Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) today requested Secretary Robert Gates share with Congress any Defense Department contingency plans for the failure of the President’s troop increase strategy in Iraq.  Smith chairs the terrorism subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee.

The Washington Post reported on March 5, 2007 that the Administration has “no … backup strategy for Iraq.”  Last month Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he “would be irresponsible if I did not have people looking at contingencies in the event this does not work…”

The letter states: “… whatever one’s opinion on the [troop surge] plan, it is critical that Congress have a realistic understanding of what our troops may need through the remainder of the year.  This must include knowledge of alternative options and contingency plans for our military.”  Full text below.

Smith believes:

  • backup plans are necessary to support our Armed Forces in the event that the President’s troop increase in Iraq fails to produce desired results;
  • lack of such plans would indicate a serious failure on the part of the Defense Department; and
  • Congress must have a realistic understanding of what our troops may need through this year. 

Further, Smith believes we must change the mission in Iraq to one acceptable to the American people and that benefits our national security interests.  Military planners with proper expertise must begin planning for redeployment.  Smith hopes this letter will help pressure the civilian leadership of the Defense Department to order military commanders to do so.

Full text of Smith and Skelton’s letter to Defense Secretary Gates:

Dear Secretary Gates:

As the new Secretary of Defense, you have been tasked with helping bring greater stability to what has become an increasingly turbulent Iraq.  We acknowledge the enormity of that challenge and seek to assist you in every way possible.

As such, we believe it is important to identify the alternatives to the President’s current plan for Iraq.  In your testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in February, you indicated that the Department was preparing military contingency plans in the event that the troop increase plan does not yield results in the next few months.

We write to formally request that the Department of Defense share with the Committee the range of contingencies under consideration and discuss with us the possible options for dealing with them.

As you may know, we disagree with the President’s decision to increase U.S. combat forces in Baghdad by over 21,000 troops.  But whatever one’s opinion on the plan, it is critical that Congress have a realistic understanding of what our troops may need through the remainder of the year.  This must include knowledge of alternative options and contingency plans for our military. 
 
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request and for your continued service to the country.

Sincerely,

Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee

Adam Smith (D-WA)
Chairman, House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to President Bush’s assertion that “if we fail in Iraq, the enemy will follow us home.”  The President offered this false dichotomy in a speech today to the American Legion. 

“The President wants us to believe that his Iraq policy is the only thing keeping terrorists in check.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the President’s flawed Iraq policy is feeding a fresh wave of terrorism across the globe.  Following our invasion of Iraq, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide per year has grown more than 600 percent.  The President’s flawed Iraq policy drains military and intelligence focus from the central front in the war on terror – the Pakistan/Afghan border – and it inspires terrorism worldwide,” Smith said.

According to a study by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank published on March 1, 2007: “The rate of terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups and the rate of fatalities in those attacks increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the average fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, which accounts for fully half of the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks in the post-Iraq War period. But even excluding Iraq, the average yearly number of jihadist terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities still rose sharply around the world by 265 percent and 58 percent respectively.”
 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding reports of possible casework deficiencies at Fort Lewis’ Madigan Army Medical Center:

“I’m very concerned about recent reports of neglect at Walter Reed and possible casework deficiencies at Fort Lewis' Madigan Army Medical Center.  My staff and I are looking into these reports.  In the meantime, I look forward to Thursday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on these issues, where I hope to get some answers on behalf of my constituents.

“It is absolutely essential that returning service members get the best possible medical care.”

U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) took steps this week to require the President of the United States to create a strategy to combat extreme poverty and to report to Congress on his progress. Smith reintroduced his Global Poverty Act, H.R. 1302, late yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives.  On Friday, Cantwell offered the bill as an amendment to the Senate version of the 9/11 bill, which the Senate is considering this week.

“Poverty grips nearly half of the world’s population, and 1.1 billion people live in extreme poverty, meaning they scrape by on less than a dollar a day.  This bill will take scattered, unfocused U.S. policies for addressing global poverty and help forge them into a comprehensive approach that meets our moral obligations,” Smith said.

Smith first authored the original Global Poverty Act in 2005 and reintroduced H.R. 1302 as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) again joined Smith as the lead Republican sponsor of the legislation in the 110th Congress. 

Cantwell introduced similar legislation on Friday as an amendment to the Senate’s 9/11 bill. The 9/11 Commission report includes in its recommendations creating “a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism should include economic policies that encourage development, more open societies, and opportunities for people to improve the lives of their families and enhance prospects for their children.” Cantwell is working to have the amendment pass as part of the Senate’s comprehensive bill.

“Millions of men, women and children throughout the world live in severe poverty, suffering from malnutrition and starvation,” said Cantwell. “Unfortunately, this global poverty creates conditions that give rise to terrorist breeding grounds. If we’re going to implement the full recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, we must do it while addressing the national security risks extreme poverty creates and implement a real plan to combat poverty on a global scale.”

The Global Poverty Act:

  • 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; and
  • Requires the President to report back to Congress annually on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

During the 109th Congress, several key nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) supported Smith’s bill, including Bread for the World, CARE, the Population Institute, Mercy Corps, RESULTS, and Save the Children.  Several faith groups also endorsed the bill during the last Congress, including the Episcopalian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Micah Challenge USA, Lutheran World Relief and United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society.  Smith anticipates continued support among groups concerned with global poverty in the 110th Congress.

Facts on Global Poverty:

  • 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 per day.
  • 1.1 billion people live in extreme poverty (less than $1 a day).
  • More than 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.
  • Smith’s bill addresses the first of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reducing by half the proportion of people worldwide who live on less than $1 per day--extreme global poverty.  More on the MDGs can be found at: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

Press Contacts:    
Derrick Crowe (Smith):                 (202) 225-6902 cell
Elizabeth Ferranti (Cantwell):         (202) 224-8277

U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA), John Lewis (D-GA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) today introduced the High Performance Buildings Act, to encourage communities to build sustainable, energy-efficient buildings to lower energy costs and protect the environment.

The bill encourages communities to include sustainable development in their strategic housing plans and to provide grants to non-profit groups to increase sustainable development in low-income neighborhoods.  Further, the bill establishes an institute at the National Science Foundation to research indoor environmental quality and its effect on human health and productivity, as well as to encourage the development and deployment of innovative energy-saving technologies.

“In the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity and more than a third of our total energy is consumed by buildings.  Sustainable technology and architecture in housing can help us fight global warming, lower energy costs and improve family health at the same time,” Smith said.

“We are all simply stewards of this little piece of real estate we call planet Earth,” said Lewis.  “And it is the responsibility of the federal government to encourage citizens to be good stewards with the hope that we can leave this earth a little bit cleaner and a little bit greener for our children and generations yet unborn.  Green building is a powerful way to help preserve our natural legacy, and it helps us transform the process of civilization into one that does not injure but sustains the environmental integrity of this nation.”

“The United States uses the most energy of any nation in the world, and buildings are the second largest consumer of energy in our country,” said Blumenauer. “We know that low income families are particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs. This legislation aims to help by driving down energy costs for families and small businesses, while also serving the environment."

“This legislation will help bring down energy costs and make affordable housing even more energy efficient,” Gilchrest said. “It’s a great first step that brings together sustainable growth and environmental stewardship. We need to encourage and reward innovative technologies that reduce costs and impacts on the planet.”

Thirteen other Members of Congress lent their support as original cosponsors of the High Performance Buildings Act: 

  • Lois Capps (D-CA)
  • Russ Carnahan (D-MO)
  • Norm Dicks (D-WA)
  • Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
  • Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
  • Jay Inslee (D-WA)
  • Ed Markey (D-MA)
  • George Miller (D-CA)
  • Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
  • C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • José Serrano (D-NY)
  • Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 

Several organizations endorsed the bill as it was introduced, including:

  • American Public Health Association
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Global Green
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • National Center for Healthy Housing
  • National Housing Conference 

Press Contacts

  • Derrick Crowe (Smith): (202) 225-6902
  • Brenda Jones (Lewis):  (202) 226-4673
  • Erin Allweiss (Blumenauer):  (202) 225-4811
  • Catherine Bassett (Gilchrest):  (410) 749-3184