of the greatest moral and security challenges facing the world today. Nearly 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day and close to a billion live on less than $1 a day.  This bill represents a major advance in our effort to address global poverty.  After introducing this measure in the House for the past several years, I am pleased to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee take significant steps toward its final passage,” Smith said.

The Global Poverty Act:

  • Declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015.
  • Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out that policy.
    Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid, trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community, businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability.
  • Requires that the President’s strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables.
  • Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

Smith, along with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), introduced the Global Poverty Act of 2007 in the House of Representatives on March 1, 2007.  The bill passed easily in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote on September 25, 2007.  The bill was introduced in the Senate on December 10, 2007.  Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the bill, clearing the way for its consideration by the full Senate. 

Video of Smith’s September 25, 2007 speech in favor of the Global Poverty Act can be found at http://www.house.gov/list/press/wa09_smith/morenews/globalpovertypass.html

Smith first introduced the Global Poverty Act in 2005. 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement following his ‘no’ vote on the stimulus package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday:

“While it is easy to understand the appeal of Congress and the President passing out over $150 Billion to the American people, our economy needs more than another short-term, quick fix approach that could come at the expense of more important long-term, structural, public policy changes. 

“A stimulus to head off a recession can be a good idea, but economists are split on whether or not now is one of those times, and even if it is, the stimulus must be properly targeted to get the money in the hands of people who will spend it immediately.  Unfortunately, the House did not include the two quickest and best-targeted levers for stimulus: extended unemployment benefits and temporary food stamp increases. 

“I am also concerned with the possibility that this legislation will become loaded with extraneous provisions in the Senate that do not have an immediate stimulus effect. 

“The $150 billion price tag of this legislation will just add to our current fiscal problems, including our mountainous $9 trillion debt and the impending retirement of our nation’s baby boomers.  Time and again, we’ve used a philosophy similar to the one pushing this stimulus package—spending money now will help us now, so let’s do it and not worry about the future. 

“Instead, to compete in new global market place, we must make several long term changes, including a more affordable health care system; a far better and more adaptable education and skills training policy; greater investment in innovation; a better trade policy that recognizes the importance of worker’s rights and environmental protections; and significant improvements to the infrastructure of our country—roads, bridges, energy sources, and access to broadband to name just a few.

“The federal government must also be fiscally sound and have the money necessary to make these long term changes.  That means we need to confront the ballooning costs of entitlement programs, get a tax code that people can understand, reduce health care inflation, and eventually come up with a foreign policy that gets us out of our current situation where we have to have a defense budget roughly equal to that of every other country in the world combined.

“None of this gets any easier if we dig our financial hole another $150 billion deeper for a short-term “fix” for our economic woes that is not well-targeted or well-timed.”