Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 322 to 96:

“Today marks another milestone in our work to support the men and women of our services and I want to thank Chairman McKeon, all members of the committee and staff for their hard work and commitment to bipartisanship. Producing this bill has been a truly bipartisan effort. I also would like to thank all of my colleagues in the House for the work they put into creating this piece of legislation.

“Overall, this bill prioritizes our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq 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 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.

“There is still much more work to be done, and I look forward to reviewing the Senate’s version of this bill and working with my colleagues here in the House to make sure we send the President a final bill that meets the high standards of the United States Armed Services.”

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For more information, please visit the website of the
House Armed Services Committee Democrats.
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement recognizing National Small Business Week 2011: 

“Small business is the key to our country’s economic future. During National Small Business Week, we honor the accomplishments of dedicated entrepreneurs, whose innovation, risk-taking, and hard work represents the economic engine of our nation.

“Policymakers must remember that government cannot create the spark of ingenuity for a new product, nor the drive to see that idea through to a fully-realized business venture. However we do have the responsibility to foster an environment that encourages new enterprises and helps businesses of the future flourish. This effort includes educating a world-class workforce, rewarding innovation, deploying and improving cutting-edge infrastructure, and balancing federal budgets—overall, setting the stage for successful entrepreneurship and growth.

“With that in mind, I am firmly committed to ensuring that Washington’s small business community continues to thrive. I support economic policies that encourage small business growth, including tax credits and programs that make it easier to navigate the regulations and paperwork often demanded to do business with the federal government.

“We look to the small business community for innovative technologies and practices, job creation for the new economy, and the advancement of American competitiveness in the 21st century. I am proud of the many successful businesses and people of the South Sound region whose efforts in biotech, aerospace, green technologies, and various other fields have created high wage, high-tech jobs, and I am always looking for any way I can help them prosper.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement recognizing National Peace Officers Memorial Day:

“On National Peace Officers Memorial Day, we take time to honor the sacrifice of law enforcement officers who gave their lives protecting the safety of their fellow Americans.

“Today, I am reminded of four members of the Lakewood Police Department who were brutally murdered at the hands of killer set on targeting law enforcement. Each of the fallen, Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Ronald Owens, Officer Tina Griswold, and Officer Gregory Richards, was a parent, a spouse, a friend, and a trusted colleague in the police force. The attack on these officers has had ripple effects for the families who miss their loved ones, and the community whose sense of safety is now diminished.

“It is alarming that 2011 has already seen a 20 percent increase in fatalities over the prior year, including 33 officers killed by gunfire since January 1st.

“Brave men and women risk their lives every day by putting on the uniform and badge. Please take a moment to remember our nation’s law enforcement officers whose extraordinary service and sacrifice has made us safer and protected our way of life.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, made the following statement after the committee passed the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 60-1:

“As the Armed Services Committee concludes its mark up of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, I would like to thank Chairman McKeon, the members of the committee, and staff for their hard work and dedication to the well-being of our service men and women.

"This bill provides our military with the resources and equipment necessary to accomplish their missions and safeguard national security, while also ensuring our troops and their families have support at home that reflects their incredible sacrifice for our nation.

"Although we encountered differences during this markup, members were able to resolve disputes in a respectful manner and uphold the bipartisan tradition of this committee.

“As we move to the floor later this month, I look forward to continuing this conversation with the rest of our colleagues in Congress, while keeping in mind our paramount responsibility to provide resources for our military personnel and their families.”

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For more information, please visit the website for the
House Armed Service Committee Democrats.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the ongoing case of Jason Puracal, an American jailed in Nicaragua on drug trafficking charges:

“I am very concerned about the son of one of my constituents, an American citizen, who is currently being held in a Nicaraguan prison. 

“Jason Puracal was arrested on drug trafficking charges in Nicaragua on November 11, 2010. In the nearly six months Mr. Puracal has been behind bars, the Nicaraguan authorities have presented no evidence linking him to any crime. There are also disturbing reports of Mr. Puracal being mistreated and denied medical care while in jail.

“If an American citizen commits a crime in a foreign country, it is my belief that they should be subject to that country’s judicial system. However, no evidence has been presented up to this point linking Mr. Puracal to drug trafficking.

“My office has been in regular contact with the American Consulate in Nicaragua, requesting better medical attention and more frequent visits for Mr. Puracal in prison. I also had the chance to meet with Mr. Puracal’s mother and sister several months ago, after which I personally called the U.S. State Department to urge direct action in this case.

“I believe, with heightened pressure from the State Department, there is a better chance for Mr. Puracal to have a fair trial. Nicaragua has a history of leveraging prosecutions against U.S. citizens for political reasons, as in the case of Eric Volz, an American whose murder conviction was overturned in 2007 due to a lack of evidence. Even after his conviction was overturned, it took direct involvement by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to convince the Nicaraguan court to finally free Mr. Volz.

“More attention from the U.S. government may be the only way to prevent this continued injustice. Going forward, I will be in contact with the American Ambassador to Nicaragua as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging communication with President Ortega’s administration about our concerns over the lack of evidence in this case.

“Jason Puracal’s next court date is May 16th and I will be closely following the progress of his trial.”