Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement after voting to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years.  The bill, H.R. 2, passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives.

“Millions of American families have had to get by on $5.15 an hour for the past decade.  While I’m pleased that Washington State remains a national leader on this issue, it was important for the rest of the country to support workers with a higher federal minimum wage.  This is another example of Congress rolling up our sleeves and getting to work during the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress.”

 

Smith Opposes Troop Surge

January 10, 2007

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today stated his opposition to a troop surge in Iraq.  Smith met with President Bush and senior administration officials yesterday to learn more about the President’s proposal. 

“After the meeting I considered the President’s argument and reviewed the available information, including the Iraq Study Group Report.  In the end, even though I gave the President’s argument due consideration, I don’t find it persuasive.  A troop surge is not the answer in Iraq,” Smith said.

President Bush told Smith and several of his Democratic colleagues yesterday that he planned to send roughly 20,000 troops to Iraq to support what he described as an “Iraq-led” operation to secure Baghdad.

“I'm concerned that the President continues to view this as a military problem, not a political problem.  We need to see from the Administration a real commitment to a broader diplomatic and political effort if we are to have any sense of minimal stability in Iraq,” Smith said. 

“And,” Smith added, “we also have to keep in mind that the global war on terror is exactly that: global.  How does our commitment in Iraq affect our ability to prosecute the wider war?”

Smith also expressed his concern that legislative measures to cut off funds for troops could put troops in Iraq more at risk:  “I don’t want to put the troops in a political fight between Congress and the President, and Congress should carefully consider the consequences of any attempts to block funds for a surge.  We cannot put our forces in Iraq at greater risk.  But a troop surge is not the answer in Iraq.”

 

Today U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) and his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 6406, which will extend trade preferences for developing nations and to establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Vietnam.  The bill passed by a vote of 212 to 184.

The measure extended the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) preference program for six months, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for two years, and a critical provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for five years, in addition to establishing PNTR with Vietnam.

As a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Smith supports trade preferences to help grow more robust economies and reduce poverty in underdeveloped nations.  These countries in turn provide larger, more stable markets for U.S.-made goods.  He was joined in his support for this legislation by groups including the ONE Campaign, Oxfam America, and Women’s Edge.

This measure also includes a provision to allow limits on imports from nations whose exports to the United States grow beyond certain levels or who develop beyond the need for preferential market access. 

“Impoverished countries need more than our sympathy; they need access to markets for their goods.  By extending these trade preferences, the United States shows that we are good neighbors in the global community and that we are partners in their fight to break out of the poverty trap.  America gains international credibility, increased stability in regions key to our security, and growing markets for our goods and services through these trade preference programs,” Smith said.

Smith’s support of these provisions is part of his larger effort to address global poverty.  He led a New Democrat Coalition effort to rally support among his congressional colleagues for this measure last week (see attached letter).  He is also the sponsor of the Global Poverty Act, H.R. 3605, in the House of Representatives and is an advocate for increased trade with developing nations to help them break out of the poverty trap.

By normalizing trade with Vietnam, the bill provides market access for American goods and services.  And, by approving Vietnam for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, the United States gains a system for the resolution of trade disputes with a country that is our fastest growing export market in Asia.  Smith also hopes that this final step in normalizing relations with Vietnam will lead to greater economic and political liberalization.

“Vietnam is one of South Asia’s economic engines.  It is also a key export market for Washington State, which had $32.5 million in total exports to Vietnam in 2005.  The U.S. should not miss the chance to invest and trade in this growing market.  I am pleased this legislation permanently establishes normal trade relations with our newest WTO member.  The resulting transparency and dispute resolution process means that trade will be fairer and more likely to benefit American workers and companies,” Smith said.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) issued the following statement in response to the passage of S. 4046, a bill to extend the authority of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR):

“The Special Inspector General is essential to the oversight of Iraq spending.  The inspector general’s work has already saved American taxpayers an estimated $405 million so far, and there is no reason it should be arbitrarily terminated next year.  An expanded SIGIR mandate is key to increased oversight of the Administration’s Iraq policies as Congress and the President seek a swift and satisfactory conclusion to our commitment in Iraq.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement after joining his colleagues to pass H.R. 6111, a bill that extended certain tax deductions and included a temporary fix to physician payments under Medicare.  The bill passed by a vote of 367-45:

I voted for this bill because of many of the good things it included.  However, I was very disappointed several key provisions were left out of the final package. 

Specifically, I was glad to see that we were able to extend tax deductions for state sales taxes, college tuition, and out-of-pocket teacher expenses.  These provisions help many working families stay afloat as they face economic challenges.

Unfortunately, these important tax deductions were paired with several troubling provisions.  The bill ignored the need for a timber tax deduction, something I worked hard to see included and that I plan to work for next year.  Increased ocean drilling was also needlessly included; we are not going to drill our way to energy independence, and Congress would be better served to back more funds for alternative energy research. 

While I am pleased that this bill will stop a 5.1 percent cut to Medicare physicians payments next year, Congress chose a sloppy solution that will undermine our ability to deal with this situation over the long-term.  Freezing the payment rates for physicians is merely a short-term fix.  Americans deserve better than this kind of lazy legislation; unless Congress seriously addresses this problem next year, we will once again face the same problem.  A long-term fix is critical to maintaining continuous service for Medicare recipients.