Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding H.R. 5613, the Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 349 - 62.  Smith voted for the bill.

“The President’s proposed Medicaid regulations would have forced deep cuts to federal Medicaid funding to Washington state.  Those regulations would have put in jeopardy important support for millions of beneficiaries nationwide by slashing $18 billion in funding to states for essential Medicaid programs and services.  The bill we passed tonight will prevent – at least temporarily – cuts that would particularly affect children, the elderly, and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid,” Smith said.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted in favor of H.R. 2634, the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation Act.  The bill will build on past success in relieving 30 poor countries of roughly $80 billion dollars of debt since 1996.  Debt relief for the world’s poorest countries is one of the most important ways we can help the developing world and reduce extreme poverty in the areas of most dire need.  The bill passed by a vote of 285 – 132.

“Rising food prices highlight how essential it is for our country to take a lead in the fight against extreme poverty around the world.  Debt relief programs are some of our most effective measures to aid poor nations in getting back on their feet.  While faced with stifling debt payments, it is nearly impossible for heavily indebted countries to make progress on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, general health care, education, and poverty reduction. This bill directs the Administration to seek an agreement with the World Bank, IMF and the Paris Club to expand debt relief to up to 24 additional impoverished countries,” Smith said.

H.R. 2634 would require countries meet certain criteria before qualifying for debt relief, which relate to:

*          human rights,

*          public financial management,

*          budget transparency, and

*          open and fair elections.

The bill requires savings from debt relief to be used toward a wide variety poverty reduction activities.  For example, Uganda used its $57.9 million in savings from debt relief in 2006 to invest in energy and water infrastructure, primary education, malaria control, and health care.    

Smith is a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is the sponsor of H.R. 1302, the Global Poverty Act, which would require the Administration craft a comprehensive strategy to reduce global poverty.

The Senate must now consider H.R. 2634 before the President can sign it into law. 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today pushed the top Defense Department acquisition official to provide more information related to the recent tanker decision involving Northrup Grumman / EADS and Boeing.  Smith questioned Under Secretary for Defense for Acquisition John J. Young, Jr. during a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Air & Land Forces and Sea Power & Expeditionary Forces Subcommittees.

“This decision raises a number of serious issues, from procurement process concerns to trade and economic implications.  The key point that came out during my exchange with Under Secretary Young was that the Air Force did not take into account the illegal government subsidies provided to Airbus by European governments – the very subsidies that our government is currently suing the European Union over.  As our own government has argued, subsidies like these allow companies unfair advantages against U.S. competitors and are illegal under international trade rules.  The Air Force procurement officials, however, did not take that critical factor into consideration meaning that as a question of policy it is up to Congress to take a closer look.  Watch for Congress to do so in the coming days,” Smith said.

Partial Transcript

Smith: Did you consider the subsidy issue?  Because one of the things we are really wrestling with here is that we are starting a WTO case against Airbus for unfairly subsidizing its competition against U.S. products.  It’s obvious the case is still in development but for years it hasn’t been terribly debated that Airbus is subsidized.  At a minimum they have a bank out there that they can take risk against that they know will cover them, which is no small item.  So … how do we balance as a government that we have on the one hand complaining about a subsidized competitor and then on the other hand giving that subsidized competitor a contract when arguably part of the reason they are able to keep their costs down is because they are being unfairly subsidized?

Young:  Again, the laws and regulations really don’t let me address in any way the subsidy issue that will be settled in another forum on a nation-to-nation and on an international forum. What we evaluated was the products that were proposed.  I did have a discussion with the Air Force to try to make sure, and I would do this in any process; it’s not just this particular program.  We don’t want an industry to buy in to a program because usually that comes back to haunt us in terms of increasing costs and other factors.  My understanding is that the Air Force assessed both team’s proposals; both team’s proposals present accurate assessments of their costs, and both teams proposals, I will tell you, include profits for both makers.  So we believe they both proposed their costs plus profits, we evaluated those performance and those costs benefits to the government.

Smith: So just so I can clarify: your decision therefore was based in no way on the subsidy issue, whether they were subsidized or not.  So in essence what you are saying is, if that is an issue of public policy, it would be an issue of public policy that Congress will have to address.  It was not addressed in your original decision…if that was an issue that was important to the country it would be something that Congress would have to deal with.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award a long-anticipated contract to build aerial refueling tankers to Northrop Grumman/EADS rather than Boeing:

“I am very disappointed in the Air Force’s decision on the tanker contract.  While I am sure that the Air Force’s process was fair and open, I look forward to reading in detail their justification, as the Defense Department had previously identified Boeing tankers as highly-rated, cost-effective updates to the force.  Our regional producer had a very competitive bid, and I am disappointed that the Air Force did not select our home-grown, innovative solution to their needs.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today announced that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his Global Poverty Act, paving the way for its consideration by the full Senate.  Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden and Ranking Member Richard Lugar signed on as cosponsors, joining original Senate sponsors Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, and Maria Cantwell.

“Global poverty is one of the greatest moral and security challenges facing the world today. Nearly 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day and close to a billion live on less than $1 a day.  This bill represents a major advance in our effort to address global poverty.  After introducing this measure in the House for the past several years, I am pleased to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee take significant steps toward its final passage,” Smith said.

The Global Poverty Act:

  • Declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015.
  • Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out that policy.
    Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid, trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community, businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability.
  • Requires that the President’s strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables.
  • Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

Smith, along with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), introduced the Global Poverty Act of 2007 in the House of Representatives on March 1, 2007.  The bill passed easily in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote on September 25, 2007.  The bill was introduced in the Senate on December 10, 2007.  Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the bill, clearing the way for its consideration by the full Senate. 

Video of Smith’s September 25, 2007 speech in favor of the Global Poverty Act can be found at http://www.house.gov/list/press/wa09_smith/morenews/globalpovertypass.html

Smith first introduced the Global Poverty Act in 2005.