Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding House passage of H.R. 2701, the FY2010 Intelligence Authorization Act:

“I am pleased to see that H.R. 2701, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 passed the House of Representatives today. This bill clarifies our policies, provides vital funding and authorities for our intelligence community in the field and strengthens Congress’ ability to conduct oversight.  

“This bill fully supports our intelligence community. It provides the resources and tools necessary for our intelligence professionals to address emerging threats around the globe and provides more than ample resources to address our current conflicts.  It also installs additional safeguards and mechanisms that enhance Congress’ ability to carry out its oversight responsibilities.

“This legislation makes important investments to maintain current satellite manufacturing capabilities and encourages the intelligence community to continue to work with the commercial imagery industry to improve them. It also encourages the Administration to review ways to improve the ability of the U.S. aerospace industry to be more internationally competitive. Intelligence support is essential to effectively administer the regulation of our exports and this legislation clarifies that the Director of National Intelligence has a role in supporting a review of our controls.    

"We must do more to reform our export control regime, which currently jeopardizes our national security by making it difficult for U.S. companies to compete internationally. Restricting U.S. companies from competing internationally threatens to erode our country’s position as a leader in military and dual-use goods and technologies. That in turn hurts the viability of American industry and will make us reliant upon international companies for these vital technologies within our defense apparatus and that undermines our national security.
"To be clear, we must not pull back all restrictions on military and dual-use exports. What we must do is strike a balance between more stringently protecting important information that would otherwise expose our national security and allowing U.S. companies to compete with goods and technologies already readily available and traded on the global market. Right now our current regulatory regime is not only hindering U.S. companies, but it is also creating the real possibility that we may soon have to rely on foreign companies for our defense needs – and that undermines our national security. This is an issue that must be addressed.

“Further, this bill makes significant investments to enhance our cybersecurity capabilities – the intelligence community needs the ability to stop threats that arise in cyber space and respond quickly and with the best technologies.”



Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) testified before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity regarding a bill he introduced last July, the Military Family Leave Act of 2009. The bill provides military families with the ability to spend time with their deployed or deploying loved ones or take time off of work to address personal or family issues that may arise in connection with a deployment.  Specifically, the legislation would provide two weeks of unpaid leave to the spouse, children, or parents of a member of the military who receives notification of deployment or is currently deployed.

To see Congressman Smith testify before the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity click

More about the Military Family Leave Act

While the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act added a provision to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allowing military families to take time off for a number of reasons connected with a deployment, not all employees are eligible under current law. The Military Family Leave Act of 2009 seeks to ensure that all military families have the ability to take at least two-weeks of unpaid leave in response to an upcoming or current deployment of a loved one.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after being briefed this morning on the Air Force’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker:

“I am pleased to see that the Department of Defense and the Air Force are moving forward with Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker.  It is critical that we replace our current aging fleet and provide the warfighters with a new tanker that will meet their current and future mission requirements.

“After several delays, the new RFP seems to have addressed a number of concerns raised in the last round of bidding, and will factor in the operation costs of the aircraft over its service life. Though the changes are minor between the draft and the final RFP released this afternoon, the RFP seems to more clearly lay out the overall criteria being used in the selection process and will help clarify the bidding process.

“As the Air Force moves towards the goal of awarding a contract in September, I will continue to follow the process closely to ensure the competition is fair, open, and transparent so that all proposals are evaluated on equal merit. Any contract awarded must provide the best product to support our men and women in uniform in the most cost effective way possible.

“Again, I am happy to see that the Air Force is now moving forward with providing our men and women in uniform with this vitally important piece of equipment. I hope that the new RFP will lead to an equitable and open tanker competition and ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”


Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) reaffirmed his commitment to restoring fiscal discipline and reducing our nation’s deficit by voting for pay-as-you-go legislation. The legislation ensures that all new spending is paid for and does not add to the deficit.

“I supported pay-as-you-go legislation in the 1990s and I strongly support it now,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “In order to restore our economy and ensure long term, sustainable economic viability we must reign in government spending and reduce the federal deficit. PAYGO helped to take us from deficits to surpluses in the 1990s, and it will do so again”

The PAYGO bill passed today is a critical part of Congressional efforts to restore fiscal discipline. It is based upon the bipartisan PAYGO law that was in place in the 1990s and helped turn massive deficits into record surpluses. The 1990s PAYGO law was allowed to expire in 2002, which contributed to the dramatic turnaround from a surplus of $236 billion in 2000 to average deficits of more than $443 billion annually for the past 8 years.

PAYGO laws will once again help protect against reckless, debt-financed tax cuts and spending increases, while ensuring that we prioritize investments in critical areas like job creation, education and health care that will strengthen our economy.  

Today, Congressman Adam Smith, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Congressman Dave Reichert, Congressman Norm Dicks, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Jay Inslee, Congressman Brian Baird, and Congressman Rick Larsen sent a letter to Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp urging the Army Corps of Engineers to continue working at full speed to complete the study phase of the Howard Hanson Dam fix and move into the design and construction phase of the project.

The delegation called on the Corps to explain in full how they plan on completing the study phase by June, 2010 in order to ensure that the project can be considered for fiscal year 2012 construction funding. The delegation also requested a meeting with Major General William T. Grisoli, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, to review this timeline and impress upon him the importance of this project for families and businesses in the Green River Valley. Members of the delegation also requested a conference call with Army Corps leadership and local officials to discuss the Howard Hanson Dam project and give them an opportunity to ask additional questions.

“Our priority at the federal level is to achieve the safest and fastest permanent fix to the Howard Hanson Dam, which requires no delays in the study, design, and construction of the project…This decrease in the probability of flooding is a critical achievement. However, it is difficult for those who live, work, or own businesses in the Green River Valley to rest easy until the full protection offered by Howard Hanson Dam is restored.” the members of the delegation said in the letter.

 The full text of the letter follows:

February 4, 2010


Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp

U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General

U.S Army Corps of Engineers

441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000


Dear Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp


A little more than one year ago, severe storms and record water levels held behind Howard Hanson Dam damaged the dam’s earthen abutment, resulting in a reduction in the amount of water that can safely be stored behind the dam. Left unchecked, the flood protection the dam could provide at that point in time was estimated at a one in three probability of flooding.


Since that time, the federal, state, and local governments have worked together to provide interim measures of protection until a permanent fix for the dam can be fully implemented to restore flood protection to the full authorized levels.  Progress has been made and due to those interim measures, including the completion of the grout curtain,  work on the dam's drainage tunnel, repair and improvement of levees, and deployment of flood barriers in the most vulnerable areas, the estimated probability of flooding has decreased to one in thirty.  This decrease in the probability of flooding is a critical achievement. However, it is difficult for those who live, work, or own businesses in the Green River Valley to rest easy until the full protection offered by Howard Hanson Dam is restored.


Our priority at the federal level is to achieve the safest and fastest permanent fix to Howard Hanson Dam, which requires no delays in the study, design, and construction of the project.  It is our understanding that the study phase of the project is progressing at an aggressive pace and has a goal of completion in June of this year.  Given the realities of the federal budget process, it is imperative the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) achieve this goal in order for the construction project to be included in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 President's budget submission to Congress. Furthermore, the completion of the study in June provides ample time for the USACE to focus efforts on the design phase of the project for the remainder of FY2010 through FY2011, allowing for full advantage to be taken of construction funds in FY2012. We would like clarity on the policy regarding the progression of construction projects as they move from the completion of a study into the design and engineering phase.


To review this timeline, the ultimate completion of the project, and to discuss the importance of achieving it, we respectfully request a meeting with Major General William T. Grisoli, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations.  We view his experience as former Commander of the Northwestern Division as an invaluable asset.  This experience affords him a local perspective of the importance of Howard Hanson Dam, not only to those living downstream but for the economic engine it protects in the region.  We are looking forward to working with Major General Grisoli as well as we did with his immediate predecessor, Major General Temple.


Additionally, we request the participation of a member of your direct team in a conference call with our local elected leaders. The inner workings of the USACE are not an intuitive process and leaves those working through it with many questions. In particular, it has become evident that prior experience with the USACE does not directly translate when working on a dam safety project.  It would be most helpful to have these important differences acknowledged and directly addressed in a forum that offers time for questions to be asked and answered by the USACE with one voice.  


We are acutely aware that a permanent fix for Howard Hanson Dam is not a simple task and that such construction projects take time to execute properly and safely.  Thank you for your attention to these requests.  We look forward to your response regarding the timeline as we have laid it out and the immediate next steps necessary to achieving it.