Press Releases

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.

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.) today issued the following statement following House passage of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act of 2007.  The bill reauthorizes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and provides health insurance to 11 million eligible children.  Smith voted for the legislation, which passed by a vote of 225 to 204.

“Washington State has been a leader on providing quality health care for low income children.  Unfortunately, under the current federal rules regarding SCHIP, our state lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.  The bill we passed today will ensure that our state gets its fair share of federal funds so we can reach out to more eligible families and dramatically increase coverage of previously uninsured children.

“While I am disappointed with the cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA), which has given 20 percent of the seniors in my district an alternative to traditional Medicare, the permanent 100 percent fix for SCHIP and several other positive provisions made it a huge win for Washington State.  I hope that we can address the cuts to the MA program in conference.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Democratic leadership to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”