Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) announced legislation that will improve health care while reducing costs.  

The Medicare and Medicaid Access Project through Information Technology will create a demonstration project using health information technology to manage chronic disease for Medicare and Medicaid patients.  

“To provide quality, affordable healthcare we must control costs and provide a method for chronic disease patients and doctors to more effectively coordinate care and manage medical information,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Approximately 50% of individuals with chronic conditions do not follow their prescribed treatments to manage their disease, accounting for nearly 75 percent of our health care costs. By utilizing new technologies – as this project does – we can increase the efficiency of our healthcare system, improve the quality of care for Medicare and Medicaid patients and decrease costs to states and the federal government.”

The legislation calls for at least four demonstration projects that will give doctors, and caregivers tools to improve management of chronic disease patients’ medical records and provide patients the ability to track their own health information.  Using the virtual case management tool, doctors and caregivers will have access to complete information about the patient’s current treatment and health status.  Evaluations will follow the two-year demonstrations to determine how much money the project saved.

“There is no question we need to lower health care costs in our country, and this project can do so without jeopardizing patient care,” Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.  “Chronic disease management is one of the major cost drivers for Medicare and Medicaid, forcing states and the federal government to cut services and reimbursements for doctors.  By using technology to manage those diseases, we can improve health care for patients and lower costs.”
Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) announced more than $8 million in grants to fund the hiring and rehiring of local law enforcement officers under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  

“These funds provide much needed support to our local law enforcement agencies to help add and retain the manpower needed to fight crime more effectively and keep our communities safe,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Ensuring that 9th District and Washington state continue to be a safe place for people to work and raise a family is a top priority of mine and I will continue to work to provide our local law enforcement agencies with the support and resources they need.”

The grants will be administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through the federal agency’s COPS Hiring Recovery Program, and will be awarded to 1046 law enforcement agencies from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Communities in the 9th Congressional District and the surrounding area will receive more than $8 million, enough to hire and train 29 police offices for three years.

Break down of local funding awarded:

•    Auburn: $1,290,880 awarded to hire 5 officers;
•    Des Moines: $587,896 awarded to hire 2 officers;
•    Fife: $263,563 awarded to hire 1 officer;
•    Kent: $572,374 awarded to hire 2 officers;
•    Lakewood: $784,534 awarded to hire 3 officers;
•    Nisqually Indian Tribe: $153,090 awarded to hire 1 officer;
•    Renton: $1,644,972 awarded to hire 6 officers;
•    Sumner: $321,401 awarded to hire 1 officer;
•    Tacoma: $1,595,375 awarded to hire 5 officers;
•    Tukwila: $928,308 awarded to hire 3 officers;

The grants will provide 100 percent of the approved salary and benefits for entry level officer positions over a three year period.  Police departments receiving the grants will then be required to retain the grant funded positions for a fourth year.  

For more information about the grants please visit

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced the Military Family Leave Act of 2009, a bill that will provide military families with the ability to spend quality time with their deployed or deploying loved ones. Specifically, this legislation would provide two weeks of unpaid leave to the spouse, children, or parents of a member of the military who receives notification of deployment or is currently deployed.

“As a member of Congress who represents thousands of military personnel and their families, I see the stress deployment can put on a family,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Military families make a tremendous sacrifice for our country and they should not have to be concerned about how their employer will respond if a loved one is deployed. This bill relieves some of that stress by ensuring family members have adequate time away from work to spend time with their deployed or deploying loved one, allowing them ample time to handle issues that arise over the course of a deployment.”

While the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act added a provision to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allowing military families to take time off for a number of reasons connected with a deployment, not all employees are eligible under current law. The Military Family Leave Act of 2009 seeks to ensure that all military families have the ability to take two-weeks of unpaid leave in response to an upcoming or current deployment of a loved one.

Senator Ron Wyden recently introduced similar legislation in the Senate.
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted to bolster funding to improve education, social services and health care for the American people. Locally, Smith was also able to secure funding for a variety of important projects and programs that will enhance Washingtonstate’s educational and health care systems as well as job training programs.

“In this slow economy, funding health care, education and housing is vitally important. People are struggling and these funds are more important now than ever before,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “This bill supports a number of local initiatives and programs that will improve our state’s educational system, health care and train our workforce for the jobs of the future.”

The Labor, Health and Education Appropriations Act shores up programs that serve as crucial social safety nets for many Americans struggling in this recession. It includes funding to provide jobs, meals and other support services to impoverished seniors, as well as critical energy assistance programs. The bill also funds grants that allow states to provide health care to more of their uninsured residents.  

The bill provides funding for projects and programs requested by Congressman Smith including:

  • $250,000 for the Competitive Supply Chain Management Workforce. This project will help fund a program to conduct local outreach and training for the trade, transportation, and logistics industry and workforce, as well as help build the infrastructure to support employers and workers in these fields.
  • $115,000 for the Rural Safety-net Provider Access Network (SPAN). This project will identify and implement efficiencies among rural health care providers for care coordination, reduce inappropriate emergency room use and unnecessary repeat primary care visits, maximize efficient use of existing health capacity, and facilitate regional approaches for quality improvements.
  • $750,000 for Aviation High School. The funding will be used for the acquisition of laboratory equipment to support Aviation High School’s innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
  • $325,000 for Washington Center for Undergraduate Education's Curriculum for the Bioregion Initiative at Evergreen State College.   Funding will support the Curriculum for the Bioregion Initiative to help educate hundreds of undergraduates in the Puget Sound region in the fields of environmental sustainability and stewardship.
  • $400,000 for the Tacoma College Success Foundation.  This funding will help establish an independent Tacoma College Success Foundation with the primary goal of doubling the number of Tacoma low-income students enrolling in college.

The Labor, Health and Education Appropriations Act 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 be passed by the Senate before the President can sign it into law.

Washington State Congressmen Adam Smith and (WA-09) and Dave Reichert (WA-08) introduced legislation, the Earmark Transparency and Accountability Reform Act (H.R. 3268), to reform the broken earmark system in Congress that has wasted taxpayer dollars and been abused for personal gain. This bipartisan effort, led by two members of Washington State’s congressional delegation, would set standards for accountability and transparency through more stringent measures as the earmarks are vetted through the Congressional budget process.

“Transparency ensures accountability,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “While many congressional earmarked projects – when vetted correctly and thoroughly – make positive and needed investments in our communities, some groups have found ways to manipulate the system in their favor. This must end and that is why I joined Congressman Reichert in introducing this legislation. We must continue to work to reform and bring transparency to the earmark process. This bill does just that.”

“Congress’ action to reform earmarks simply hasn’t gone far enough, and that is why we have taken the lead to reform the system with the best ideas from both sides,” said Reichert. “We are holding ourselves to these high standards and encouraging Congress to adopt them, bringing much-needed accountability to the entire process. Member projects or “earmarks” play an important role in our communities when they put federal dollars to good use, whether it’s to rebuild a road, or assist a hospital with a new project to save lives, but they must be done in a way that is accountable, transparent, that protects the taxpayer, and through a system the public can trust.”

Provisions in the bill to reform the system include:
  • Brings unprecedented transparency by requiring that any bill with an earmark be available online for review at least 72 hours before the legislation is brought to the House floor, all earmark requests be posted online for public review on the House Clerk’s website, and all earmark language must be incorporated into the text of the bill;
  • Enacts line item veto authority for earmarked bills;
  • Establishes a regular audit process for federally funded projects;
  • Requires disclosure of money spent by private groups lobbying on behalf of earmarks; and,
  • Prohibits earmarks from being slipped into bills after House/Senate passage.