Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today applauded House passage of a bill to expand and improve the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program in defiance of a White House veto threat.   H.R. 3920, the Trade and Globalization Assistance Act of 2007, extends TAA to service industry workers; improves access to training, health care, and wage insurance benefits; creates a program to address community needs; and reauthorizes TAA programs through fiscal year 2012. 

The bill passed by the House today closely mirrors a bill Smith introduced on October 10, 2007.  Smith was an original cosponsor of H.R. 3920 and worked closely with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) to shape it.  Smith introduced similar legislation in the 108th and 109th Congresses. 

H.R. 3920 passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 264 to 157. 

“When our workers lose jobs because of our trade policies, we have an obligation to help them get back on their feet.  The TAA program as it exists today is out of date, and this bill will modernize it to get more Americans – including service workers like software engineers and call center employees – the help they need to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” Smith said.

Video of Smith’s statement in support of the bill can be found at http://www.house.gov/adamsmith.

Congress created the TAA program in 1962 in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans and to promote American competitiveness.  TAA benefits have several components: training assistance, income support while in training, and interim health care support.  The program assists workers dislocated due to government policies that eliminated tariffs and other barriers to trade.  However, under current law, the program extends coverage only to workers in manufacturing and agricultural sectors, even though service-sector jobs also are increasingly moving overseas. 

The Trade and Globalization Assistance Act of 2007:

  • Extends TAA benefits to service sector employees (including IT workers, engineers, customer services employees, and others) and to more manufacturing workers.
  • Doubles the current training funding cap from $220 million to $440 million for fiscal year 2008, and increases it to $660 million by 2010. 
  • Increases TAA’s healthcare premium subsidy from the current 65 percent to 85 percent.
  • Simplifies application process by authorizing Secretary of Labor to certify groups of workers as eligible for TAA on an industry-wide basis rather than on a plant-by-plant basis as in current law.
  • Provides incentives to states to improve unemployment insurance coverage for low-income, part-time, and other workers.
     

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to the President’s request for an additional $46 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Yesterday’s request brings the amount sought by the President for fiscal year 2008 war spending to $196.4 billion.

“President Bush requested a total of $196.4 billion for next year, mostly to continue our Iraq occupation, which is now in its fifth year.  The President has yet to provide a real plan to end our occupation, stop the flow of resources into a multisided sectarian civil war, and refocus on the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the world.  And yet, he wants Congress to provide almost $200 billion to continue down a path that undermines our security and gives extremists a rallying point.

“President Bush is fighting Congressional efforts to provide funds for our veterans, health care for children, and infrastructure improvements here at home on the basis that we cannot afford them.  But this request dwarfs the price tag of those essential priorities, and it highlights the enormous cost of the President’s policies in Iraq.

“Our occupation will continue until we begin to end it.  It is long past time for a new direction in Iraq.  We must begin to redeploy our troops and end the occupation so we can refocus on the fight to stop the spread of terrorism around the world.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) announced today a November 1, 2007 deadline for applications for nominations from his office to a U.S. military academy.

“It is an honor for me to be able to nominate outstanding young men and women each year to the U.S. military academies.  The academies provide an excellent education and an exceptional opportunity to serve our country,” Smith said.

Smith may make nominations to four military academies:

  • the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York
  • the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York; and
  • the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut does not require a nomination; however, qualified applicants can request a letter of recommendation from Smith’s office.

Who may apply: To apply for an appointment, a candidate must live in Washington’s Ninth Congressional District be between 17 and 23 years old and be unmarried. Applicants whose parents are temporarily stationed at a military base but maintain legal residence in another state should apply to the congressional office from that district.

How to apply: Applicants should contact their Member of Congress and both Senators and apply to each office.

For further information, visit Smith’s website at www.house.gov/adamsmith or contact Rebecca Snyder in Smith’s office at (253) 896-3775 or toll-free (888) 764-8409.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted to overcome the President’s misguided veto of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act, legislation that would provide health care coverage to more than 10 million low-income children.  The vote to override the President required a two-thirds majority and failed by a vote of 273 to 156.

 “The President’s veto and the protection afforded it by House Republicans harmed Washington state in particular.  Had the bill become law, Washington state would have been able to keep and use its full federal allocation for SCHIP to cover our children,” Smith said.

SCHIP was created in 1997 to help families get medical care when they made too much money to get Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance.  The bill vetoed by the President would have provided states resources needed for outreach to enroll additional families that are currently eligible for the program. 

The bill reflected a compromise between the House and the Senate and had broad bipartisan support.  It included language to allow Washington state to keep and use its full federal allocation for SCHIP.  When SCHIP was first implemented, Washington state already covered SCHIP-eligible children under our state’s Medicaid program and could not use the full federal allotment given to many other states.  This bill would have allowed Washington state to keep and utilize these needed funds to ensure children get health coverage.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) yesterday introduced a bill to expand and improve the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.  H.R. 3801, the TAA Improvement Act, extends TAA to service industry workers; improves access to training, health care, and wage insurance benefits; creates a program to address community needs; and reauthorizes TAA programs through fiscal year 2012.

“The economy has changed in a thousand different ways since the TAA program was first implemented, and the government has not responded sufficiently to help workers.  My bill will extend TAA to service-sector employees, improve accessibility of TAA’s various benefits, and help communities impacted by trade,” Smith said.

Congress created the TAA program in 1962 in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans and to promote American competitiveness.  TAA benefits have several components: training assistance, income support while in training, and job search and relocation assistance.  The program assists workers dislocated due to government policies that eliminated tariffs and other barriers to trade.  However, under current law, the program extends coverage only to workers in manufacturing and agricultural sectors, even though service-sector jobs also are increasingly moving overseas. 

The TAA Improvement Act:

  • Extends TAA benefits to service sector employees including IT workers, engineers, customer services employees, and others.
  • Doubles the current training funding cap from $220 million to $440 million, and builds in a mechanism for increasing the cap in future years to ensure that benefits are accessible for all eligible workers.
  • Increases TAA’s healthcare premium subsidy from the current 65 percent to 85 percent.
  • Simplifies application process by authorizing Secretary of Labor to certify groups of workers as eligible for TAA on an industry-wide basis rather than on a plant-by-plant basis as in current law.
  • Establishes a “TAA for Communities” program to assist communities heavily impacted by trade-related displacement.

Smith introduced similar legislation in the 108th and 109th Congresses.  The bill is similar to Senator Max Baucus’s (D-Mont.) S. 1848.