Press Releases

The 4th of July is more than an opportunity for family and friends to come together, it is a chance to reflect on our country’s proud history and honor the ideals and principals on which it stands. Now, more than ever, it is important for all of us to remember the principals that unite us. In the months ahead our county will engage in a spirited debate about how we can address some of our most pressing problems – such as fixing our healthcare system, protecting our environment and creating new sources of energy and the strategy for our conflicts abroad. People will differ on how we should address these problems – sometimes greatly and passionately - but we must remember that we all have our country’s best interest at heart.

So, this weekend enjoy the company of close friends and family, but also take a moment to reflect on the things bind all Americans together – freedom, justice and the pursuit of liberty.

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) voted in support of H.R. 2996, the 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill, which funds the Department of the Interior, crucial environmental programs and related agencies.

“This bill provides essential funding for the Department of Interior and other related agencies, such as the EPA, to help communities improve their water systems, address pollution, and protect wildlife and ecosystems.” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “Protecting our environment and national lands is essential to preserving our country’s resources for future generations. I am pleased to see that it has once again become a priority in Congress.”

The bill provides funding for projects and programs in the 9th Congressional District requested by Congressman Smith including:

  • $4,000,000 for the University of Washington’s Puget Sound Ecosystem Research Initiative.  This research will help support the restoration work of the Puget Sound Partnership and will be based in Tacoma.
  • $500,000 for the City of Lacey’s Reclaimed Water Project. This will support the infrastructure needed to allow additional water use by Lacey, Olympia, Yelm, and the Nisqually Tribe.     
The 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill is one of 12 annual appropriations bills that fund Federal Government programs and services.  For a full summary of the bill visit the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed in to law.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act:

“Our nation’s current energy policy is outdated, inefficient and relies far too much on foreign oil. This undermines our national security and leaves us at the mercy of gas and oil prices, which can change dramatically in short periods of time. This is unacceptable, and Americans deserve better. We must establish energy policies that protect consumers, reduce our carbon footprint and free us from the tyranny of foreign oil.

“The dramatic increase in gas prices last summer demonstrated the urgent need to reform our energy policies. The sudden spike in oil prices had a devastating effect on our economy and essentially levied a steep energy tax on Americans at a time when they could least afford it.  

“We must take advantage of this situation to transform our economy and create the jobs needed to compete globally in the future.  We need stronger efficiencies and smarter policies in order to keep our energy prices reasonable.  Our current energy policy is a large tax on Americans in the form of extreme oil costs and it must change. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. The bill is a cautious approach, one that strikes a balance between moving our economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating the economic impact of this transition.

“This bill will also help to unleash the power of our entrepreneurs to invest in clean energy sources, create jobs, and move us toward energy independence. It will help reduce pollution and keep our energy costs at a reasonable level.  The bill reduces dangerous pollution by limiting emissions from major sources such as electric utilities, oil refineries, and coal fired plants.  The legislation protects and creates jobs now, and bolsters American competitiveness in global energy markets – where countries like China, Germany and Spain are already investing heavily.  

“The cost to consumers of our current energy policy is simply too great to ignore. If we do not increase efficiency and create alternative sources of energy the people of our country will always be at the mercy of the price of oil. Global demand for oil in growing economies like India and China will continue to cause the price of oil to increase. This bill gives us a chance to break this cycle and provide consumers with alternatives that will put us on a path to a better energy future, one where consumers do not have to simply absorb sudden and massive increases in the cost of oil.

“While this bill is a dramatic improvement from our current energy policy, it is not perfect – and it is not finished. In the weeks ahead the Senate will take up its version of the bill and then work together with the House to address the differences between the two versions.  As this process moves forward, I will work closely with my colleagues to ensure we craft the best possible energy policy that addresses the needs of all Americans.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted in support of legislation today that will allow disabled military retirees to concurrently receive both their retired pay from the Department of Defense (DoD) and their disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  H.R. 2990, the Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009, passed the House today by a vote of 404-0.

“Our veterans have dedicated their lives to our country, and they deserve to receive the benefits they have earned,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “While this is a step in the right direction, we must go further.  Expanding concurrent receipt to all military retirees remains a priority for me in Congress.  In the months ahead, I will continue working with my colleagues to achieve this goal.”

This legislation temporarily allows Chapter 61 retirees who are rated 100% disabled, 100% disabled by reason of being unemployable, or 90% disabled to receive full concurrent receipt of their DoD and VA benefits from January 1, 2010 until September 30, 2010.

Due to required budget offsets, finding funds to permanently expand concurrent receipt to all military retirees has been extremely difficult.  However, this bill contains the framework to extend the eligibility period and expand eligibility to those Chapter 61 retirees with a disability rating of less than 90% in the future.  Congress will utilize this framework to work toward a permanent solution in the months ahead.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President
Smith Support Investments to Improve Homeland Security

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted in support of the Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which includes funding for critical border, transit and port security, as well as aid for first responders.  

“These funds are vitally important to securing our borders and protecting our critical infrastructure here at home,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “These funds will not only help secure our country against those who seek to do us harm, but they will also ensure that our first responders have the resources and tools to respond should an emergency occur.”

Some key provisions of the bill include:

Northern Border Security:

  • Increased Investment in Surveillance Systems: The bill supports ongoing efforts to secure the 4,000 miles of the sparsely populated, often remote Northern Border. It also provides $40 million to continue investments in mobile and remote video surveillance systems along the U.S.-Canada border.

Port Security:

  • Port Security Grants:  Provides $250 million for port security grants to help U.S. ports meet the security requirements established by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.
  • Developing Systems for the Screening of Cargo Containers:  Provides $804 million for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Offices to develop new and improved systems to screen cargo containers for weapons and nuclear materials.  
  • Overseas Cargo Container Security:  Provides $162 million to continue implementation of its efforts to strengthen operations at overseas ports to monitor and target cargo containers, and to develop better technology to accomplish this mission.      

Rail and Transit Security

  • Rail and Transit Security Grants:  Provides $250 million for rail and transit security grants to protect critical transit infrastructure, including rail and ferry systems, in high-threat areas.

First Responder Grants

  • State Homeland Security Grants:  Provides $950 million for State Homeland Security grants to help meet the needs of state and local first responders, including hiring, training and equipping emergency personnel to respond to terrorist attacks and catastrophic incidents.   
  • Firefighter Assistance Grants:  Provides $380 million in grants to fund equipment for firefighters.

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill is one of 12 annual appropriations bills that fund Federal Government programs and services.  For a full summary of the Homeland Security Appropriations bill visit the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed in to law.