Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement today about President Hu Jintao’s visit to Seattle and the United States:

“I was pleased that President Hu visited Washington State as part of his state visit,” said Smith. “China and the Northwest are significant trading partners and this relationship holds many benefits for Washington State’s businesses and workers alike. Pursuing a mutually beneficial partnership with China is an important aspect of our efforts to further broad-based economic development.

There are many areas in which the United States and China have a clear and shared interest. By working together to address nuclear issues with North Korea and Iran and by working on critically important environmental matters, I believe we can pave the way for a more peaceful and stable world.

While I am pleased with the ongoing and deep relationship with China, I also understand that there are matters that present challenges.  For example, I believe that China must make real progress toward complying with international trade obligations, including intellectual property rights, and currency valuations. I’m also concerned about China’s record on human rights.

I’m optimistic that our two nations will continue to build upon the successes of our relationship and work towards mutually beneficial solutions to the issues that we face.”

 

“I am pleased that I helped pass H.R. 5122, the Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization bill, out of the House Armed Services Committee with broad bipartisan support,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).  “While not perfect, this bill includes a number of provisions to support the members of our Armed Forces and our Veterans and also includes much-needed improvements in TRICARE, troop strength and pay increases. There are also a number of important Puget Sound-based programs that were included in the bill. The Puget Sound region continues to play an important role in the defense of our country. Also included was $50 billion in so-called bridge funds to cover the first portion of war costs for the coming fiscal year. The war in Iraq has been ongoing for over three years and we have a good sense of the costs associated with operations there and in Afghanistan. It only makes sense for our committee to authorize this spending.  I will work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to ensure that the best authorization bill possible is enacted into law. This bill is too important for the servicemen and women, who sacrifice every single day for this country, to fall down to partisan politics.” 

Highlights of the important provisions included in the bill:

TRICARE for all Guard and Reservists

The bill grants full, affordable access to TRICARE for all Guard and Reservists, regardless of activation or employment status.  This provision is part of an earlier bill that Smith introduced, H.R. 4468, which is a quality-of-life bill for Guard and Reservists.

No TRICARE Fee Increases for Retirees

The Committee rejected the DoD’s plan to increase TRICARE premiums and enrollment fees for retirees.  The provision bars any fee increases in FY07 and creates a task force to study the potential impacts and savings generated by the DoD’s plan.  

End Strength

The bill provides for an overall end strength increase of 30,000 troops for the Army and 5,000 Marines for the Marine Corps. Additionally, the bill authorizes the Army National Guard at its full end strength of 350,000. Also, $300 million was added for National Guard equipment, ensuring that the Guard will be able to recruit, train and equip their forces at robust levels.

Pay Increase

Also included in the bill is a 2.7% pay raise for all service members, as well as targeted pay raises for warrant officers and senior and mid-grade noncommissioned officers.

Impact Aid

The bill authorizes $50 million for Impact Aid to assist schools that are located near military installations.  In addition, $15 million is specifically intended for schools that receive additional students because of force structure changes due to the recent round of Base Realignments and Closures (BRAC).

IN THE PUGET SOUND REGION:

Clear-Zone Funds for McChord

A provision in the bill recommends $50.0 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI), an increase of $30.0 million. The REPI will support an array of efforts, including acquisition of land and easements, for preventing undesirable development around military test and training ranges, while ensuring sound environmental stewardship. Five bases were named as possible receipients of these funds and three were located in Washington State: McChord Air Force Base, Fairchild Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Whidbey.

Washington Air National Guard

The bill includes $800,000 to finish planning and design for the construction of a new training and operations facility for the 262nd Information Warfare Aggressor Squadron (262 IWAS) at McChord Air Force Base.  The new facility would allow for a higher quality, secure work and training space for the 262 IWAS, whose work involves replicating potential adversary Information Warfare capabilities.

$1.65 million for Tacoma Trauma Trust -- Madigan Army Medical Center Trauma Assistance Program

Smith was pleased to help authorize funding for this critical military-civilian emergency health care partnership facilitated by the Tacoma Trauma Trust (TTT), a unique military-civilian partnership (MultiCare Health System, Franciscan Health System and Madigan Army Medical Center). TTT shares in the delivery of critical Level II trauma care to South King, Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston counties and southwest Washington as well as much needed trauma training for medical personnel.

$1.13 billion to fully fund President Bush’s request for the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)

This critical program would use specially equipped Boeing 737s, manufactured in Boeing’s Renton plant, in order to conduct defense and homeland security-related missions. The MMA will replace the aging fleet of Navy P-3C aircraft with a technologically superior mission system that will allow it to perform anti-submarine warfare missions, homeland security surveillance and other important functions.

$3.0 million for “MRE High Pressure Processing Technology Demonstration”

This program funds a technology demonstration program for high-pressure processing of military food rations.  This technology, developed by Avure Technologies in Kent, WA, would assist the Army in its pursuit of advanced food preservation technologies to expand the variety and quality of combat rations for our soldiers. 

$1.0 million for “Advanced Boat Lifts for Navy Small Boats Program”

These funds will help the Navy procure additional advanced hydraulic boat lifts that increase the lifespan and reduce maintenance costs for small boats in the Navy.  The boatlifts, a product of Sunstream Corporation in Kent, WA, are currently being utilized in Naval bases around the country.

$5.7 million for “Mid-Infrared Semiconductor Laser Technology for Aircraft Protection”

This critical funding would enable the Air Force to conduct final tests and accelerated fielding of a laser technology to combat the most advanced man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS).  The technology has been developed by Aculight in Bothel, WA.

IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY PROVISION:

“I am pleased that this bill also included my provision for the National Defense University (NDU) Technology Pilot program,” said Smith. “Having worked for many years to improve our military and the Pentagon through the use of technology, I am proud to work with the experts at NDU who are continuing to leverage our technological innovations to maintain the most advanced military in the world."

$1.0 million for National Defense University

Technology Pilot Program - $1.0 million

The purpose of this project is to conduct research and analysis to determine how the United States can maintain its competitive edge against other military adversaries at a time when commercial information technology (IT) is readily available on the global market. Through a series of workshops, conferences, research papers and publications, the NDU has developed new strategies to deal with this issue.

 

Today, U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) gave the keynote address at the Distributed Diagnosis in Home Healthcare Conference (D2H2) held in Arlington, Virginia to discuss the importance of Health Information Technology (Health IT).  The University of Washington is one of the main organizers for this national conference on health information technology. The purpose of the conference is to bring stakeholders together to discuss ways to improve the quality of care and patient wellness and outcomes by transforming the delivery of healthcare from a central, hospital-based system to one that is more patient-centered, distributed, and home-based for both the developed and developing countries.

One of Smith’s top priorities is to provide access to quality, affordable health care. Smith believes that under the current paper-based healthcare system, patients and their doctors lack instant access to medical information. This lack of connectivity and shared knowledge leads to medical errors, increased costs, and inefficiency.

At the conference, Smith noted, “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.  The use of information technology can be used as a tool to increase the efficiency of the healthcare system, improve the quality of care for patients, and decrease costs to the federal government, which is facing record deficits.”

Smith believes that Congress can play a significant role in helping the healthcare industry adopt electronic health records and utilize other health IT technologies. As Smith has noted in the past, one of the biggest barriers for physicians to use health IT is cost.

Today, Smith said, “the federal government can help by providing funding, whether through grants for pilot projects, tax credits, or loans.  The federal government can also help facilitate the growth of local, statewide, and regional health information networks so that providers in a particular community are able to communicate and share health data so that patients have seamless, continuous care among various providers.  In addition, the federal government can help establish standards so that interoperability can be achieved.  Lastly, Congress should enact strict privacy and security measures so that the integrity of patients’ health information is not compromised.”

To this end, Smith, along with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (R-WA) have introduced a bill H.R. 4331, the Medicaid Access Project Through Information Technology Bill (MAP IT). This legislation would authorize the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to conduct two-year pilot projects in selected states to demonstrate the beneficial impact of health IT on chronic-disease case management for the Medicaid population.

The project, as proposed in the legislation, would give chronic-disease patients and caregivers access to their own medical records and enable them to track their own health information through personal health records. The project will also give patients access to a single source of information on chronic disease and include several channels of communication with health educators.

In return, physicians and caregivers will have access to complete, current treatment and health-status information for chronic-disease patients, using a Web-based virtual-management tool. An effective health IT chronic-disease-management program, such as this one, could result in a more than 3-percent reduction in overall Medicaid program costs while improving the access and quality of care.

“It’s appropriate that the University of Washington is a leader in organizing this conference,” said Smith after making his remarks today. “Washington State is a national leader on health IT.  Madigan Army Hospital on Ft. Lewis, WA is one of only two sites in the United States where medical information is shared between the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. Already, the Northwest Physicians Network (NPN), based in Tacoma, and Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS), based in Spokane, are national models for the integration of health IT. The NPN is developing a network of health-care providers in the South Puget Sound area to share medical information over a Web-based system. INHS has a network of more than 35 sites in two states, and its use of electronic medical records and telemedicine allows for the delivery of long-distance diagnosis and quality health care to rural areas. Also, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, WA is a national leader in terms of their implementation of personal health records for their patients, where patients are able to view their record and lab results online, make appointments online, and communicate with their doctor online.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) submitted a statement for the Congressional Record with his support for H.R. 4954, the SAFE Port Act. The bill is a comprehensive, bi-partisan bill that will address one of the most significant challenges identified by the 9/11 Commission: an attack at our ports. As Smith said in his statement for the Floor, the legislation will “enhance our security, improve the efficiency of trade and provide necessary funding for the critical missions of our Coast Guard, Customs and Border Agents, and others involved in the maritime industry.” 

In his statement, Smith acknowledges the importance of the ports in Washington State, particularly the Port of Tacoma.  He notes that “it is the nation’s sixth largest port by cargo container volume, it handled over 2.1 million containers last year and continues to be a major economic engine in the South Sound region.”

Smith goes on to state that “the SAFE Port Act takes many critically important steps to prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  This bill strengthens our domestic and international security efforts by making improvements to high-risk cargo targeting and tracking systems.  The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to deploy nuclear and radiological detection systems to our major ports by the end of next year.  Ports will also have the much needed resources they need through the Port Security Grant Program to improve facility security.”

He also notes that “screening containers prior to its arrival at our U.S. ports is critical and I am pleased to see that the Department of Homeland Security is working to evaluate new radiological and other detection devices for use at foreign seaports.  I believe these new technologies will arm our security officers with improved information and allow us to better protect our critical infrastructure.  The bill also includes improvements to our international screening programs: the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).”

The complete text of his statement is available on his Web site at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/wa09_smith/morenews/20060504fs.html

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 421 – 2.

U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) was pleased that today the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of HR 32, the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act. The bill now goes to the White House where it is expected that President George W. Bush will sign it into legislation. The Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act would:

1. Expand the scope of trademark violations to include sale of counterfeit labels (patches, medallions, etc.) and;

2. Increase penalties for trademark violations so that not only the counterfeit products themselves would be seized and destroyed, as required by current law, but that assets gained from or used in the production and/or sale of counterfeit goods would also be seized and destroyed. 

“This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Smith. “Federal law enforcement officials estimate that sales of counterfeit goods now total approximately $500 billion a year. That’s a staggering figure that hurts commerce in the United States. This bill would not only help American businesses by cracking down on counterfeiters, but would also strengthen our hand in negotiating trade agreements with other countries where counterfeiting of U.S. products is a major problem.  Having these stronger laws on the books in the U.S. will allow the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate stronger trademark protections with our future trade partners.”