Press Releases

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.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) today voted in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 210, which expresses Congress’s support for eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by 2015.  Smith is a co-sponsor of the resolution.  The legislation passed in the House of Representatives tonight by a vote of 403 - 0.

“As a member of the House Cancer Caucus, I was glad to see my colleagues support the goal of ending suffering and death due to cancer by 2015,” Smith said.  “I will keep working with my colleagues in Congress to help provide the needed funds and make that goal a reality.”

Cancer now kills more Americans under the age of 85 than any other disease, including heart disease.  More than one million people are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Congress has yet to pass the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2007 that would fund continued cancer research through the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.  The House of Representatives is not expected to do so before adjourning until November so that Members may return to their districts.

Smith is pleased he will have a chance to meet tomorrow with Washington State residents, including constituents from the 9th Congressional District, as part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Celebration on the Hill 2006.  These Celebration Ambassadors will call on Members of Congress to make a “Congressional Cancer Promise.”  The Promise outlines steps Congress can take to help end cancer suffering and related deaths.

Visiting Celebration Ambassadors from Washington State include:

  • Tina Bodine (Lacey)
  • Kristi Coppin-Arnold (Sumner)
  • Kimberly Crawford (Federal Way)
  • William Hagedorn (Puyallup)
  • Cindi Mueller (Milton)
  • Linda Russell (Puyallup)

“I commend my constituents for their dedication to ending a disease that affects so many families,” Smith said.  “I look forward to continuing to fight alongside them to end suffering and death from cancer by 2015.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) today voted in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 622, which recognizes and honors the service of Filipino World War II veterans for their defense of democratic ideals and their contributions to the Allied victory in the Pacific.  Smith is a co-sponsor of the resolution.  The measure passed in the House of Representatives tonight by a vote of 402 - 0.

“More than 120,000 Filipinos fought to defend the United States in the Pacific during World War II, and they deserve the recognition given them by the House of Representatives tonight,” Smith said.  “They also deserve full access to veterans’ health care and other benefits, and I am fighting to make sure they get their due.”

Smith is a cosponsor of H.R. 4574, the Filipino Vets Equity Act.  The bill would extend Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to the 13,000 remaining veterans residing in the Philippines.  U.S.-resident Filipino veterans are already covered by VA benefits.

H.R. 4574 was referred to House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health on January 3, 2006.  Smith and the bill’s other cosponsors are fighting to bring it to a vote in the full House of Representatives before the 109th Congress adjourns at the end of this year.