Press Releases

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.”

    # # #

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.”

Washington DC - House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith (WA - 09) released the following statement after President Obama announced this evening that Osama Bin Laden has been killed:

"Osama Bin Laden orchestrated a devastating attack on our nation nearly 10 years ago designed to destroy our way of life. Since that day, he has continued to call for the death of innocent Americans and those who disagree with his distorted, violent ideology.

"His death is a victory for all those who champion freedom around the world and sends a resounding message to violent extremists who seek to do our country harm.

"I applaud the hard work of our men and women in the armed services and intelligence community, the President and all the individuals who have worked tirelessly to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice."

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the Army’s announcement that Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been selected to be a Net Zero pilot installation for water consumption and waste production:

“Today’s announcement confirms that Joint Base Lewis-McChord is leading the charge to reduce the environmental impact of all U.S. military installations. The Army received over 100 applications from 60 installations to be a part of the sustainability program, ultimately selecting only six pilot installations in each of the energy, water, and waste categories to strive towards Net Zero by the year 2020. 

“The goal of Net Zero is not only good for the region’s ecosystem, but increasing the U.S. military’s operational efficiency will aid missions in areas of the world where energy and water supply are in question. It will also lessen our dependence on foreign oil, making America more energy-secure. Greater environmental sustainability would boost quality of life on-base and improve relationships with surrounding communities. All of this is financially prudent and will save taxpayer dollars in the long-run. 

“I applaud the men and women of Joint Base Lewis-McChord for aggressively pursuing the goal of becoming Net Zero in water use and waste production while still upholding their vital mission of training and deploying combat-ready troops.”

# # #

Background courtesy of the Army Energy Program:

· A  Net ZERO Installation applies an integrated approach to management of energy, water, and waste to capture and commercialize the resource value and/or enhance the ecological productivity of land, water, and air.

· A Net Zero WATER Installation limits the consumption of freshwater resources and returns water back to the same watershed so not to deplete the groundwater and surface water resources of that region in quantity and quality over the course of a year.

· A Net Zero WASTE Installation reduces, reuses, and recovers waste streams, converting them to resource values with zero landfill over the course of a year.

Rep. Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk reported that outstanding issues around the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement have been resolved, and the Administration is ready to move forward:

“Today we are one step closer to the approval of a trade agreement with Panama. I support this agreement, which improves a key global relationship and brings economic opportunity to the United States and Washington’s South Sound.

“I am pleased to see Panama has taken the necessary steps to resolve outstanding issues, including exchanging important tax and banking information through the U.S.-Panama Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA). These changes improve on the enforceable labor and environmental provisions already included in the agreement. The Panama FTA will create jobs in the U.S., ensure fairness and accountability for American exports, while also solidifying our strategic relationship with a long-time American ally in Latin America.

“The South Sound’s export-driven economy, including the Port of Tacoma, will benefit as this agreement moves forward and more U.S. goods reach the growing market of Panamanian consumers.”