Press Releases

U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement today concerning the passage of the FY06 Budget Resolution:

"I am disappointed that, once again, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a budget that is fiscally irresponsible, that underfunds investment to key priorities like education, health care, law enforcement and Veteran's benefits. This year, the federal government has a projected deficit of $427 billion - the largest in our Nation's history according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  But this year's numbers are simply the latest in a horrible trend.  Two years ago, we had a deficit of $375 billion.  Last year we had a deficit of $412 billion. Each of those deficits set the record for highest deficits of that time.  More troubling is that, unless we change our policies, our existing debt of almost $8 trillion will continue to explode. 

The budget passed yesterday contains no plan to bring the budget back to balance and even fails to show any deficit figures at all after 2010. I voted for a Democratic alternative budget that increases funding for education and our veterans.  At the same time, the alternative budget that I supported reaches balance in 2012 and included pay-as-you-go rules that ensures the government pays for any new spending, and results in $182 billion less public debt than the Republican budget at the end of the first five years.

The Republican majority chose to reject this budget alternative and adopted a resolution that impairs our economic growth and hurts some of our most vulnerable citizens, our children and our disabled veterans.

The Republican budget resolution is bad for public education. We must invest in our future and K-12 and higher education are crucial to ensuring that our nation remains competitive and vibrant. Yet, the Republican resolution cuts funding for education programs by $2.6 billion for 2006 and $38 billion over the next five years. These cuts include all $1.3 billion for vocational education and other elementary, secondary and college aid programs. The Democratic alternative budget actually provided $4.5 billion more for 2006 appropriations for education, training, and social services. This funding would not only have preserved current education programs, but it also would have supported increases in high priority programs such as access to post-secondary education.

I was also particularly troubled by the manner in which the Republican budget treats veterans. With our continued presence in military operations around the world, including on-going commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will have more wounded soldiers coming home who will need access to quality health care.  Instead of ensuring that all of our veterans will have access to this critical resource, the Republican budget resolution cuts veterans' health care.  Over the next five years, this critical area is funded at $14 billion below current levels.  Additionally, the Republican resolution requires the Veterans' Affairs Committee to make $798 million in cuts to other veteran's benefits over the next five years. This cut can only be achieved by imposing new fees for veterans' health care, or by reducing veterans' benefits such as disability pay, pension benefits or education benefits. This is wrong. The Democratic alternative budget that I voted for contains $1.6 billion more than the Republican budget for veterans' health care programs for 2006 and $17 billion more over the next five years, while still continuing to reduce the deficit.

The lack of fiscal responsibility and cuts to necessary funding for areas such as veterans are just some of the reasons why I voted against the Republican budget resolution. It is time for Members of Congress to get serious about fiscal responsibility and begin to take steps to get our country's budget on the right track. If we continue to spend without restraint, whether it is for tax cuts or program spending, we are placing the economic burden on future generations instead of dealing with the problem now.  We must have an open and honest debate with Americans about what we can truly afford.  We must continue to fight for budgets that are fiscally responsible and preserve the best of American values and ideals.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) announced today that he along with five other Members of the Washington State Delegation have written a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Appropriations asking that they restore the irresponsible cuts to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program which the President eliminated in his Fiscal Year 2006 Budget.

According to the letter, “The Administration’s FY 2006 budget fails to include any future funding for the COPS program. As a result, local Washington law enforcement will be crippled.” The letter goes on to state that, “In the last ten years, the COPS Hiring program has added over 400 officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies.”

“These funds are critical for the safety and security of the citizens of Washington State,” said Smith. “The COPS program has been a central and successful component of our fight against crime. It is shameful that the current Administration would eliminate funding for COPS and, in doing so, risk making our communities less safe.”

The complete text of the letter is below:

March 17, 2005

The Honorable C.W. Bill Young                       The Honorable David Obey Chairman                                                          Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations                            Committee on Appropriations

H-218 Capitol                                                  1016 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC  20515                                   Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Young and Ranking Member Obey

As members of the Washington State Delegation, we are opposed to cuts in assistance to local law enforcement. We are writing to ask that the Appropriations Committee please increase the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding to reflect the needs of the first responders in our communities and restore the Bush Administration’s proposed cuts for the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget.

The Administration’s FY 2006 budget fails to include any future funding for the COPS program.  As a result, local Washington law enforcement will be crippled.  Washington’s first responders rely on these funds for the personnel, training, support and equipment they need.  Under legislation passed by the House last year, the COPS program should be funded at $1 billion. Unfortunately, the program only received approximately $500 million in FY 2005.

The President has gone out of his way to thank our police officers for making our country more secure.  We believe the full extent of our gratitude is measured in how we fiscally prioritize their technical, operational, and hiring needs.  Furthermore, we do not agree with assertion that the COPS program is ineffective.  In the last ten years, the COPS Hiring program has added over 400 officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies.  We strongly believe that the Fiscal Year 2006 funding levels for the COPS program must be increased to continue to show the federal governments commitment in helping our law enforcement community do their job.

Without full funding, Washington law enforcement will suffer and, as a result, so too will the security and safety of Washington State citizens. As such, we respectfully request that the Appropriations Committee reconsider the President’s cuts in the COPS program and restore funding to these important programs.

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to working with you in a bipartisan manner on this issue.

Sincerely,

//SIGNED//

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement today concerning yesterday’s passage of H.R. 27, the Job Training Improvement Act:

“I am disappointed that yesterday, the House of Representatives failed to address the needs of American workers. Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was an opportunity to improve this important act and address the changes taking place in our economy.  Unfortunately, HR 27 will do little to enhance the training and career opportunities of unemployed workers.  Instead, the legislation would eliminate the dislocated worker training program, reduce and restrict services for in-school youth, siphon off funds used to serve veterans and individuals with disabilities, and allow discrimination in hiring based on an individual’s religious beliefs.

It’s bad enough that this bill does so little for American workers, but it also undermines key civil rights protections.  Specifically, I am deeply concerned that the bill repeals current civil rights protections by allowing faith-based organizations to discriminate in hiring based on religion with Federal taxpayer dollars. This is in clear violation of the core principle of separation of Church and State and it is my hope that this legislation will not be enacted into law.   This provision is as needless as it is troubling.  We can and must ensure civil rights protections – unfortunately, a Democratic amendment that would maintain these protections failed to pass.

Finally, though the Republican Party often claims to be one of accountability, this Republican-led bill removed many of the federal performance and accountability measurements that make WIA a quality workforce program. This is not a way to bring accountability to the federal government.

I believe it is critical that Congress do more to create job and training opportunities.  This bill takes a step backwards in our efforts to reach this goal.  It is my hope that Congress will work towards meaningful reforms that will do more, not less, to protect workers and create opportunity for all Americans.”

 

U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement today concerning President Bush’s FY 2006 Budget:

“President Bush’s FY 2006 Budget is another example of lost opportunity and fiscal irresponsibility. The budget that President Bush is proposing today is a farce and is purposely misleading the American people. By not including in this budget expected costs for continued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $2 trillion dollars in expected funds for Social Security reform or the costs of making permanent his first-term tax cuts, Bush is using smoke and mirror tactics in claiming that this budget is bare bones and fiscally responsible. This budget adds more than $4 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. As a matter of fact, the federal deficit is projected to reach a record $427 billion this year alone.

The budget also has its priorities all wrong.  For example, his budget cuts funding for the The Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS program, which provides grants for state and local agencies to hire police officers.  The COPS program, in the President’s budget, would be cut by $480 million, and his budget slashes funding for local firefighters by $215 million, cuts of 80 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

In addition to the cuts to the COPS program and firefighters, in the budget for 2006, discretionary spending -- meaning other than entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare -- would rise just 2.1 percent, lower than the expected rate of inflation. Within that category, extra money would go to defense and homeland security, leaving most other discretionary programs frozen or falling.

Along with sub-standard increases in needed discretionary funding, the proposed budget does not adequately address the needs of the servicemen and women in our military.  Also, given the current strain on our military, the President’s budget only provides a bare minimum pay raise of 3.1 percent.  It does not provide targeted pay raises to the troops who we most need to retain:  senior enlisted personnel and junior and warrant officers. The budget raises health care costs for hundreds of veterans, imposing new co-payments on prescription drugs and enrollment fees that will cost veterans hundreds of millions of dollars. Callously, the President’s budget does not contain funding to increase the death gratuity for the families of those killed in service to our nation.  Although funding may be included in the upcoming supplemental request, those funds will only cover fiscal year 2005. Our efforts overseas will not end with the fiscal year on September 30, 2005—why should this important funding? Finally, this budget puts off a decision to permanently increase the end-strength of the Army and Marine Corps – at a time when we are engaged around the world and our military is stretched thin. 

Finally, as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and someone who cares deeply about making sure the Pentagon leverages technology, I’m committed to making sure our servicemembers have the best and most advanced equipment in the world.  I’ll work to protect R&D and technology funds at the Pentagon so that we maintain technological superiority.

In addition to not fully funding the critical needs of our military, the President’s budget does not go far enough in cutting corporate farm subsides. It is well past-time that we started to eliminate corporate farm subsidies in this country. Farm subsidies are fiscally irresponsible and that’s why I voted against the bloated farm bill. Not only do they hurt our trade relations with other countries, but they stunt sustainable development efforts overseas. Corporate farm subsidies are the worst form of government handouts and that is why I am introducing legislation to create bipartisan commissions to identify wasteful government programs and subsidies, and recommend them for elimination. The Program Reform Commission Act and the Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission Act would urge Congress to promptly consider legislation that would implement the Commissions’ findings and recommendations.

This is a time when we need to be truly fiscally responsible and put everything on the table, including the President’s tax cuts for the very wealthy. The Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, yet they can’t control their spending. As Members of Congress, we need to lay out a reasonable plan with the right priorities to get us back on track to a balanced and fiscally responsible budget."

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) announced today that he has again been named to serve on the House Armed Services (HASC) and House International Relations (HIRC) Committees. On HASC, he will maintain his seat on the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee and will, once again, serve on the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.

“It is an honor for me to continue to serve on the House Armed Services Committee,” said Smith. “The men and women serving in our Armed Forces are truly America’s guardians and it is a privilege for me to work with them and help to ensure our nation’s security. I will continue to keep vigilant on unconventional threats facing our military. Having Ft. Lewis and McChord Air Force Base in my District continues to highlight the importance of serving on the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. I look forward to continuing my work to make our Air Force and Army the best air and land forces in the world.”

On the HIRC, Smith will continue his role on the Asia/Pacific Subcommittee and will add the Europe and Emerging Threats Subcommittee to his responsibilities.

“Washington State has huge ties, not only in trade, but also in culture and family, to the Asia-Pacific region of the world. I’m glad that I will continue to serve on this important subcommittee and am excited about my new role on the Europe and Emerging Threats subcommittee.” Smith continued, “This opportunity will allow me to shape America’s foreign policy and continue my work on international economics and development.”