Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in support of the health care reform legislation expected to be considered by Congress tomorrow:

“There are far too many people in our country who either do not have insurance or are underinsured, and the cost of insurance is escalating at unacceptable rates.  We have to cover more people and get costs under control now.  

“These are very, very difficult goals to accomplish.  For over 75 years, Republicans and Democrats alike have bemoaned the current health care system.  It costs too much, covers too few, and often doesn’t provide the best results.  If we’ve discovered anything in our pursuit for reform, it’s that this is a difficult issue to address - but that is not a reason to avoid the problem.  If we are truly committed to addressing these issues, we cannot simply rage against what is wrong; we must do what we can to fix them.  

“I support this legislation because it is the best available step forward for reform.  With health care costs ever increasing, we need leadership on these tough issues.  The option before us is imperfect, but it begins the process in a substantial way.  The fact that reform is controversial should not be a reason to avoid it.  Supporting change now demonstrates leadership.  

“This bill will cover an estimated 30 million additional Americans and save more than $1 trillion in the long term.  These are huge steps forward in the reform process. These two key facts make it imperative that we pass this legislation and move forward now.

“The legislation before us is better than the House bill that was passed in November.  It does a much better job of getting costs under control.  The numbers demonstrate that this legislation will not only help reduce costs in the short term, but also help bend the long term cost curve.  The legislation moves forward on rewarding quality of care over quantity.  We would begin to shift away from the failed fee-for-service model that encourages high levels of utilization without regard to the quality of that care.  Instead, it encourages accountable care organizations (ACOs), which emphasize overall quality of care over the sheer number of visits, tests, and referrals.  We will have to monitor and adjust these policies as we move forward and see how they are implemented, but they will actively work toward controlling costs and improving the quality of health care in this country.

“This legislation includes a number of ideas from both sides of the aisle, such as portability, which allows insurance companies to sell insurance over state lines. It also encourages employers to provide incentives for their employees to manage controllable health factors known to lead to long term health issues. These incentives will help create an overall healthier society, and encourage individuals to control their own health care costs.

“Americans will be touched directly by the improvement in care.  In addition to no longer being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, Americans will have access to a greater choice of plans at more affordable rates.  The quality of care will also improve as doctors are rewarded for quality rather than quantity of care.  

“Further, this legislation empowers states to be the drivers of reform - not the federal government.  States have the ability to set up the exchanges to help individuals find quality health insurance, and states will be the primary regulators of insurance companies, rather than the federal government.  

“Over the last year, we have seen an extraordinary level of engagement from the American people about reform. In fact, in all my years a legislator, I have never seen this level of involvement from my constituents. This is a promising sign for the vitality of our civic culture and I hope we continue to see this level of participation as we move forward to address the many difficult issues our country faces.

“This vote is not by any means the end of Congress’ work to improve health care in this country.  If this legislation passes tomorrow, the months and years ahead will be filled with the continued work to improve upon these ideas, learn from our mistakes, and work toward a system that is sustainable and provides access to quality health care for all Americans.  

“Health care is an incredibly difficult issue to address, but I believe that I was elected to make difficult decisions, not to hide from them.  Leadership is about making the tough choices and I have chosen to support this legislation to give Americans the opportunity to have a better health care system.”

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding Northrop Grumman’s decision to not bid on the aerial refueling tanker contract:

“While it is unfortunate that the Air Force will not have the KC-X competition we had hoped for, I am pleased to see that we can now move forward with providing our men and women in uniform with a new tanker that will meet their current and future mission requirements.

“With Northrop Grumman’s decision to withdraw from the bidding process, Boeing now stands as the sole company vying to build the next generation of aerial refueling tankers. While I am confident in Boeing’s ability to provide a high quality product; I intend to be diligent in my role as the Chairman of the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee to ensure we are providing our war fighters with the best possible product at the best possible price for the taxpayer.”

Today, in response to a letter sent on February 4th, Senators Murray and Cantwell and U.S. Representatives Smith, Reichert and Inslee met with Army Corps officials to receive a briefing on the path forward on a permanent fix to the Howard Hanson Dam. Attending the meeting on behalf of the Corps were General Grisoli, Army Corps Civil Works Commander, Brigadier General McMahon, Northwest Division Commander and Colonel Wright, Seattle District Commander.

After the meeting, the delegation released the following joint statement:

“This evening’s meeting provided an opportunity for our delegation to meet with officials at all levels of the Army Corps to reiterate the importance of this issue and discuss a path forward for a permanent fix for the Howard Hanson Dam.

“We were pleased to hear that the Army Corps has an estimated timeline, including tentative plans for future budgeting and completion of phases, as well as how federal resources would be most effectively utilized.

“In addition, following the meeting, the Army Corps confirmed it would be releasing a more comprehensive and complete issue sheet to local stake holders. It is important that our local partners and officials have the most up to date information moving forward.  

“Over the last year, we have been in constant contact with the Army Corps and other key partners to ensure they have the resources and support necessary to permanently fix the weaknesses with the Howard Hanson Dam. We are committed to restoring the dam’s full operating capacity for the protection of the Green River Valley and will continue to work with the Army Corps to ensure we provide them with what they need to get the job done.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding House passage of H.R. 2701, the FY2010 Intelligence Authorization Act:

“I am pleased to see that H.R. 2701, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 passed the House of Representatives today. This bill clarifies our policies, provides vital funding and authorities for our intelligence community in the field and strengthens Congress’ ability to conduct oversight.  

“This bill fully supports our intelligence community. It provides the resources and tools necessary for our intelligence professionals to address emerging threats around the globe and provides more than ample resources to address our current conflicts.  It also installs additional safeguards and mechanisms that enhance Congress’ ability to carry out its oversight responsibilities.

“This legislation makes important investments to maintain current satellite manufacturing capabilities and encourages the intelligence community to continue to work with the commercial imagery industry to improve them. It also encourages the Administration to review ways to improve the ability of the U.S. aerospace industry to be more internationally competitive. Intelligence support is essential to effectively administer the regulation of our exports and this legislation clarifies that the Director of National Intelligence has a role in supporting a review of our controls.    

"We must do more to reform our export control regime, which currently jeopardizes our national security by making it difficult for U.S. companies to compete internationally. Restricting U.S. companies from competing internationally threatens to erode our country’s position as a leader in military and dual-use goods and technologies. That in turn hurts the viability of American industry and will make us reliant upon international companies for these vital technologies within our defense apparatus and that undermines our national security.
"To be clear, we must not pull back all restrictions on military and dual-use exports. What we must do is strike a balance between more stringently protecting important information that would otherwise expose our national security and allowing U.S. companies to compete with goods and technologies already readily available and traded on the global market. Right now our current regulatory regime is not only hindering U.S. companies, but it is also creating the real possibility that we may soon have to rely on foreign companies for our defense needs – and that undermines our national security. This is an issue that must be addressed.

“Further, this bill makes significant investments to enhance our cybersecurity capabilities – the intelligence community needs the ability to stop threats that arise in cyber space and respond quickly and with the best technologies.”



Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) testified before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity regarding a bill he introduced last July, the Military Family Leave Act of 2009. The bill provides military families with the ability to spend time with their deployed or deploying loved ones or take time off of work to address personal or family issues that may arise in connection with a deployment.  Specifically, the 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.

To see Congressman Smith testify before the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity click

More about the Military Family Leave Act

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 at least two-weeks of unpaid leave in response to an upcoming or current deployment of a loved one.