Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Dave Reichert won support for an amendment to H.R. 2965, The Small Business Research and Innovation Act, to strengthen participation of disabled veterans, women and minority owned businesses. H.R. 2965 modernizes and reauthorizes the government’s largest small business research and development programs - the amendment offered by Smith and Reichert ensures the government casts the widest net possible in administering these grant programs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It is vitally important – especially in the current economic downturn – that we provide support and resources so our small businesses can grow and thrive. Additionally, the amendment I offered with Congressman Reichert expands the bill to ensure that disabled veterans, women and minority-owned small businesses receive the full benefits of this legislation.”

To see Congressman Smith speak about the importance of this legislation and his amendment click here.

The overall bill modernizes the government’s largest small business research and development programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, more than doubling the amount of the grants small businesses can apply for and helping them engage in cutting-edge research.

The amendment offered by Smith and Reichert builds on H.R. 2965 by giving preference to organizations that are in underrepresented states and regions, or are women, service-disabled veterans or minority-owned in the awarding of grants for Small Business Administration (SBA) outreach efforts. This will broaden the pool of businesses that participate in the programs by reaching out to rural entrepreneurs, veterans, minorities and women.

Supporting outreach to underserved areas and disadvantaged small businesses is essential.  Many small businesses are unaware of the resources that may be available to them, or incur additional, unnecessary costs just to apply for assistance or to navigate a complex government system. The amendment offered by Smith and Reichert addresses this problem by providing support for outreach efforts.

Since 1992, the SBIR and STTR programs have awarded 65,000 grants to small companies that are leading research efforts to cure diseases, strengthen national defense and reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. Without action by Congress, these programs would have expired later this month.

The 4th of July is more than an opportunity for family and friends to come together, it is a chance to reflect on our country’s proud history and honor the ideals and principals on which it stands. Now, more than ever, it is important for all of us to remember the principals that unite us. In the months ahead our county will engage in a spirited debate about how we can address some of our most pressing problems – such as fixing our healthcare system, protecting our environment and creating new sources of energy and the strategy for our conflicts abroad. People will differ on how we should address these problems – sometimes greatly and passionately - but we must remember that we all have our country’s best interest at heart.

So, this weekend enjoy the company of close friends and family, but also take a moment to reflect on the things bind all Americans together – freedom, justice and the pursuit of liberty.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act:

“Our nation’s current energy policy is outdated, inefficient and relies far too much on foreign oil. This undermines our national security and leaves us at the mercy of gas and oil prices, which can change dramatically in short periods of time. This is unacceptable, and Americans deserve better. We must establish energy policies that protect consumers, reduce our carbon footprint and free us from the tyranny of foreign oil.

“The dramatic increase in gas prices last summer demonstrated the urgent need to reform our energy policies. The sudden spike in oil prices had a devastating effect on our economy and essentially levied a steep energy tax on Americans at a time when they could least afford it.  

“We must take advantage of this situation to transform our economy and create the jobs needed to compete globally in the future.  We need stronger efficiencies and smarter policies in order to keep our energy prices reasonable.  Our current energy policy is a large tax on Americans in the form of extreme oil costs and it must change. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. The bill is a cautious approach, one that strikes a balance between moving our economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating the economic impact of this transition.

“This bill will also help to unleash the power of our entrepreneurs to invest in clean energy sources, create jobs, and move us toward energy independence. It will help reduce pollution and keep our energy costs at a reasonable level.  The bill reduces dangerous pollution by limiting emissions from major sources such as electric utilities, oil refineries, and coal fired plants.  The legislation protects and creates jobs now, and bolsters American competitiveness in global energy markets – where countries like China, Germany and Spain are already investing heavily.  

“The cost to consumers of our current energy policy is simply too great to ignore. If we do not increase efficiency and create alternative sources of energy the people of our country will always be at the mercy of the price of oil. Global demand for oil in growing economies like India and China will continue to cause the price of oil to increase. This bill gives us a chance to break this cycle and provide consumers with alternatives that will put us on a path to a better energy future, one where consumers do not have to simply absorb sudden and massive increases in the cost of oil.

“While this bill is a dramatic improvement from our current energy policy, it is not perfect – and it is not finished. In the weeks ahead the Senate will take up its version of the bill and then work together with the House to address the differences between the two versions.  As this process moves forward, I will work closely with my colleagues to ensure we craft the best possible energy policy that addresses the needs of all Americans.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) voted in support of H.R. 2996, the 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill, which funds the Department of the Interior, crucial environmental programs and related agencies.

“This bill provides essential funding for the Department of Interior and other related agencies, such as the EPA, to help communities improve their water systems, address pollution, and protect wildlife and ecosystems.” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “Protecting our environment and national lands is essential to preserving our country’s resources for future generations. I am pleased to see that it has once again become a priority in Congress.”

The bill provides funding for projects and programs in the 9th Congressional District requested by Congressman Smith including:

  • $4,000,000 for the University of Washington’s Puget Sound Ecosystem Research Initiative.  This research will help support the restoration work of the Puget Sound Partnership and will be based in Tacoma.
  • $500,000 for the City of Lacey’s Reclaimed Water Project. This will support the infrastructure needed to allow additional water use by Lacey, Olympia, Yelm, and the Nisqually Tribe.     
The 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill is one of 12 annual appropriations bills that fund Federal Government programs and services.  For a full summary of the bill visit the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed in to law.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted in support of legislation today that will allow disabled military retirees to concurrently receive both their retired pay from the Department of Defense (DoD) and their disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  H.R. 2990, the Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009, passed the House today by a vote of 404-0.

“Our veterans have dedicated their lives to our country, and they deserve to receive the benefits they have earned,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “While this is a step in the right direction, we must go further.  Expanding concurrent receipt to all military retirees remains a priority for me in Congress.  In the months ahead, I will continue working with my colleagues to achieve this goal.”

This legislation temporarily allows Chapter 61 retirees who are rated 100% disabled, 100% disabled by reason of being unemployable, or 90% disabled to receive full concurrent receipt of their DoD and VA benefits from January 1, 2010 until September 30, 2010.

Due to required budget offsets, finding funds to permanently expand concurrent receipt to all military retirees has been extremely difficult.  However, this bill contains the framework to extend the eligibility period and expand eligibility to those Chapter 61 retirees with a disability rating of less than 90% in the future.  Congress will utilize this framework to work toward a permanent solution in the months ahead.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President