Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) voted today in favor of an amendment that will restore funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which supports programming such as the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). More than 82 million people watch PBS a week and more than 70% of American households watch PBS at least once per month. On top of this, over 30 million people a week listen to NPR.

“PBS is an important part of many Americans’ lives,” said Smith. “From Sesame Street to Morning Edition to American Experience, many people around the country rely on public broadcasting for news and educational entertainment for their children. PBS is a vital cultural component for this country and I was pleased to see that the funding for the CPB was restored.”

The amendment passed in the House 284 to 140.

“I will continue my efforts to ensure that this funding is included in the final version of the bill,” said Smith. ”It is too important to fall victim to partisan politics.”

The Senate will soon take up its version of the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill and, further down the line, conference with the House version. It is expected that funding for CPB will be restored.

 

"I am pleased that H.R. 2863, the Fiscal Year 2006 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill, passed the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).  “As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am particularly focused on national security policy and am proud to support legislation that funds our defense missions and will support the servicemen and women of our Armed Forces and our Veterans.”

The bill appropriates $408.9 billion, including $45.3 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Included in the bill are earmarks that will specifically affect the members of our military in the Puget Sound region, including:

IN THE PUGET SOUND REGION:

Specifically, the Authorization Bill included the following provisions that directly affect units in the Puget Sound region:

$30 million in school impact aid for schools nationwide (including schools in the Puget Sound area):

The Education Department’s Impact Aid program provides supplementary funds to school districts nationwide to support the education of nearly 600,000 children of servicemen and women. This bill allocates $30 million in Defense Department funding for impact aid spending in FY 2006.

$30 million for “Up-Armored HMMWV and Tactical Truck Crew Trainers”

This top priority of the Washington Army National Guard will allow soldiers to train for convoy operations in humvees and other tactical trucks, a critical need for soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq.

$964.1 million to fully fund President Bush’s request for the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)

This critical program would adapt and upgrade Boeing 737s, 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.

$4.5 million for M-65 Bismaleimide Carbon Fiber Prepeg development for Automated Placement Machines

This funding would go towards qualifying an improved carbon fiber tape technology used to process large, high quality aircraft structures. This technology, developed by Hexcel Structures, a company with manufacturing facilities in Kent, WA, will be used to more efficiently manufacture the military’s F-35 and F-22 aircraft.

$3 million for Mounted Warrior Nomad Command: Control Head Up Display (C2HUD)

For use by the Stryker Brigades stationed at Fort Lewis, the C2HUD, an integral part of the Mounted Warrior system, will increase force protection and unit lethality by providing the combat crewman’s situational awareness link to the vehicle’s command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems remotely via secure, encrypted means.  The head up display will operate in all soldier mission areas, employing information management systems, operations planning, situational awareness, terrain navigation, long range sensors, target acquisition, and identification systems while mounted, dismounted and at platform crew stations. The system also has significant potential for commercial spin off for the technology and is designed by Microvision, a Puget Sound-based company.

TECHNOLOGY:

“Having worked for many years to improve our military and the Pentagon through the use of technology, I am pleased that this bill also included my provision for the National Defense University (NDU) Technology Pilot program,” said Smith. “I have long supported this important program and 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 million for the NDU Technology Pilot Program

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.

$4.5 million for the Green/Infrared Illumination Pointing Laser (GRI2P)

This top priority of the U.S. Special Forces Command will give our special forces access to a new combat laser system designed for operations that require either a green or infrared based long-range laser system.  This advanced technology, developed by B.E. Meyers in Redmond, WA, will help our special forces perform successfully in a broader range of missions.

$5 million for the Biomarker Molecular Toxicology Initiative

This funding will support highly advanced molecular biology research at the Institute for System Biology in Seattle.  This research will help the military understand why certain humans are more or less susceptible to certain illnesses such as those resulting from exposure to chemical or biological toxins.  

OVERALL PROVISIONS IN THE FY 06 DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS BILL

More broadly, the bill appropriates $45.3 billion as a “bridge fund” for the first six months of FY 2006 for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism. Within these funds, this includes $32.2 billion for operations and maintenance accounts, including $1.7 billion for added fuel costs and extra funds for body armor and $147 million for Army National Guard Recruting. The measure also contains $2.9 billion for various procurement accounts, including $170 million for up-armored Humvees, $20 million for bolt-on armor kits for trucks and $35 million for roadside bomb jammers. Finally, the bill provides $8 billion in extra funding for military personnel accounts, including $6.8 billion for incremental wartime costs of pays and allowances for Active Duty and Reserve personnel, $735 million for recruting and retention and $231 million for an expanded death gratuity.

PAY INCREASES:

Overall, the bill provides a 3.1% pay raise for members of the Armed Forces and increases amounts paid for active duty enlistments, reserve enlistments and active-duty re-enlistments.

 

ssion, including Chairman Anthony Principi, James Bilbray, Philip Coyle and James Hansen are meeting in Portland, Oregon today to conduct a regional BRAC hearing where concerns and questions are raised about the BRAC implementation process. Mr. David Graybill, President and CEO of the Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and a Member of the Tacoma/Pierce County BRAC Citizen’s Task Force, is submitting the letter on behalf of the Members of Congress.

“BRAC is one component of the Pentagon’s effort to ensure that our military is the best and most effective fighting force in the world,” said Smith, an honorary Co-Chair of the Tacoma/Pierce County BRAC Citizen’s Task Force. “That being said, I have several concerns that I would like the BRAC commission to consider and address, including the impact on the reduction of personnel at McChord AFB.”

The entire text of the letter is below.

Mr. Anthony Principi

Chairman

2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission
2521 S. Clark St., Ste. 600
Arlington, VA 22202

 

Dear Chairman Principi,

First, we would like to thank you for your work on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.  The difficult task that you and the Commission members are undertaking is critical for the future of our nation’s military.  We appreciate your willingness to serve our nation in this capacity.

We believe that the Defense Secretary’s BRAC recommendations largely recognize the important military assets we have in the Northwest.  Our distinctive geography, unique military assets and dedicated servicemen and servicewomen, combine to position Northwest facilities as highly valuable for our nation’s security.

However, we have some questions and concerns about the implementation of the proposed Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the proposed reduction in jobs affiliated with McChord AFB.  While we applaud the Department of Defense’s willingness to better leverage local assets and improve efficiency through joint basing, the lack of detailed information about the proposal has made it difficult to truly evaluate the merits of this proposal.

As the Commission considers the Defense Department’s proposals, we urge you to seek clarification on a number of critical points:

What is the correct number of position cuts at McChord AFB?  As you are aware, on May 13, 2005, the Department of Defense released its list of proposed closures and realignments of military installations.  That list proposed 567 positions at McChord Air Force Base (424 military billets, 136 civilian positions and 7 net mission contractors).  Recently, however, Senator Maria Cantwell received an e-mail from the Air Force listing the job reductions related to realignment at McChord as 629.  Clarification is needed as to what the actual recommended number of job reductions related to McChord within the joint-basing initiative is.

How was this number derived?  What functions are recommended to be combined and what is the basis for expected efficiencies?  Which jobs specifically are recommended for elimination?  To date, we have been unable to learn how the Defense Department developed this job reduction proposal.  We have spoken with the commanders of both Fort Lewis and McChord AFB, as well as members of Air Mobility Command, none of whom have a sense of how this figure was derived.  The figure appears to be driven entirely by a small number of individuals within the Pentagon, making it difficult to evaluate the process by which the figure was developed.

We have also been unable to obtain clarification as to which positions would be eliminated under joint basing.  Without clarification on this point, it is impossible to determine the merits of the Department’s joint basing proposal, especially in terms of its impact on mission readiness.

What is the impact of the proposed job reduction on mission readiness?  As noted above, it is difficult to answer this question without clarification on how the job reduction number was derived or which positions are proposed for elimination.  However, it is worth noting that the proposed cuts at McChord have the potential of affecting not only the administration of the base, but also the administration of the 62nd Airlift Wing’s mission.  As you may know, the Army maintains two separate command structures at neighboring Ft. Lewis: a garrison command for oversight of the base and its functions, and a mission command for oversight over the units deployed from the base.  The Air Force, on the other hand, combines both garrison command and mission command within the same structure at McChord AFB: the 62nd Airlift Wing.  Cuts in the administration of the base may have the unintended consequence of cutting into the administration of the air mobility mission of the Wing.  While local Air Force personnel agree that some efficiencies might be achieved through jointness (such as in the area of contracting), they have also informed me that given the high operations tempo at McChord AFB, they do not know how 567 positions can be eliminated at McChord AFB without affecting their ability to carry out their mission.

With these questions in mind, we respectfully request that you carefully examine the Joint Base Lewis-McChord proposal and its impact on the air mobility mission.  Like the Commission, we want to ensure that our nation is well positioned to protect itself from external threats and that its Armed Forces have the appropriate manpower they need to fulfill their mission.  We look forward to working with you to implement the current base realignment and closure round to ensure the improved security of the United States.

 

Sincerely,

 PATTY MURRAY                                                                  MARIA CANTWELL

United States Senator                                                               United States Senator

                                               

NORM DICKS                                                                       ADAM SMITH

Member of Congress                                                                Member of Congress

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) today voted in favor of H.R. 2862, the Science-State-Justice Appropriations for FY 2006. While Smith was pleased that funds were included for several important local projects, he is concerned about the lack of funding of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Formula Grants, both of which help fund increased policing efforts in local communities.

“I am pleased that the Committee included their support for valuable programs and organizations such as the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Gang Prevention Program and World Vision’s ‘Vision Youth Program’ which leads local tutoring and mentoring activities,” said Smith. “These, among others, are programs and organizations that I have lent my support to in this year’s appropriations process.”

Smith, however, is concerned about the level of funding for the COPS program which he sees as critical for the safety and security of the citizens of Washington State.

“Washington State’s first responders rely on these funds for the personnel, training, support and equipment they need,” said Smith. “In the last ten years, the COPS Hiring program has added hundreds of officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies. As a result, crime has gone down in our local communities. Over the past few days, I have voted for several amendments that would fully fund this program and it is my hope that when this bill reaches the conference committee, COPS funding will be fully implemented.”

Smith is also concerned about the funding level for Byrne grants, given to States to help in the fight against crime. Many task forces created by Byrne grants in Washington State are facing massive cuts. In the Ninth Congressional District, alone, three task forces will be affected. The Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team, located in South King County, will be cut by 76%, the Tacoma Regional Drug Task Force will be reduced by 62% and the Thurston County Narcotics Team will be reduced by 20%.

“The cuts to these programs are disappointing because they have been effective partners in fighting crime,” said Smith. “As a former prosecutor, I know how important it is for law enforcement agencies to have the staffing and tools needed to effectively fight crime. The Byrne Grants were an effective tool in providing our crime fighters with what they need. It’s my hope that, during the conference committee, greater funding will be provided for Byrne Grants and I will work with my colleagues toward that goal.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) on Thursday, June 9th 2005, successfully attached language to the State Department Authorization for FY 2006 and 2007 urging the U.S. to do more to address global poverty.

Due to Smith’s efforts, the House International Relations Committee, of which Smith is a member, agreed to include language declaring that the elimination of extreme global poverty should be a top priority of U.S. foreign policy. It also says the U.S. should work with all the players involved, including developing countries, donor countries and multilateral institutions to coordinate policy to address global poverty. Finally, the language urges the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to eliminate global poverty, which should include foreign assistance, foreign and local investment, technical assistance, private-public partnerships and debt relief.

Smith has been deeply focused on the issue of global poverty and in March, 2005 he participated in the Trade and Poverty Forum in Nagoya Japan.  The forum brought together leaders from the business, political and NGO communities to develop strategies for combating poverty.  Smith understands that our nation must make a greater commitment to poverty alleviation and view these efforts as an investment that can foster global stability and security, build alliances throughout the world and reduce the sense of hopelessness that drives so many extremist organizations like the al Qaeda network.  He is committed to helping marshal the political and social will to address global poverty. 

“Global poverty is a destabilizing force around the world. I am pleased that my colleagues on the International Relations Committee also recognize that this is a very serious issue and that the United States has a moral obligation and a strategic need to help eradicate global poverty.”

 The State Department language is one more step in Smith’s broader efforts on this issue.  Smith plans to introduce a broader House Resolution this week that will call for a comprehensive study that will detail the American strategy for addressing poverty.