Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding H.R. 1495, the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act.  The bill included a needed one-year extension of Section 214 authority, which allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accept and spend funds from non-federal public entities to expedite infrastructure improvement permit applications.  

“I am pleased that Congress passed a reauthorization of WRDA which included a one-year extension of Section 214.  I have advocated for the permanent extension of this provision for some time, which has provided an effective tool for municipalities and ports in Washington state to expedite the permitting process for improvements to our infrastructure.  I will continue to work for a permanent extension of Section 215 in the next reauthorization bill,” Smith said. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides permits for infrastructure improvements undertaken by local governments.  In many parts of the country, this process faces huge backlogs of permit applications.  To expedite the handling of these applications, the Corps is allowed to accept Section 214 funds from outside entities and hire additional workers to process the applications.  Local governments across the country, and particularly in Washington State, utilize the process spelled out in Section 214 to keep their permit applications moving. 

Smith had hoped for a permanent extension of Section 215, which, prior to this extension, was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2008.  The extension included in the WRDA reauthorization extends the Corps authority to accept and use these funds through 2009.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) announced that H.R. 1302, the Global Poverty Act, had been favorably reported by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 31, 2007.  The bill received broad bipartisan support within the committee and passed by a unanimous consent agreement.  H.R. 1302 codifies the reduction of global poverty as national policy and requires the Administration to create a strategy to support such a policy.  Smith sponsored the bill with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.).

“More than a billion people live in extreme poverty.  That situation is immoral and a recipe for instability.  We have committed to the goal of reducing poverty as a country in various forms, though various programs and organizations, but we are not making adequate progress due to a lack of a unified strategy.  This bill will lead to more accountability and to more effective efforts in the fight against global poverty,” Smith said.

H.R. 1302:

  • 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 bi-annually on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

Forty-one organizations have endorsed the legislation so far, including the ONE Campaign, the Borgen Project, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam America, RESULTS, and Bread for the World.

The bill must now be considered by the full House of Representatives. 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement following House passage of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act of 2007.  The bill reauthorizes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and provides health insurance to 11 million eligible children.  Smith voted for the legislation, which passed by a vote of 225 to 204.

“Washington State has been a leader on providing quality health care for low income children.  Unfortunately, under the current federal rules regarding SCHIP, our state lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.  The bill we passed today will ensure that our state gets its fair share of federal funds so we can reach out to more eligible families and dramatically increase coverage of previously uninsured children.

“While I am disappointed with the cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA), which has given 20 percent of the seniors in my district an alternative to traditional Medicare, the permanent 100 percent fix for SCHIP and several other positive provisions made it a huge win for Washington State.  I hope that we can address the cuts to the MA program in conference.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Democratic leadership to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted against final passage of H.R. 2419, the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act, which re-authorizes several major agricultural programs.  The Farm Bill affects the abundance and affordability of the U.S. food supply; the conservation of natural resources; future energy policy; and the provision of nutritious food for vulnerable Americans.  Smith voted against the bill because of its high cost and its adherence to outdated, unwise agriculture policies.  The bill passed by a vote of 231 to 191.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates H.R. 2419 will cost $286 billion over five years, and $614 billion over ten years.  The benefits are concentrated in the hands of a small group of farmers.  In addition, the trade-distorting programs in the bill will hinder the nation's ability to gain greater access to international markets.

“Americans deserve a farm policy that changes with the times to meet their needs.   Unfortunately, this Farm Bill clings to an outdated, wasteful subsidy system.  We must examine existing programs and subsidies and phase out those that are no longer useful to eliminate waste and ineffectiveness.  This legislation does not go nearly far enough to modernize our agricultural policies,” Smith said.

“I am particularly concerned that the market-distorting subsidies in this bill will undermine our efforts to expand international trade and create jobs in Washington State.  With one in three jobs in our State linked to trade, we can’t afford to take this step backwards.”

Smith supported an alternative amendment offered by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would have reformed the farmer safety net to benefit small farmers at lower cost while reallocating funds to nutrition, conservation, specialty crops such as apples and cherries from Washington State, and rural development.  Although this amendment did not pass, Smith will continue to push for fiscally responsible farm policies that ensure a nutritious and affordable food supply for all Americans.

The Senate has not yet passed its version of the legislation.  Once it does, differences between the two chambers must be worked out before it can be sent to the President, who must sign the legislation before it becomes law.  Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns indicated the President may veto the bill if certain reforms such as tighter payment limits and lower subsidies for some crops are not adopted.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted for the conference report for H.R. 1, a bill to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations.  The original version of the bill, passed on January 9, 2007, was the first legislation to pass under the new House Democratic leadership.  The final conference report for H.R. 1 passed the House today by a vote of 371 to 41.

“This bill increases security at our sea ports and airports.  It improves information sharing between federal and local governments, in addition to foreign countries, to protect our homeland.  It establishes a body to make sure civil liberties are protected.  I was pleased to help pass this legislation today,” Smith said.

“When the House passed the original version of this bill, I was concerned about the 100 percent air cargo and seaborne container screening requirements. I was pleased to see that the conference report includes provisions to delay these requirements should it be judged that adequate technology is not available or that the inspections regime adversely affects the flow of trade,” Smith added.

If enacted, the conference report for H.R. 1 includes provisions that would:

  • Require that all U.S.-bound cargo containers are screened before being loaded onto a U.S.-bound ship no later than July 1, 2012.  Allows the implementation to be delayed by two years at a time if scanning technology is not available or would significantly impact trade.
  • Require that 50 percent of cargo carried on passenger aircraft be screened within 18 months of enactment and 100 percent of cargo screen within 3 years.
  • Provide $250 million per year for enhanced screening of checked baggage at airports.
  • Provide $5.3 billion over 5 years to help high-risk urban areas prevent and respond to terrorism.
  • Provide $1.6 billion over five years for states to improve interoperability emergency communication.
  • Create a travel authorization system to collect information about individuals who seek to enter the U.S. under the visa-waiver program.
  • Establish the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as an independent agency. 

The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.