Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) issued the following statement in response to the introduction of a bill by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Ike Skelton (MO-04) to extend the authority of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGR):

“Recent stories of missing weapons in Iraq highlight the need for oversight of war spending.  The Special Inspector General is key to any such oversight, and it is important that he have the authority he needs until the job is done.  As it stands, the SIGR could lose his oversight authority long before the last taxpayer dollar is spent in Iraq.

“I am an original cosponsor of a bill introduced today by Rep. Skelton that would extend the SIGR’s authority until most Iraq war spending is complete.  In addition, it would bring an additional $1.7 billion under the SIGR’s authority – money to be spent for the training and equipping of Iraqi troops.

“Americans spoke loudly and clearly against staying the course in Iraq last week.  Making sure we know where our money goes is essential if we are to get the situation in Iraq under control.  This bill is a good step in a new direction in Iraq.”

 

Today Donald Rumsfeld resigned his post as Secretary of Defense.  Rumsfeld’s ouster comes on the heels of a staggering repudiation of the President’s Iraq policy by the American people on November 7, 2006.

“The President is absolutely correct to accept Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation,” U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) said.  “It is unfortunate that it took a stunning loss at the polls, more than 2,800 American lives, tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, billions of taxpayer dollars and Abu Ghraib to convince the President to do so.  Rumseld’s resignation is an opportunity for a new direction in Iraq, and the President must seize it.”

According to a November 4 editorial in the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times under the headline “Time for Rumsfeld to go”:

"Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.”

Smith first called for Rumsfeld’s resignation following the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004.  He has also called for a new direction in Iraq beginning with a phased redeployment of our troops from the country.

Smith is also a key Democratic voice on the war in Iraq.

  • Smith is the only Democrat serving concurrently on the House Armed Services and the House International Relations Committees.  This dual assignment provides him a unique perspective on the military and diplomatic issues in Iraq and around the world.
  • He’s also the co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a large, moderate group of Democrats who fight for a strong national defense. 
  This dual assignment provides him a unique perspective on the military and diplomatic issues in Iraq and around the world.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) announced today a November 1, 2006 deadline for applications for nominations from his office to a U.S. military academy.
“It is an honor for me to be able to nominate outstanding young men and women each year to the U.S. military academies,” said Smith. “The academies provide an excellent education and an exceptional opportunity to serve our country.”

Smith may make nominations to four military academies:

  • the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York
  • the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York; and
  • the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut does not require a nomination; however, qualified applicants can request a letter of recommendation from Smith’s office.

Who may apply: To apply for an appointment, a candidate must live in Washington’s Ninth Congressional District be between 17 and 23 years old and be unmarried. Applicants whose parents are temporarily stationed at a military base but maintain legal residence in another state should apply to the congressional office from that district.

How to apply: Applicants should contact their Member of Congress and both Senators and apply to each office.

For further information, visit Smith’s website at www.house.gov/adamsmith or contact Rebecca Snyder in Smith’s office at (253) 896-3775 or toll-free (888) 764-8409.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today submitted the following statement on H.R. 4954, Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act conference report.  Smith was an original cosponsor of the bill, which passed the House early this morning by a vote of 409 to 2:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support the conference report on H.R. 4954, the SAFE Port Act.  This bipartisan legislation makes critical improvements to strengthen our domestic and international security efforts and provides the resources necessary to detect tampered cargo before it enters our ports.  Passage of the SAFE Port Act today is vital to our national security.

“For Washington state, the SAFE Port Act will bring greater regional coordination, new security grants, increased Customs personnel for Puget Sound and development of radiation detection equipment that is both modern and appropriate for the Port of Tacoma’s increased rail capacity. 

“The SAFE Port Act also takes important steps to plan for and immediately recover from any incidents on our docks.  With the increased role of western ports like the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle in our global economy, we must ensure the free flow of commerce.

“Passage of the SAFE Port Act will help protect our communities, our critical infrastructure and our homeland.  The SAFE Port Act will move America in the right direction.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today voted for the $34.8 billion Homeland Security Department appropriations conference report for fiscal year 2007.

“Port and cargo security, first responders, border control – these are all key components of our national security,” Smith said.  “This bill, while not perfect, includes key funds for these essential priorities.”

Among the items funded are:

  • $2.8 billion for border patrol, adding 1,500 new Border Patrol agents.   However, this increase is 500 agents below what Congress authorized in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
  • $1.2 billion for border fences, vehicle barriers, technology and infrastructure.
  • $4.3 billion for port, container and cargo security. 
  • $1.2 billion for high-risk area grants for state and local first responders, including $770 million for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants, $175 million for rail security, and
  • $74 million for other infrastructure protection.
  • $375 million for state and local terrorism prevention grants.

The bill would also overhaul the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and requires the FEMA Director have extensive emergency response and crisis management experience.  It would also prevent FEMA funds from being diverted to other agencies and requires improved coordination between federal, state, and local emergency response organizations.

“Our bungled response to Hurricane Katrina revealed the stunning level of ineptitude that had taken root at FEMA,” Smith said.  “I hope this bill will help ensure this Administration does not repeat its past mistake of hiring someone with political connections instead of real-world qualifications.”

The bill passed the House by a vote of 412 to 6.  The bill must now be passed by the Senate before being signed into law by the President.