Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement today concerning the passage of H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act:

“I was pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives took the initiative and passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. This is a step in the right direction that will allow the United States to maintain its scientific and technical edge. Increasing the number of stem cell lines available to scientists is vital to realize the full potential of embryonic stem cell research. It is important that people realize that the bill that was passed today implements strong ethical guidelines to ensure federal oversight of the research. These guidelines include using embryos that were created for fertility treatment purposes only and are in excess of clinical needs.  Another requirement is that the individuals choosing to donate excess embryos must provide written consent and cannot receive any financial compensation.”

The 22 stem cell lines currently in existence are aged, contaminated with mouse cells and were developed with outdated techniques. With passage of this bill, the United States will be able to do advanced medical research that could lead to cures for numerous diseases and afflictions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis, which affect millions throughout the world.

I will be hosting a Life Sciences Forum at the Renton City Hall on Wednesday, June 1st from 1:00-4:30 p.m. that will be focusing on the role that local, state and federal governments can play in encouraging research and development in the life sciences arena. Embryonic stem cell research is fundamental in ensuring that the United States remains the home of the latest advances in medicine and science.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement concerning the announcement from the Pentagon on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC):

“Today, the Pentagon released the results of the BRAC Commission and announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) will be undertaking an unprecedented initiative in Washington State by creating joint-base Lewis-McChord. As a result, installation management functions will be consolidated at Fort Lewis.  According to the Defense Department estimates, as a result of this action, the economic impact will be limited to .2 percent of the economic area employment. The Pentagon has said the primary rationale for this recommendation is to promote jointness and reduce excess capacity. Also, the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center in Tacoma, Washington will be closed with a resulting 20 members of the military being transferred to other locations. I will be working closely with leaders in the community to ease the transition as a result of this decision.

The BRAC Commission has recognized the fact that the Northwest is home to military assets with joint capability that are flexible, are prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice, and are located in a strategic region with easy access to the Pacific Theater.

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked closely on force structure issues, and I’m proud to represent thousands of military servicemen and women and their families. Those stationed in Washington State have been a central component in the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq. Over 6,000 active-duty troops based at Fort Lewis along with almost 4,000 National Guardsmen from the State have fought in Iraq. Also, over 2000 Washington State based airmen and women have been involved in air refueling and transport operations in Iraq. Additionally, sailors stationed in Everett aboard the USS Lincoln, and airmen at McChord Air Force Base, both active-duty and reserve, aided in recovery efforts in helping out the South Asian tsunami victims. Washington State is ideally located for a number of contingencies.

Today’s decision is a testament not only to the flexibility and jointness of the military forces in Washington State, but to the hardworking community leaders that have done so much to make the military an integral part of the fabric of our communities and our everyday lives.

I am proud of the work our servicemen and women do across the United States. In the coming weeks, we will be learning more details about troop movements and realignments and their impact on our community. I, along with my Congressional colleagues, will be focusing on this issue and I look forward to working with communities in my own District and across the State in ensuring that our military servicemen and women get the resources that they need as well as the communities that will be affected by any realignments.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith, (D-Tacoma), made the following statement today on the failure of the COPS Funding:

“Once again, the Republican majority has failed to support legislation that would fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Today, a motion on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives would have allowed an amendment to reauthorize the COPS program for FY 2006 -2008. The vote failed 227 – 198, along party lines. The program has been one of the most effective crime prevention efforts authorized by Congress. In Washington State alone, the COPS program has provided funds to add over 400 officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies.

Without full funding, Washington State law enforcement will suffer as will the safety and security of all those living in the state. Cutting this funding will have a detrimental effect that will resonate in every state in the country. Since 1994, COPS has distributed billions of dollars to advance community policing efforts. As a former prosecutor, I know the positive impact that community policing efforts can have in our cities and states. We must fund this important program and give local law enforcement the help they need in their fight against crime.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) reacts to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Statement on Commitment to Diversity:

“I want to take the opportunity today to applaud Steve Ballmer and the Microsoft Corporation for pledging to include diversity in the workplace as part of the company’s legislative agenda.

Microsoft is a leader in the business community on gay and lesbian rights and is taking the right approach by revisiting their legislative agenda to include policies that create a fair working environment. Supporting federal legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is also a positive position.

I have long been an advocate for gay and lesbian rights and I am pleased to work with Microsoft in moving its agenda forward on erasing discrimination from the workplace. I will also continue my efforts on issues of shared concern such as Internet safety, intellectual property rights and a healthy business climate.

Microsoft is a leader on non-discrimination issues in corporate America. Its commitment to diversity both within and outside the company stands as a testament to its philosophy of equality for all people – regardless of their sexual orientation.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement today concerning his opposition to the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA):

“Trade is an important component of international relations and development, particularly to Washington State. We must craft a trade policy that provides American workers and businesses with real opportunity to grow and that strengthens our economy. Time and again, the Bush Administration has failed to promote an economic competitiveness policy and it is our businesses and workers who will be hurt. The Bush Administration’s most recent trade agreement, the Dominican Republic – Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), does not balance the needs of American workers and companies, nor the needs of the nations with which we trade. It is for the reasons below that I will oppose this agreement on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Bush Administration’s fiscal irresponsibility -- including its misguided philosophy on spending and tax cuts -- has undermined our ability to invest in education and skills training that are desperately needed in this country. Domestically, the President has not done enough to help American workers retrain and compete on the international stage. Too often, the Administration, under President Bush, has chosen economic policies that damage our ability to have a sound policy on trade. For example, we must take strong steps forward with investment in research and development programs that allow government to partner with universities and businesses to spur innovation. The Administration’s massive tax cuts have undermined our ability to empower Americans to further their education and skills training. I am deeply dismayed that they have pursued policies that leave many workers who qualify for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits without access to the program simply because the Administration either can’t or won’t provide adequate funding. If this failure to invest in TAA and other critical domestic workforce programs can be said to be a problem now, it will only get worse if the Bush tax cuts are made permanent. We cannot stand by quietly as the Administration’s fiscal irresponsibility continues to undercut necessary domestic investments.

Globally, through its trade policy, the Administration has done little to help workers overseas. With CAFTA, an opportunity has been missed to put forward an agreement that balances the need to open global markets to American workers and businesses and promotes growth and stability overseas. As negotiated by the Bush Administration, CAFTA actually weakens the existing workers’ protections currently available under the United States’ existing trade preference programs with the region. Similarly, on environmental protection, rural development and public health, this agreement falls short. While CAFTA rightly includes protections for the intellectual property rights that are so important to our region, the Administration failed to take such a serious approach on workers’ rights and environmental protections.

CAFTA and indeed many of the Administration’s economic policies falls far short of creating a cohesive and comprehensive policy on trade.”