Press Releases

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement after the President signed the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act into law:

“I am pleased to see that the President signed this important piece of legislation into law. Overall, this bill prioritizes our troops deployed in Afghanistan, and around the world, by ensuring that they have the tools and resources they need to do their job and protect national security. It also provides our troops and their families with the benefits and support that they deserve, including a 1.6 percent pay increase.

“It continues to make counterterrorism a priority and makes significant investments in all branches of our Armed Services, ensuring that our military is prepared to meet the threats of today as well as in the future. It supports our troops as they continue to fight overseas, invests in new technologies for the future, and protects vital military equipment production capacity here at home.

“I share many of the President’s concerns with this bill, but I also feel confident that we made adequate adjustments to mitigate many of those concerns. Moving forward, I will continue to work to make sure that the President is not needlessly restricted in his ability to take steps to protect us from attacks while at the same time making sure that our basic civil rights are protected.

“In drafting the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the House Armed Services Committee worked diligently to strengthen our support for the troops and their families, and to address some of the bills shortfalls. I believe we made progress, but more work remains to be done and I look forward to working with my colleagues as well as the Administration moving forward.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the Department of Justice announced a $335 million settlement with Countrywide Financial Corporation for discriminatory lending practices:

“I'm pleased the Justice Department reached an agreement that will compensate thousands of African-American and Hispanic borrowers who were subjugated to Countrywide’s discriminatory policies, but I'm still deeply concerned that not enough people in the financial sector have been held accountable for their role in the sub prime mortgage crisis.

“The collapse of our housing market is widely accepted to be one of, if not the, key factor in our economic crisis and the actions of Countrywide and its subsidiaries who unfairly steered thousands of minority homeowners to purchase riskier subprime mortgages significantly increased its impact. Providing recompense to the victims of these unfair and unethical lending practices is a step forward in bringing the people who committed these crimes to justice but more action must be taken to prosecute those who allowed this type of predatory activity to occur.

“This year, Washington State had the 15th-highest foreclosure rate in the country and creating and enforcing the policies that prevent this from happening again is one of my highest priorities. I will continue to monitor these cases and make sure we do what is needed to protect individuals and their families from irresponsible business practices that jeopardize their quality of life and that compromise our country’s economic stability.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), made the following statement following House passage of the omnibus bill funding the federal government through FY 2012:

“Congress should be able to move forward in deciding how our nation will fund its priorities on schedule, without waiting until the last minute and continually risking a government shutdown. I’m glad that after almost three months of delays we were able to pass a bipartisan, long-term spending bill that eliminates uncertainty about federal employees’ jobs and the many important services Americans rely on the federal government to provide.

“While this bill funds the government through the remainder of fiscal year 2012, it is not perfect. We continue to face serious economic challenges and are required to make tough decisions that will help get our country back on track. However, this bill does ensure our military personnel have the resources needed to maintain national security and provides our agencies the funding needed to continue the functions that keep our country up and running.

“I hope in the new legislative year we’ll carry forward the bipartisan compromise we saw in crafting and passing this legislation and focus on addressing the many important challenges facing our nation.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement after Secretary Arne Duncan and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Washington State was awarded a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant that will provide up to $60 million to fund its early childhood education programs:

“I congratulate leaders from the Washington State Department of Early Learning on this incredible achievement. A high-quality early childhood education is the foundation for a successful future and is paramount to building stronger communities and a strong economy. This was a competitive process, and to be chosen from 35 applicants around the country speaks to the quality of their ideas and commitment to the students they serve.

“I applaud Washington’s education leaders on this accomplishment and look forward to the implementation of these programs and working towards their success.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Col. Tommy Brittain, Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson made the following statements after U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $15 million TIGER III grant to fund the I-5 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Area Congestion Management Project and a $10 million TIGER III grant to fund the South Link Lightrail Extension Project:

"Helping secure funds for projects that improve transportation throughout our region is one of my top priorities,” said Congressman Smith. “These grants will help alleviate traffic for military personnel and communities around the JBLM corridor and save commuters time and money. They will also improve freight traffic, benefiting our local economy while adding hundreds of jobs to our region. These are significant wins for our district and I thank Congressman Dicks, along with Senators Cantwell and Murray for their longstanding support.”

"We're grateful for the efforts of everyone involved to address the growing traffic congestion that has affect JBLM and our neighboring communities,” said Col. Tommy Brittain. “We have worked very closely with local communities, regional and state agencies, and federal and state legislators, to develop strategies that mitigate the congestion brought about by growth in Pierce and Thurston Counties, as well as our growth here at JBLM. This grant is yet another indicator of the positive, cooperative relationship we enjoy with our neighbors, and we look forward to continuing to work together to find solutions to regional challenges."

"A true partnership is bringing about transportation improvements in the JBLM corridor," said Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. "Our state delegation in D.C. helped win these federal dollars, and we have partners at the base and in Pierce County and local cities. With this grant money, we can make transportation investments in this critical corridor that will have an immediate impact on reducing some of the congestion."

"The South Link Project provides South County residents increased mobility to get to and from work, helps protect the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road, and provides huge opportunities for economic development around the station area,” said Sound Transit Board and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. “I offer my congratulations to all our partners in this effort."