Press Releases

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.) yesterday voted for H.R. 3093, the fiscal year 2008 Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.  The bill includes provisions that restore needed funds for violent crime prevention and community development.  The legislation also addresses the abuse of national security letters by the FBI.

“This bill restores important funds for local law enforcement to address the growing violent crime epidemic and to relieve the increasing pressure being put on our local law enforcement agencies.  We also fund key initiatives to help small businesses compete in the global marketplace,” Smith said.

“I am especially pleased to have been able to obtain $950,000 for the Washington State Meth Initiative to help fight methamphetamine use in our state,” Smith added.

H.R. 3093 provides $3.2 billion for State and Local Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention Grants, 53 percent more than the President requested.  These programs were cut by $1.9 billion from 2001 to 2006.  In 2006, the FBI reported that violent crime increased in 2005 and 2006.  These funds include restored investment in programs to support local law enforcement, hire new police officers, and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence.

The bill also includes $831.2 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology Research to promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness.  These funds will support technology development, help smaller U.S. manufacturers compete in international markets, and help pay for the construction of research facilities.

H.R. 3093 also included language prohibiting the use of national security letters in contravention of the law.  A recent report by the FBI’s Inspector General identified FBI abuses of its authority to review customer records of suspected foreign agents.  The letters were inappropriately used to avoid regular procedures for obtaining access to these records.

Smith announced that the following projects that will benefit the Ninth District of Washington also received funds:

  • $1.1 million for an upgraded shared Automated Finger Imaging System (AFIS) for Pierce County, WA Sheriff’s Office and the City of Tacoma.
  • $950,000 for the Washington State Meth Initiative
  • $250,000 for the Nisqually Tribe of Washington’s Youth Justice Center
  • $250,000 for the Rainier Communications Commission for the acquisition of wireless routers to enable the pilot testing of a regional backup communications network for public safety and emergency response purposes, facilitating more effective emergency communications across Pierce County.
     

 

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.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) tonight voted for H.R. 3474, the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008.  The bill passed the House of Representatives tonight by a vote of 268 to 153.

The bill provides more than $107 billion for transportation infrastructure investments which are critical to economic development and growth.  The President has threatened to veto the legislation because House Democrats rejected several cuts to national infrastructure investments proposed by the Administration.  Funding restored by Democrats included mass transit, Amtrak, and community development programs. 

“Maintaining America’s aging highway and transportation systems is a vital component of our economic development.  The President’s cuts would impede the movement of goods and services which ultimately increases the cost of doing business in the United States.  I am pleased House Democrats restored these needed funds and voted to keep our economy going strong,” Smith said.

Also included in the bill were funds for projects in the Ninth District of Washington:

  • $14.076 million for Pacific Highway South Bus Rapid Transit between Sound Transit's Light Rail Station at 154th Street (north of SeaTac Airport) and the Federal Way Transit Center (near SeaTac Mall).  Once complete, travel time saved between the locations could be reduced between 12 and 15 minutes compared to current conditions.  This project is one of only four projects nationwide for which the Federal Transit Administration recommended funding under the Very Small Starts program in its 2008 New Starts Report to Congress.  
  • $500,000 to provide additional on and off access from I-5 in Federal Way, WA at SR-161/S 356th Street, alleviating safety and congestion issues.
  • $150,000 for the Bethel School District to provide a community center in unincorporated Pierce County that will support seniors, family and youth.
    The bill must now be passed by the Senate and signed by the President before it can become law.