Press Releases

Today, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) voted for the conference report on the Fiscal Year 2006 Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, and the District of Columbia. This bill provides funding for these federal agencies and the District of Columbia.

“In a difficult budget year, I was pleased that I was able to secure funding for two high priority projects, the Foss Waterway Development Authority in Tacoma ($200,000) and a transit facility/parking garage near Highline Community College ($850,000),” said Smith. “The funds will be used to make these important assets in our community more accessible to the public.”

The funding to the Foss Waterway Development Authority will be used to supplement a similar sized contribution by the City of Tacoma to restore an historic city wharf and construct a public esplanade. Once these funds are dedicated, an additional $15.4 million in private funding will be used to restore an adjacent historic building, part of which sits on the wharf, and that houses a non-profit maritime museum and education facility.

The funds for the transit facility will be used to fund an initial study, planning and design of the Intermodal transit facility and parking garage for Southwest King County and Highline Community College.

“This project is important to the community and will dramatically improve transit and vehicular access for Highline Community College students as well as commuters,” said Smith. “Located next to the college, the facility will be a transit hub and will hold approximately 600 parking spots. Transit accessibility is an important component of reducing stress on employees and students as well as providing enhanced transit and transportation options for the surrounding community.”

Construction for the facility is scheduled to begin in 2006. The facility will provide essential access to transit service for local residents and offer transit transfer options for commuters, patients and students of Highline Hospital and Highline College. It will also offer park-and-ride options for commuters, connections and storage for bicycle commuters, and dedicated stalls for van pool/ car pool parking and community flex cars.

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) voted against H.R. 3010, the conference report for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act for FY06. He made the following statement:

“I was pleased that today Congress rejected this conference report, the latest example that the Republican majority in Congress is out of touch with the values of the American people. This legislation failed because it does not address the critical needs that exist today. We need to create policies that allow for greater innovation, expanded educational opportunity, improved public health and important medical research.  This legislation clearly failed to meet that standard. 

It is my hope that when this bill is reconsidered in Conference Committee, Members from both sides of the aisle will work on a positive agenda that moves America forward.  Too many citizens rely on important federal programs in this bill, like Safe and Drug Free Schools, Pell Grants, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and job training programs – to name a few – for this legislation to be held up by the Majority’s extreme politics and ineffective governing. I will continue to work with my colleagues to develop policy that is not only fiscally sound but that represents the priorities of the American people.” 
 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today introduced the Medicaid Access Project through Information Technology (MAP IT). The bill will allow for the creation of a demonstration project that will provide a more efficient and effective system for managing chronic disease by using health information technology on disease management for the Medicaid population.

“Under the current paper-based healthcare system, patients and their doctors lack instant access to medical information,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09). “This lack of connectivity and shared knowledge leads to medical errors, increased costs, and inefficiency.  This pilot project would leverage information technology as a tool to increase the efficiency of the healthcare system, improve the quality of care for Medicaid patients and it will decrease costs to states and the federal government, which are facing record deficits.”

The demonstration project will give chronic disease patients and caregivers access to their own medical records and to a single source of information on chronic disease. The program will include several channels of communication with health educators, as well as a Personal Health Record, to allow patients to record and track their own health information. Information and access methods will be tailored to the patient’s needs. Physicians and other caregivers will have access to complete, current treatment and health status information for chronic disease patients, using the virtual case management tool.

“One of my top priorities is to provide access to quality, affordable health care,” said U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris (WA-05). “Recent advancements in health information technology and the use of electronic medical records allows for innovative collaboration where patients, doctors and health educators can be brought together online to discuss patients health care needs. By providing online access for managing chronic disease, we can improve health care for Medicaid recipients and provide states with an alternative to cutting services or raising taxes.”

Combined federal and state spending on Medicaid over the next ten years is estimated to be $14.5 trillion.  The federal government has proposed significant reductions in funding for Medicaid. This increases the financial burden on states, forcing them to either decrease Medicaid enrollment and services, or raise taxes. Expenses from the care of individuals with chronic conditions are a major part of state Medicaid budgets. Facilitating access to chronic disease management program through information technology would save states money on their overall Medicaid budget.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will select at least four proposals to perform the demonstration projects from those submitted by states. The demonstrations will be for two years with an evaluation afterwards to determine the amount of cost savings resulting from the project.

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement today in honoring Veteran’s Day:

“Today, we honor the men and women who have served in the United States military from the days of the America Revolution to today, when our servicemen and women are engaged around the world. We have the best-trained, most dedicated military force in the world.  Each day they demonstrate that they are the very best and brightest of our nation. I'm proud to represent so many servicemembers and their families.

I honor the sacrifice that so many veterans have made for the freedoms we enjoy today. As the members of our military continue to stand in harm’s way to defend liberty and protect the innocent, I remain humbled by their service and commitment to our values. As we celebrate this Veteran’s Day, let us remember those in the past who defended America and her interests abroad and those who work today to protect our freedom and our democracy.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) is pleased to announce that he helped secure more than $4 million in federal funds from the Science, State, Justice, and Commerce Appropriations bill that recently passed the House of Representatives. Of note, Smith received $100,000 for the Valley Cities Regional Wireless Network and $750,000 for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) for the DNA Stranger Rape Pilot Program.

“The Valley cities of Auburn, Renton, Tukwila, Kent, Algona, Pacific, Puyallup, Sumner and Fife comprise one of the most dynamic regions in Washington State,” said Smith. “It’s exciting that these cities are coming together to create a wireless network that will allow local law enforcement access to better and quicker information while in the field, and increasing public safety for all of the communities in the Valley. I’m pleased that the money I was able to secure will help fund a feasibility study to determine how a regional wireless network could be installed, operated and maintained to benefit the region.” 

Smith also discussed the $750,000 that was received for the WASPC’S “DNA Stranger Rape Pilot Program.”

“As a former prosecutor, I know that we must do all we can to prevent violent crime in our region and this program will help solve and prevent stranger rapes in our state by requiring DNA testing to be completed and compared to DNA databases within 30 days of a stranger rape occurring,” said Smith. “The funds I was able to secure will be used to help run the pilot program for two years. I hope that state and local governments decide this is an effective program and will then continue to fund it.”

Other earmarks include the following:

* $1.5 Million for the World Vision Youth Outreach Workers, World Vision US

* $100,000 the Pierce County Youth Assessment Center, A Chance To Change

* $250,000 for the Gang Intervention Program, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

* $2 million - WA State Meth Initiative