Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement on the Republican-backed “compromise” military commissions act, H.R. 6616:

“I oppose the legislation creating military commissions because it would sacrifice our moral leadership in the world, delay our fight to prosecute and punish terrorists, and risk our troops. 

“This measure would give this President and any future President the power to reinterpret laws and agreements which bar mistreatment of prisoners whenever and however he feels it convenient.  It would allow the President to weaken the Geneva Conventions and undermine our moral leadership in the world while further risking the safety of our servicemembers.

“This move by the Administration and Congress will confuse our policies surrounding prisoner treatment.  Our policies should be unambiguous:  the United States does not condone torture.  This proposal runs counter to fundamental American values. 

“Five years after 9/11, we still have not convicted a single terrorist.  We absolutely must be able to bring our terrorist enemies to justice through a system that is tough, fair, and effective.  This bill will likely fail Supreme Court scrutiny just as the Administration’s previous system failed, and for the same reasons.  This latest failure would mean we spend more time debating proper treatment of terror suspects instead of making sure they face swift, tough consequences.  And make no mistake: al-Qaeda will not wait around for us to get serious about bringing them to justice. 

“This bill is another example of this President and this Republican Congress failing to win the fight against terror.  The policies of President Bush and the Republican Congress are making us less safe.  It is time for a new direction.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today announced more than $10 million in funds for projects in Washington’s Puget Sound region.  The funds were included in H.R. 5631, the Defense Department appropriations conference report for fiscal year 2007.

“I am pleased to have been able to work with my colleagues to secure these key funds for Puget Sound area defense projects,” Smith said.  “These projects will, among other things, fight cancer, improve aircraft safety, and fight drug trafficking.”

Smith announced funding for the following projects in H.R. 5631:

  • $2 million for targeted radiation cancer therapy at Madigan Army Hospital. This funding will be used to provide innovative prostate cancer treatment therapy for military personnel and veterans.  Calypso Medical Technologies, a Seattle biomedical company, will carry out this program using their cutting-edge targeted radiation tumor tracking technology. 
  • $1 million for high-tech aircraft inspections.  These funds will facilitate the development of advanced systems to perform more efficient and effective airframe maintenance inspections on the Air Force’s C-5 aircraft.  Quest Integrated, Inc. of Kent, WA, will carry out this program with its Induction Thermography System (ITS) technology.
  • $350,000 for WA National Guard Counter-Drug Linguist Program.  This funding will allow the WA National Guard to hire additional soldiers to use their specialized military skills as linguists to translate and analyze evidence of criminal drug trafficking.  A 2002 GAO report concluded that the US does not possess adequate linguist assets.  This critical program, operated out of Ft. Lewis, specifically targets foreign narco-terrorists, narco-traffickers and transnational criminal organizations.
  • $3.3 million for advanced military food preservation technology.   Smith worked with fellow Washington delegation members to secure funds for this demonstration program for advanced food preservation technologies to enhance combat ration quality.  These technologies include high-pressure processing developed by Avure Technologies in Kent, WA and Washington State University’s microwave processing technology.
  • $1.7 million for small boat lifts for the US Navy.  These funds will help the Navy procure additional advanced hydraulic boat lifts that increase the lifespan and reduce maintenance costs for small boats in the Navy.  The boatlifts, a product of Sunstream Corporation in Kent, WA, are used on naval bases around the country.
  • $1.7 million for laser defenses against man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS).  This critical funding would enable the Air Force to conduct final tests and accelerated fielding of a laser technology to combat advanced MANPADS.  Aculight in Bothel, WA developed this technology.

The House passed the bill tonight by a vote of 394 to 22.  The Senate must now approve the conference report before the President can sign it into law.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today joined his colleagues to pass legislation addressing the massive humanitarian crisis in Sudan:

  • H.R. 3127, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, passed last night in the House of Representatives.
  • H. Res. 992, which urged the President to appoint a Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan, passed tonight by a vote of 414 to 3.
  • H. Res. 723, which called on the President to take immediate steps to help improve the security situation in Darfur, Sudan, with a specific emphasis on civilian protection, passed tonight by a vote of 412 to 7. 
, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, passed last night in the House of Representatives.

Smith was instrumental in passing these measures.  As a member of the House International Relations Committee, he cosponsored all three pieces of legislation and voted to pass them in committee and on the House floor.

“The United States must continue leading the international effort to end the atrocities in Darfur,” Smith said.  “More must be done soon to stop the violence, but these measures are good steps in the right direction.  Taken together, they will increase pressure on the Sudanese government to accept an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force.”

Today’s outcome builds on Smith’s previous successful fight to pass the House version of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in April.  The bill builds on the Sudan Peace Act of 2004 by strengthening sanctions on those responsible for the atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan.  It also authorizes more funds for peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.  The measure adopted by the House last night was the final conference version, which must now be signed by the President before it becomes law.  By contrast, H. Res. 992 and H. Res. 773 are House resolutions, which do not require consideration by a conference committee or signature by the President.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith applauded the passage of H.R. 5835, a bill to create a high-level position in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department to protect veterans data.  The bill was drafted in response to the May theft of a VA laptop that held personally identifiable data on more than 26 million veterans.  Smith cosponsored the legislation, which passed the House of Representatives today by voice vote.

“Veterans must be able to trust the VA to secure the information gathered during an appointment,” Smith said.  “I was disturbed by the VA’s response during the May incident that exposed tens of millions of veterans to potential identity theft.  This bill is a timely move to shore up the VA’s security against similar breaches.”

H.R. 5835 includes provisions that would:

  • Create an Office of the Undersecretary for Information Services inside the VA and instating three deputy undersecretaries to answer to the Undersecretary;
  • Require the VA provide credit and fraud protection in the event of another data theft; and
  • Require a study on whether it is feasible to use personal identification numbers instead of Social Security numbers in veterans’ records to protect patients’ identities.

The bill must now be considered by the Senate.  A conference version of the legislation must then be approved by both houses of Congress before it can be sent to the President for his signature.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) issued the following statement on H.R. 4484, the Republican Voter ID bill, which the House of Representatives will vote on today:

“Congress should remove barriers between citizens and the polls, not erect new ones,” Smith said.  “This legislation will needlessly prevent many married women, minorities, Katrina victims, low-income people, rural residents and elderly citizens from voting.  These people are less likely to have the kind of identification this bill would require and would therefore be prevented from casting a ballot.

“We cannot disenfranchise people under the guise of making sure they are eligible to vote.  If this bill becomes law, many otherwise eligible voters will be denied their most basic constitutional right.”