Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today voted for the $462.9 billion National Defense Authorization conference report for fiscal year 2007.  Included in the bill are $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan operations, $20 billion more than the President requested.  As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a conferee on the bill, Smith was pleased a number of his top priorities were included in the final legislation.

“I, along with other Democratic Armed Services Committee members, pushed for the adequate funds to rebuild our forces in light of the extended wear-and-tear of the Iraq war,” Smith said.  “I am pleased the bill includes these key funds and provisions, but more must be done.”

On Iraq:

  • Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The bill requires fiscal year 2007 Iraq spending be reviewed by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Although Smith preferred a non-expiring mandate for the SIGIR, he was pleased the bill provided the SIGIR oversight through fiscal year 2007.

“The Iraq reconstruction effort is fraught with waste, fraud, and abuse, and the Special Inspector General has been our only tool for uncovering and addressing the problems,” Smith said.  “It was critical to expand the Inspector’s mandate in this bill so we can do more to rein in this gross mismanagement of taxpayer money.”

  • No Permanent Military Bases in Iraq.  For the first time, this legislation prohibits spending for military bases for the permanent stationing of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq, or to exercise economic control of Iraq’s oil resources. 

“This provision sends a critical message to the Iraqis: we are not occupiers, and the Iraqis must take control of their security,” Smith said.

  • IED Jammers. The legislation requires the Defense Department to provide by the end of fiscal year 2007 Improvised Explosive Device (IED) jammers for all United States military wheeled vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan outside secure military bases.

“IEDs are a chief hazard to our troops in the field,” Smith said.  “Neutralizing them should be a top priority.”

Also included in the bill are provisions for:

  • Army and Marine Corp Readiness.  The legislation provides $23.7 billion to replace, repair, and maintain military equipment.  The bill also requires the Army properly budget for upkeep of equipment used in the hunt for terrorists.
  • TRICARE for Guard and Reserve. The bill grants full, affordable access to TRICARE for all National Guard members and Reservists, regardless of activation or employment status. This provision is a key aspect of an earlier bill Smith introduced, H.R. 4468, a quality-of-life bill for Guard members and Reservists.
  • TRICARE and prescription drug access.  In addition, the bill places a one-year moratorium on any TRICARE cost-share increases or retail prescription drug co-pay increases. 
  • Servicemembers Group Life Insurance.  Full premiums for Servicemembers Group Life Insurance are paid for servicemembers in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
  The legislation provides $23.7 billion to replace, repair, and maintain military equipment.  The bill also requires the Army properly budget for upkeep of equipment used in the hunt for terrorists.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 398 to 23.  The Senate must approve the legislation before it can be signed into law by the President.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement on H.R. 5825, a bill that would egregiously expand executive surveillance power, which passed the House of Representatives tonight:

“We face a real threat from violent Islamic extremists.  To fight them effectively, we must not only hunt them aggressively at home and abroad, but also preserve our ability to motivate other countries to fight with us.  At the same time, we must stand firm in the defense of our nation’s ideals.

“This bill would accomplish none of these critically important goals.   Instead, the President and the Republican Leadership attempted to put Democrats on the horns of an election year dilemma:  either egregiously expand the executive branch’s authority outside bounds set by the Constitution, or be accused of voting against the hunt for terrorists. 

“We do not know to what extent the President’s current surveillance system breaks from current law, but all indications point to a blatant circumvention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  This bill would not only codify that violation; it would vastly expand the President’s surveillance power beyond any check or balance.  It would allow the President to spy on Americans without a warrant for an unlimited period of time.

“Given the President’s track record of misused and overreaching executive authority, it is hard to understand why we should now be expected to give him even more latitude to use surveillance techniques that may very well be struck down by the Supreme Court.  Such an additional failure on the part of the Administration and this Republican Congress would further hamper our efforts to stop terrorism.” 

“The President had the basic tools he needed within the framework of the FISA but chose to ignore them.  This bill is not some common-sense move to track terrorists.  It is not a needed update to FISA.  It is huge expansion of executive power that should concern all Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement on the Republican-backed “compromise” military commissions act, H.R. 6616:

“I oppose the legislation creating military commissions because it would sacrifice our moral leadership in the world, delay our fight to prosecute and punish terrorists, and risk our troops. 

“This measure would give this President and any future President the power to reinterpret laws and agreements which bar mistreatment of prisoners whenever and however he feels it convenient.  It would allow the President to weaken the Geneva Conventions and undermine our moral leadership in the world while further risking the safety of our servicemembers.

“This move by the Administration and Congress will confuse our policies surrounding prisoner treatment.  Our policies should be unambiguous:  the United States does not condone torture.  This proposal runs counter to fundamental American values. 

“Five years after 9/11, we still have not convicted a single terrorist.  We absolutely must be able to bring our terrorist enemies to justice through a system that is tough, fair, and effective.  This bill will likely fail Supreme Court scrutiny just as the Administration’s previous system failed, and for the same reasons.  This latest failure would mean we spend more time debating proper treatment of terror suspects instead of making sure they face swift, tough consequences.  And make no mistake: al-Qaeda will not wait around for us to get serious about bringing them to justice. 

“This bill is another example of this President and this Republican Congress failing to win the fight against terror.  The policies of President Bush and the Republican Congress are making us less safe.  It is time for a new direction.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today announced more than $10 million in funds for projects in Washington’s Puget Sound region.  The funds were included in H.R. 5631, the Defense Department appropriations conference report for fiscal year 2007.

“I am pleased to have been able to work with my colleagues to secure these key funds for Puget Sound area defense projects,” Smith said.  “These projects will, among other things, fight cancer, improve aircraft safety, and fight drug trafficking.”

Smith announced funding for the following projects in H.R. 5631:

  • $2 million for targeted radiation cancer therapy at Madigan Army Hospital. This funding will be used to provide innovative prostate cancer treatment therapy for military personnel and veterans.  Calypso Medical Technologies, a Seattle biomedical company, will carry out this program using their cutting-edge targeted radiation tumor tracking technology. 
  • $1 million for high-tech aircraft inspections.  These funds will facilitate the development of advanced systems to perform more efficient and effective airframe maintenance inspections on the Air Force’s C-5 aircraft.  Quest Integrated, Inc. of Kent, WA, will carry out this program with its Induction Thermography System (ITS) technology.
  • $350,000 for WA National Guard Counter-Drug Linguist Program.  This funding will allow the WA National Guard to hire additional soldiers to use their specialized military skills as linguists to translate and analyze evidence of criminal drug trafficking.  A 2002 GAO report concluded that the US does not possess adequate linguist assets.  This critical program, operated out of Ft. Lewis, specifically targets foreign narco-terrorists, narco-traffickers and transnational criminal organizations.
  • $3.3 million for advanced military food preservation technology.   Smith worked with fellow Washington delegation members to secure funds for this demonstration program for advanced food preservation technologies to enhance combat ration quality.  These technologies include high-pressure processing developed by Avure Technologies in Kent, WA and Washington State University’s microwave processing technology.
  • $1.7 million for small boat lifts for the US Navy.  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 used on naval bases around the country.
  • $1.7 million for laser defenses against man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS).  This critical funding would enable the Air Force to conduct final tests and accelerated fielding of a laser technology to combat advanced MANPADS.  Aculight in Bothel, WA developed this technology.

The House passed the bill tonight by a vote of 394 to 22.  The Senate must now approve the conference report before the President can sign it into law.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today joined his colleagues to pass legislation addressing the massive humanitarian crisis in Sudan:

  • H.R. 3127, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, passed last night in the House of Representatives.
  • H. Res. 992, which urged the President to appoint a Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan, passed tonight by a vote of 414 to 3.
  • H. Res. 723, which called on the President to take immediate steps to help improve the security situation in Darfur, Sudan, with a specific emphasis on civilian protection, passed tonight by a vote of 412 to 7. 
, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, passed last night in the House of Representatives.

Smith was instrumental in passing these measures.  As a member of the House International Relations Committee, he cosponsored all three pieces of legislation and voted to pass them in committee and on the House floor.

“The United States must continue leading the international effort to end the atrocities in Darfur,” Smith said.  “More must be done soon to stop the violence, but these measures are good steps in the right direction.  Taken together, they will increase pressure on the Sudanese government to accept an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force.”

Today’s outcome builds on Smith’s previous successful fight to pass the House version of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in April.  The bill builds on the Sudan Peace Act of 2004 by strengthening sanctions on those responsible for the atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan.  It also authorizes more funds for peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.  The measure adopted by the House last night was the final conference version, which must now be signed by the President before it becomes law.  By contrast, H. Res. 992 and H. Res. 773 are House resolutions, which do not require consideration by a conference committee or signature by the President.