Press Releases

Today Donald Rumsfeld resigned his post as Secretary of Defense.  Rumsfeld’s ouster comes on the heels of a staggering repudiation of the President’s Iraq policy by the American people on November 7, 2006.

“The President is absolutely correct to accept Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation,” U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) said.  “It is unfortunate that it took a stunning loss at the polls, more than 2,800 American lives, tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, billions of taxpayer dollars and Abu Ghraib to convince the President to do so.  Rumseld’s resignation is an opportunity for a new direction in Iraq, and the President must seize it.”

According to a November 4 editorial in the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times under the headline “Time for Rumsfeld to go”:

"Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.”

Smith first called for Rumsfeld’s resignation following the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004.  He has also called for a new direction in Iraq beginning with a phased redeployment of our troops from the country.

Smith is also a key Democratic voice on the war in Iraq.

  • Smith is the only Democrat serving concurrently on the House Armed Services and the House International Relations Committees.  This dual assignment provides him a unique perspective on the military and diplomatic issues in Iraq and around the world.
  • He’s also the co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a large, moderate group of Democrats who fight for a strong national defense. 
  This dual assignment provides him a unique perspective on the military and diplomatic issues in Iraq and around the world.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) announced today a November 1, 2006 deadline for applications for nominations from his office to a U.S. military academy.
“It is an honor for me to be able to nominate outstanding young men and women each year to the U.S. military academies,” said Smith. “The academies provide an excellent education and an exceptional opportunity to serve our country.”

Smith may make nominations to four military academies:

  • the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York
  • the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York; and
  • the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut does not require a nomination; however, qualified applicants can request a letter of recommendation from Smith’s office.

Who may apply: To apply for an appointment, a candidate must live in Washington’s Ninth Congressional District be between 17 and 23 years old and be unmarried. Applicants whose parents are temporarily stationed at a military base but maintain legal residence in another state should apply to the congressional office from that district.

How to apply: Applicants should contact their Member of Congress and both Senators and apply to each office.

For further information, visit Smith’s website at www.house.gov/adamsmith or contact Rebecca Snyder in Smith’s office at (253) 896-3775 or toll-free (888) 764-8409.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today submitted the following statement on H.R. 4954, Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act conference report.  Smith was an original cosponsor of the bill, which passed the House early this morning by a vote of 409 to 2:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support the conference report on H.R. 4954, the SAFE Port Act.  This bipartisan legislation makes critical improvements to strengthen our domestic and international security efforts and provides the resources necessary to detect tampered cargo before it enters our ports.  Passage of the SAFE Port Act today is vital to our national security.

“For Washington state, the SAFE Port Act will bring greater regional coordination, new security grants, increased Customs personnel for Puget Sound and development of radiation detection equipment that is both modern and appropriate for the Port of Tacoma’s increased rail capacity. 

“The SAFE Port Act also takes important steps to plan for and immediately recover from any incidents on our docks.  With the increased role of western ports like the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle in our global economy, we must ensure the free flow of commerce.

“Passage of the SAFE Port Act will help protect our communities, our critical infrastructure and our homeland.  The SAFE Port Act will move America in the right direction.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today voted for the $34.8 billion Homeland Security Department appropriations conference report for fiscal year 2007.

“Port and cargo security, first responders, border control – these are all key components of our national security,” Smith said.  “This bill, while not perfect, includes key funds for these essential priorities.”

Among the items funded are:

  • $2.8 billion for border patrol, adding 1,500 new Border Patrol agents.   However, this increase is 500 agents below what Congress authorized in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
  • $1.2 billion for border fences, vehicle barriers, technology and infrastructure.
  • $4.3 billion for port, container and cargo security. 
  • $1.2 billion for high-risk area grants for state and local first responders, including $770 million for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants, $175 million for rail security, and
  • $74 million for other infrastructure protection.
  • $375 million for state and local terrorism prevention grants.

The bill would also overhaul the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and requires the FEMA Director have extensive emergency response and crisis management experience.  It would also prevent FEMA funds from being diverted to other agencies and requires improved coordination between federal, state, and local emergency response organizations.

“Our bungled response to Hurricane Katrina revealed the stunning level of ineptitude that had taken root at FEMA,” Smith said.  “I hope this bill will help ensure this Administration does not repeat its past mistake of hiring someone with political connections instead of real-world qualifications.”

The bill passed the House by a vote of 412 to 6.  The bill must now be passed by the Senate before being signed into law by the President.

 

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.