Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

“It is clear that our financial system is in dire need of reform. The serious abuses that have come to light in the last few years are of great concern and we must change how Wall Street does business. Today, Congress passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - a strong step forward in reforming our financial regulatory systems.

“The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act provides significant protections for the American consumer and gives federal regulators the tools they need to reign in the irresponsible actions by Wall Street that did so much damage to our economy. The legislation establishes a new independent watchdog with the authority to ensure American consumers are offered safe, non-predatory products when they shop for mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and other financial products.

“The bill reforms the mortgage lending industry by eliminating many of the abusive practices that helped lead to the recent massive spike in foreclosures. Additionally, for the first time this legislation also limits some of the riskiest activities of banks and regulates the multitrillion-dollar market of over-the-counter derivatives. These are key reforms.

“Assessing the impact of institutions on our financial markets as a whole is a crucial piece of the needed reforms.  This legislation creates a council of regulators to watch for systemic risks, authorizes regulators to impose restrictions on large, troubled financial companies and creates a process for the government to liquidate failing companies and banks at no cost to taxpayers.

“The irresponsible behavior in our financial markets inflicted serious pain on the American people, costing millions their jobs, incomes, savings, investments and homes. This is unacceptable and the system must be reformed. It is vitally important that we have a strong financial system which can spur economic growth, jobs and American ingenuity. It is also equally important that we ensure transparency and accountability within that system to prevent the abuses that severely damaged our financial system and brought our economy to its knees. The legislation passed by Congress today is a strong step forward toward achieving these goals. “

###
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of legislation that will fix a projected 21% increase in Medicare physician payments:

“Last night the House passed a six-month fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to calculate payments to physicians through Medicare.  Without the fix, the formula called for a 21 per cent cut to physician pay for this year, effective June 1.  I was disappointed that Congress was unable to work together to solve this problem by the June 1st deadline and prevent uncertainty and frustration for Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians.  Thankfully, the bill passed last night will reverse these cuts and increase Medicare physician payments by 2.2 per cent through November 30, 2010.

“While I am pleased that the short-term solution passed will give Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians a small amount of certainty for the next few months, it is not enough.  Congress needs to find a permanent solution to the SGR problem so that physicians and patients are not faced with pending massive cuts every few months.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to address this issue and am hopeful that in the weeks and months ahead, we will find a permanent, paid for solution to this issue.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in response to House passage of legislation designed to impose tough economic sanctions against Iran:

“Today, Congress provided President Obama with additional tools to pressure Iran to cease its efforts to build nuclear weapons.  A nuclear armed Iran would destabilize the Middle East and pose a grave threat to the United States, our allies, and particularly Israel.  This scenario is unacceptable.  

“We cannot allow Iran to continue to act in a way that threatens the international community and its neighbors in the region.  This legislation builds on the recent U.N. Security Council Resolution and will help forcefully pressure Iran to meet its international obligations.

“In concert with the international community, it is critical that the United States continues to pursue both diplomatic and economic avenues to hold Iran accountable.  While there is more diplomatic work to be done, the bill passed by Congress today is another way to increase economic pressure on Iran to change its behavior.”

###


This week, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted in support of important legislation designed to make it easier for small businesses to succeed and create jobs in our communities. Together, the Small Business Lending Fund Act and the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act, will address the lack of access to credit and remove some of the restrictive tax obstacles impeding small business growth.

"Small businesses are the foundation of our economy – generating approximately 65% of new jobs over the last 15 years and employing our families, neighbors, and friends,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Our nation’s long term economic stability relies on small businesses and we must continue to enact legislation and remove government barriers to help them grow.”

The Small Business Lending Fund Act will create a $30 billion lending fund to help small businesses expand through investments in states and small banks that focus on lending to local small businesses.  The bill will also help cultivate American innovation through a new public-private partnership designed to channel early stage investment capital to promising new start-ups.

To further ensure small businesses have every opportunity to succeed, the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act will help businesses expand and create new jobs through a 100% exclusion of small business capital gains; small business penalty relief; and increased deductions for start-up expenditures.

These two bills, which are fully paid for, will now move together as one for consideration by the U.S. Senate.
Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding the upcoming Memorial Day weekend:

“As Americans across the country gather with friends and family to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, we should all honor the sacrifice and service of the men and women in our armed forces. Far from the safe harbor of America’s shores, thousands of men and women have put aside their own safety to ensure ours. We owe them our deepest gratitude and respect.

“Holidays like Memorial Day provide us with an opportunity to come together as a nation and reflect on the ideals and values that unite us. As intense debates continue to swirl around a wide range of issues of national importance, the principles that bind us can sometimes be lost. So this weekend, let us all reflect on one thing I know we all can agree upon: the men and women of our armed services do a tremendous job keeping us safe and defending our nation. They are true patriots and serve as a source of pride for a grateful nation.”

###