Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted for H.R. 1585, the fiscal year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.  The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 397 to 27.  Smith chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, which wrote the portion of the bill providing our special operations forces the tools and support they need to better fight al-Qaeda.

“The Defense Authorization passed today finally addresses one of the worst outcomes of the President’s failed Iraq policies:  the degradation of our military readiness.  Our bill begins to address the training and equipment shortfalls faced by our Armed Services by providing more than $1.25 billion beyond the President’s request for readiness needs,” Smith said.

Smith continued: “Our bill will also take better care of our service members and reservists.  This bill will increase their pay, improve health care and reduce bureaucratic obstacles for wounded troops, and provide more reintegration assistance to Guard and Reserve members returning to civilian life.  These changes are essential in light of the increased burden we ask our military families to bear on our behalf.”

“The Defense bill also brings more accountability to the Administration’s Iraq policy.  Congress will not simply take the President’s word that ‘we’re making progress.’  When this measure becomes law, the President will be required to submit detailed reports to Congress on progress – or the lack thereof – so that we can assess next steps for changing the direction in Iraq,” Smith said.

The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act includes provisions that: 

  • Authorize $13.6 billion for the Army and $8.4 billion for the Marine Corps to address equipment reset requirements, $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment from their unfunded requirements list and $250 million to address training shortfalls throughout the services;
  • Authorize two significant initiatives to improve readiness:  the Defense Readiness Production Board and the Strategic Readiness Fund, a $1 billion fund for critical readiness requirements identified by the Board;
  • Require detailed reports from commanders in Iraq on the situation on the ground and contingency plans should the current strategy be deemed unsustainable;
  • Provide $4.1 billion to purchase MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected) vehicles to protect our troops against the single greatest cause of U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq – improvised explosive devices;
  • Expand and strengthen counter-proliferation programs including the National Nuclear Security Administration nonproliferation programs and the Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program; 
  • Empower the National Guard with enhanced authorities to fulfill its expanded role in the nation’s defense;
  • Raise the military pay rate for all ranks by 3.5 percent;
  • Reject the President’s proposed fee increases for TRICARE; and
  • Establish a national program to provide better support National Guard and Reserve service members and their families as they reintegrate into civilian life.

On Fighting Terrorism:

“Our special operations forces lead the fight against terrorist groups in more than a dozen countries, and one of their most important missions is to establish relationships with local populations and prevent al-Qaeda from gaining a foothold in the first place.  This bill will finally provide needed emphasis on U.S. Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) vital indirect action work,” Smith said.

“Our bill supports the continued expansion of our special operations forces, encourages SOCOM and the Defense Department to better address unconventional threats such as terrorist networks, and improves the Department??s ability to harness technological innovation.”

The terrorism subcommittee’s $23.3 billion portion of the bill:

  • Fully funds the President’s request for SOCOM;
  • Funds or partially funds an additional five SOCOM priorities left unfunded in the President’s budget, including resources for advanced body armor and night vision equipment;
  • Gives proper weight to SOCOM’s indirect action work and prioritizes unconventional warfare as the top priority of SOCOM;
  • Requires SOCOM to present a plan to meet their unconventional warfare requirements and an annual report to Congress;
  • Authorizes additional funds for “irregular warfare support” research and development activities, with the aims of better understanding jihadi strategies, improving our understanding of various cultures where terrorists seek a foothold, and developing creative countermeasures to frustrate terrorist groups;
  • Establishes a demonstration program to help the Defense Department more rapidly and aggressively seek out cutting edge commercial information technologies and put them to use for our military; and
  • Fully funds DARPA and the Defense Department’s basic research accounts.

Internet Links to High-Resolution Photos*:
Smith speaks to reporters at a press conference announcing the passage of H.R. 1585:  http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/photos/hires_skeltonpresser3.jpg

Smith, along with U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), explains the terrorism provisions in H.R. 1585: http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/photos/hires_skeltonpresser4.jpg

* All photos provided courtesy of the Office of U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

More information on the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee can be found at http://www.house.gov/list/press/wa09_smith/morenews/chair.html

The bill must be approved by the Senate before the President can sign it into law.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted in favor of the revised Iraq Accountability Act, which passed the House of Representatives tonight by a vote of 221 to 205. 

“We need a new direction in Iraq.  The President has placed roughly 160,000 of our troops in a highly vulnerable position – refereeing a civil war – while the various factions in Iraq have not made adequate progress toward reconciliation.  The needed political reconciliation among these groups will not happen until we make it clear to the Iraqis that our occupation is coming to an end,” Smith said.

Immediately prior to the vote in favor of the Iraq Accountability Act, Smith voted for a measure to redeploy our service members even earlier – 9 months from the date of the bill’s enactment.  Both measures would allow for the redeployment of our troops to allow them to focus on missions vital to our national security such as counterterrorism operations.  Smith explained that his support for both measures stemmed from a continued concern that the Bush Administration’s failed policies in Iraq undermine our pursuit of al-Qaeda:

“We have every indication that al-Qaeda is resurgent in Pakistan, that Bin Laden finds himself stronger than ever, and that until we direct our full attention to stopping the spread of these terrorist networks, the threat they pose to the United States will continue to grow,” Smith said.

“Our current involvement in Iraq undermines our pursuit of al-Qaeda while giving extremists a rallying point.  We need a new direction in Iraq so that we can better fight the spread of the terrorists who threaten us,” Smith explained.

The revised Iraq Accountability Act:

  • Fully funds our Armed Services over the next two-three months while holding President Bush and the Iraqi government accountable.  The bill fences off $52.8 billion of the $95.5 billion provided to the Defense Department until released by subsequent legislation. To obtain the additional funds the President must submit a report to Congress by July 13 regarding the success of the Iraqi government in meeting security and political benchmarks.   Then, within 7 legislative days after receiving the report in July, both the House and Senate would vote on whether to release the remaining defense funds. 
  • Provides additional funds not requested by the President for additional military health care needs and for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
  • Funds improved military readiness.  
  • Provides $1.8 billion to meet veterans’ unmet health care needs.
     

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement on the bipartisan trade policy agreement reached late yesterday between Congress and the Administration.  The agreement paves the way forward for trade pacts including the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements.

“I have supported trade because of the economic benefits, but I have been concerned that we have not done enough to protect workers’ rights and the environment.  Chairman Rangel and others have done a good job hammering out a good template for trade that addresses both of these issues.  All parties to the negotiations should be commended for their patience and good-faith efforts to craft good trade policies,” Smith said.

Under the agreement, free trade agreements currently pending will be altered to include important Democratic priorities, including provisions that will:

  • Protect core labor standards;
  • Preserve the environment;
  • Speed the delivery of generic drugs;
  • Empower U.S. state and federal governments to use labor standards and acceptable work and wage conditions as criteria for the approval of procurement contracts;
  • Protect U.S. investors’ rights within the United States; and
  • Assist workers and communities who lose jobs due to trade and technology through education and other benefits.
     

Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) voted to support the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the fiscal year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.  Smith chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, which wrote the portion of the bill providing our special operations forces the tools and support they need to better fight al-Qaeda.

“The Defense Authorization offered by the Democrats today finally addresses one of worst outcomes of the President’s failed Iraq policies:  the degradation of our military readiness.  Our bill begins to address the training and equipment shortfalls faced by our Armed Services by providing more than $1.25 billion for readiness needs,” Smith said.

Smith continued: “Our bill would also take better care of our service members and reservists.  This bill will increase their pay, improve health care and reduce bureaucratic obstacles for wounded troops, and provide more reintegration assistance to Guard and Reserve members returning to civilian life.  These changes are essential in light of the increased burden we ask our military families to bear on our behalf.”

“The Defense bill also brings more accountability to the Administration’s Iraq policy.  Congress will not simply take the President’s word that ‘we’re making progress.’  When this measure becomes law, the President will be required to submit detailed reports to Congress on progress – or the lack thereof – so that we can assess next steps for changing the direction in Iraq,” Smith said.

The 2008 Defense Authorization bill includes provisions that: 

  • Authorize $13.6 billion for the Army and $8.4 billion for the Marine Corps to address equipment reset requirements, $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment from their unfunded requirements list and $250 million to address training shortfalls throughout the services;
  • Authorize two significant initiatives to improve readiness:  the Defense Readiness Production Board and the Strategic Readiness Fund, a $1 billion fund for critical readiness requirements identified by the Board;
  • Require detailed reports from commanders in Iraq on the situation on the ground and contingency plans should the current strategy be deemed unsustainable;
  • Provide $4.1 billion to purchase MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected) vehicles to protect our troops against the single greatest cause of U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq – improvised explosive devices;
  • Expand and strengthen counter-proliferation programs including the National Nuclear Security Administration nonproliferation programs and the Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program; 
  • Empower the National Guard with enhanced authorities to fulfill its expanded role in the nation’s defense;
  • Raise the military pay rate for all ranks by 3.5 percent;
  • Reject the President’s proposed fee increases for TRICARE; and
  • Establish a national program to provide better support National Guard and Reserve service members and their families as they reintegrate into civilian life.

On Smith’s Terrorism Subcommittee Markup

“Our special operations forces lead the fight against terrorist groups in more than a dozen countries, and one of their most important missions is to establish relationships with local populations and prevent al-Qaeda from gaining a foothold in the first place.  This bill will finally provide needed emphasis on SOCOM’s vital indirect action work,” Smith said.

“Our bill supports the continued expansion of our special operations forces, encourages SOCOM and the Defense Department to better address unconventional threats such as terrorist networks, and improves the Department’s ability to harness technological innovation.”

The terrorism subcommittee’s $23.3 billion portion of the bill:

  • Fully funds the President’s request for the Special Operations Command (SOCOM);
  • Funds or partially funds an additional five SOCOM priorities left unfunded in the President’s budget, including resources for advanced body armor and night vision equipment;
  • Gives proper weight to SOCOM’s indirect action work and prioritizes unconventional warfare as the top priority of SOCOM;
  • Requires SOCOM to present a plan to meet their unconventional warfare requirements and an annual report to Congress;
  • Authorizes additional funds for “irregular warfare support” research and development activities, with the aims of better understanding jihadi strategies, improving our understanding of various cultures where terrorists seek a foothold, and developing creative countermeasures to frustrate terrorist groups;
  • Establishes a demonstration program to help the Defense Department more rapidly and aggressively seek out cutting edge commercial information technologies and put them to use for our military;
  • Fully funds DARPA and the Defense Department’s basic research accounts; and
  • Funds investment in energy storage and renewable energy technologies.

More information on the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee can be found at http://www.house.gov/list/press/wa09_smith/morenews/chair.html

The bill must be approved by the full House of Representatives and the Senate before the President can sign it into law.
 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today announced he will vote for the conference agreement on H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.  The agreement includes language that would set a goal for the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008.  Smith chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

“President Bush should sign this bill.  A veto would signal a total rejection of the will of the American people and would further hamper our efforts to fight the spread of al-Qaeda.  We will not stay in Iraq indefinitely.  We must plan to redeploy our troops in Iraq,” Smith said.

The conference agreement would appropriate $124.2 billion for emergency spending, the bulk of which will fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The measure includes a requirement that the President certify Iraq has met benchmarks for military and political progress.  Most importantly, the conference agreement sets a goal of redeploying most U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008. 

President Bush repeatedly threatened to veto any measure that includes language requiring redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq.  Numerous polls and reports indicate a broad majority of Americans support such a timeline.

“This measure, regardless of whether the President vetoes it, is hugely important.  It is part of a process to pressure Republicans to abandon their open-ended commitment to refereeing a civil crisis in Iraq – a commitment which saps resources from the broader fight against terrorists and gives extremists a rallying point,” Smith explained.

“If the President vetoes this bill and Republicans stand with him to prevent Democrats from overriding him, they will demonstrate that they are completely out of step with the American people.  But more importantly, delaying a new direction in Iraq will further hamper our effort to contain the spread of al-Qaeda’s violent, totalitarian ideology,” Smith said.