Press Releases

As the overall economy continues to show signs of life, our local small businesses continue to struggle to recover and access capital from our community banks. It is imperative that they receive the support they need in order to grow and add jobs. While many of the Federal Government’s efforts over the last year have helped stabilize our economy and financial sectors, they have not gone far enough.

With these concerns in mind, the President has asked Congress to increase the maximum size of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) flagship 7(a) loans from $2 million to $5 million. Additionally, he has requested an increase in the size limit on the SBA’s 504 loans, which primarily are used for real estate, to $5 million from $2 million for standard borrowers, and to $5.5 million from $4 million for manufacturers. There is a strong need for an increase in these loans and Congress must respond to assist our local economies recover.

Additionally, to help make additional lending more feasible for our community banks – which provide most of the loans to our small businesses – the plan will lower the dividend rate for banks with less than $1 billion in assets from 5 percent to 3 percent. This will help our local banks support our small businesses.

I am pleased to see that the President has acted to support these critical institutions in our communities and I will continue to make supporting our small businesses and community banks a top priority.


Congressman Adam Smith and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Congressmen Dave Reichert (WA-08) have called on the Departments of Commerce and Interior to provide critical weather forecasting and river monitoring resources from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey to address the flood threat posed by structural damage to the Howard Hanson Dam, in a letter sent yesterday afternoon.

The representatives urged Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to provide additional resources that may improve the accuracy of weather models and provide better data to local officials and the Corps as they work to minimize the threat of flooding.  

“In the event of a flood, it is vitally important that we make decisive, data driven decisions to mobilize our resources in the most effective and timely way possible,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “In order to do this, we must have the most accurate and up-to-date information at our disposal. These additional tools will help provide that information and allow authorities to make more informed decisions and better coordinate their efforts to prevent and mitigate flooding damage.”

“This is about utilizing all available tools in order to take every possible precaution,” said Senator Murray. “This additional monitoring equipment can play an important role in providing the early and accurate warnings we’ll need to best protect homes, businesses, and residents in the event of a flood in the Green River Valley.”

“Washington State experiences some of the worst weather in the nation, yet it has the worst weather radar coverage of any U.S. coastline,” said Senator Cantwell. “While I have been able to secure funding for a new Doppler Radar on the Washington Coast the additional tools we are requesting today could help Army Corps of Engineers better manage water flows on the Green River valley.  Given that homes, businesses, and communities are at stake, we need to do everything possible to help deal with this winter’s storm season.”

“Flood season is rapidly approaching, and the Corps needs every possible tool at its disposal to avert disaster,” Reichert said. “We are all working together to protect our citizens and their property, and having the most advanced radar systems, precipitation gauges, and technologically advanced infrastructure possible will assist us in mitigating a flood event that could wreak havoc throughout our region.”

Specifically, the representatives requested the following: 

 Additional Gauges With Telemetry – That the U.S. Geological Survey install additional precipitation gauges and gauges to measure flows into the Howard Hanson Dam in order to assist the Corps in deciding when and how much water to release;

Relocations of Mobile Doppler Weather Radar Systems – That the National Weather Service relocate the Experimental Atmospheric River System (ARO) to Washington State this fall to enhance weather forecasting capabilities that inform Corps decisions about operations at the Howard Hanson Dam; and,

Modeling and Computer Programming Staff and Technology – Additional staffing resources and technology would be beneficial in the event of a storm at regional National Weather Service (NWS) and Northwest River Forecasting Center (NWRFC) to update and fine tune forecasting models for the Green River Basin. The representatives have requested these agencies shift additional resources to the Northwest this fall to assist the Corps in making critical operational decisions related to the dam. 

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) offered a resolution to pay tribute to the men and women of the Washington National Guard, including the members of the 81st Brigade Combat Team who recently returned from an overseas deployment in Iraq.

To see Congressman Adam Smith speak on the House floor in honor of the Washington state National Guard click on the image below. To view the full text of the resolution click
here.



Recovery.gov
Today, Congressman Adam Smith, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, Congressman Norm Dicks, Congressman Jim McDermott, and Congressman Dave Reichert sent a letter to Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp, requesting that he personally visit Howard Hanson Dam and the Green River Valley to gain a firsthand perspective of the critical need for both long- and short-term flood mitigation solutions.

In addition to requesting a visit from U.S. Army Corps leadership, the Members also wrote in the letter: “We are very appreciative of the $3.4 million that was granted in response to the Advance Measures request….The situation on the ground can change rapidly and we insist you preposition or identify ready sources of all necessary materials and equipment to respond as vigorously as possible to changing conditions.  We continue to encourage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to work diligently to find additional resources to help protect the valley against increased risks of flooding and be ready to aggressively flood fight”

Members of the Congressional delegation are sending this letter to make sure that the increased risk of flooding and the Howard Hanson Dam repairs remain at the top of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ priority list.  The delegation also wants to ensure that the Corps’ continues to work closely with the state and local entities to mitigate the impacts on the Green River Valley and assist in ongoing flood protection.

Full text of the letter is below:

Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp
U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
441 G. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000


Dear Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp,

We write to express our continued concern about the effectiveness of Howard Hanson Dam and the increased flood risk to the Green River Valley. Additionally, we respectfully request that you personally visit Howard Hanson Dam and the Green River Valley to gain a firsthand perspective of the critical need for both long- and short-term flood mitigation solutions.
 
We are very appreciative of the $3.4 million that was granted in response to the Advance Measures request submitted by Colonel Anthony Wright, the Commander of the Seattle District on September 12.  This funding will help to provide sand bags and technical assistance for approximately 8.2 miles of affected levees along the Green River and increase the flood protection of those most vulnerable areas.  The assistance and support of Colonel Wright and the Seattle District, who have been working closely with elected officials and emergency managers from all affected levels of government, continues to be appreciated.
    
The situation on the ground can change rapidly and we insist you preposition or identify ready sources of all necessary materials and equipment to respond as vigorously as possible to changing conditions.  We continue to encourage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to work diligently to find additional resources to help protect the valley against increased risks of flooding and be ready to aggressively flood fight. As the Green River Valley communities will continue to face an increased flood risk over the next several years, we ask that you move swiftly to design, engineer, and fund the necessary repairs for Howard Hanson Dam.  We appreciate the USACE's efforts to quickly implement interim repairs and study permanent solutions, and ask that you work with us to ensure this work can continue at a rapid pace.

Thank you for your attention to this request.  We look forward to your response.




Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) voted in support of the Conference Report to H.R. 2647, the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This legislation supports our men and women in uniform and their families, equips our troops with the tools they needs to fight current and future conflicts, and includes provisions to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the contracting process. Smith was also instrumental in securing more than $35 million to fund important projects in Washington state.

“This bill places our policies and priorities exactly where they belong – on our troops and their families,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “Program after program, this bill ensures that we are honoring the sacrifice of our troops and their families.  It provides a 3.4 % pay raise, strengthens military health care and family support programs, and authorizes numerous other programs that will assist military families.”

As Chair of the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, Congressman Smith plays an influential role in shaping our nations policies in combating violent extremists and ensuring our troops have the funding and resources they need to do their jobs and keep America safe.

“As Chairman, I worked to ensure my subcommittee’s portion of the bill focused on some of our nation’s most important challenges; the fight against violent extremists, the development and deployment of innovative technology, and defending the homeland from catastrophic unconventional attacks. The bill provides our Special Operations Forces with more of the necessary equipment, authorities, and support required to complete their missions. It also authorizes vital science and technology research programs, and fully funds our efforts to defend against chemical and biological threats. ”
 
The NDAA authorizes appropriations for fiscal year 2010 military activities including the Department of Defense, the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DoE), military construction projects, and other defense and military personnel activities related to U.S. national security efforts.

The bill also authorizes funding for projects and programs in Washington state requested by Congressman Smith including:

  • $9,000,000 – Military Construction to construct a joint base access road between Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.
  • $5,800,000 – University of Washington to expand the use of health care simulation technologies used by the Department of Defense.
  • $5,000,000 – Seattle Biomedical Research Institute to conduct clinical trials on a second generation malaria vaccine.
  • $4,000,000 – Lockheed Martin Aculight to develop a technology to address hearing loss in military personnel.
  • $3,000,000 – FATE Therapeutics to develop a therapy and cure for hearing loss in military personnel and veterans.
  • $2,500,000 – Tacoma Trauma Trust for trauma training of military medical personnel at local civilian hospitals.
  • $2,500,000 – Agilent Technologies to develop a next generation system to detect and jam enemy communications, IEDs, and other electronic warfare threats.
  • $1,800,000 – Sagem Morpho to develop a portable device that will be used by operators in the field to search, capture, and identity latent fingerprints.
  • $1,000,000 – Quest Integrated to develop new inspection methods and procedures using magneto-optic imaging for F-15s that will eliminate the need to disassemble part of the aircraft.
  • $1,000,000 -- Blood Cell Storage, Inc. to develop a system to allow military blood banks to monitor the viability of multiple platelet storage bags.

The Conference Report must now be approved by the Senate before the President can sign it into law.


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