Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives passed an energy package on Saturday that will make our nation more secure, create new American jobs, reduce energy costs to consumers, and fight global warming. 

“We face serious security and environmental challenges that are tied to our dependence on oil and on foreign oil in particular.  These bills will help protect the environment, promote alternative energy sources grown right here in the United States, and help end our dependence on foreign oil supplies,” Smith said. 

H.R. 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, passed by a vote of 241-172. 

H.R. 2776, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007, passed by a vote of 221 to 189.

Taken together, the bills approved by the House will:

  • Help reduce our dependence on foreign oil;
  • Make the largest investment in biofuels in history;
  • Repeal $23 billion in tax subsidies and royalty relief provisions for big oil companies;
  • Close loopholes that offer incentives for business to purchase gas-guzzling vehicles;
  • Support cutting edge-research and the development of new energy technologies;
  • Reduce emissions by as much as 10.4 billion tons through 2030 -- more than the annual emissions of all of the cars on the road in America today; and 
  • Call on the U.S. to re-engage and lead the global effort on a binding global warming agreement.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement on Saturday regarding S. 1927, a bill that included changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act regarding warrantless wiretapping and other surveillance.  Smith voted against the measure which would threaten Americans’ Constitutional right to privacy.  The bill passed by a vote of 227 to 183.

“Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Admiral Mike McConnell informed Congress of a critical collection gap in our electronic surveillance capabilities allowed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  On Friday I voted for a bill to close that gap and make sure intelligence agencies have all of the tools they need to secure our country while protecting Americans’ constitutional right to privacy.

“Unfortunately, the President threatened to veto an approach that would have safeguarded our homeland and our Constitution.  Following the President’s threat, the bill did not pass.

“On Saturday, the House took up a much broader Senate-passed version that would give the President and Attorney General authority to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans without meaningful judicial oversight.  This surveillance could be conducted as long as the surveillance ‘concerns’ people ‘reasonably believed to be outside the United States.’  The loose language in this bill sets an unacceptably low bar for protecting the privacy rights of American citizens.

“I voted against this bill. We absolutely must take action to stop terrorist attacks, but we can do so without sacrificing our most basic Constitutional rights and liberties.  Congress should correct this overreach when the bill expires in six months.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted with a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to ensure our troops have the time at home they need. The Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act was approved by a vote of 229-194.

“Our local military families are under an enormous strain due to the length and number of deployments being required of them.  This bill will give them a chance to recover, reconnect, rest and train before they return to the battlefield,” Smith said. 

The legislation mandates minimum periods of rest and recuperation for units and members of regular and reserve components of our Armed Forces between deployments. The bill requires that units or members of a regular component of the Armed Forces be given an equivalent amount of time at home compared to the length of their deployment before returning to the theater.  National Guard and reservists would be home for three times the length of the deployments. 

The bill would allow the President to waive these requirements on an individual or unit-level basis if necessary to meet national security needs of the country, and would exempt special operations forces from the rest-time requirement.

The Administration’s failed policies in Iraq have depleted our military and put a tremendous strain on our troops. An estimated 250,000 soldiers in the Army and Marine Corps have served more than one tour in Iraq and each of the Army’s available active duty combat brigades served at least a 12-month tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. This spring, the Defense Secretary announced that all active duty Army soldiers would have their tours in Iraq extended from 12 to 15 months.

The legislation was backed by a bipartisan majority in Congress and was supported by Veterans for America and the Reserve Enlisted Association.

 

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.) today voted for H.R. 2272, the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science Act (COMPETES) Act, part of the House Democrats’ Innovation Agenda.  The bill passed by a vote of 367 to 57.

Smith and his colleagues in the New Democrat Coalition were instrumental in crafting the Agenda in the 109th Congress.

“It is absolutely essential that the U.S. maintain its competitive edge in the world market  This bill will help us take the strong, needed steps to get our children the education they need to be prepared for the modern economy,” Smith said. 

The bill authorizes funding for programs to create more qualified teachers in science and math fields and to support scientific research and innovation through the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

H.R. 2272 is based on the 2005 National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” which found that the U.S. must take immediate steps to keep its competitive edge in the world economy.  H.R. 2272 incorporated suggestions from the National Academies that would: 

  • Keep the National Science Foundation and the NIST research labs on a 10-year doubling path;
  • Create thousands of new teachers and provide current teachers with content and academic expertise in their area of teaching;
  • Expand programs to enhance the undergraduate education of the future science and engineering workforce;
  • Expand early career grant programs for outstanding young investigators at both the NSF
  • Foundation and the Department of Energy;
  • Strengthen interagency planning and coordination for research infrastructure and information technology;
  • Establish an Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy to recruit and hire the nation’s most talented scientists and engineers who will research and rapidly develop clean, revolutionary energy technologies to be pushed from the lab into the marketplace.

The legislation authorizes $22 billion over fiscal years 2008 – 2010 for research, education and other programs at the NSF; $2.65 billion for the research labs, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and other activities at the NIST, and $17 billion, over fiscal years 2008 to 2010, for programs at the DOE, including $150 million for K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational programs.

The Senate must now approve the conference report before it can be signed into law by the President.