Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he will oppose the Iraq supplemental funding legislation.

“If the costs associated with this spending bill were offset, I would support this bill,” Smith said. “However, this funding package before Congress today is fundamentally flawed, irresponsible and it is unacceptable. I am of the firm belief that we must pay for it now. We should not simply add the $87 billion to the already growing federal debt, as this bill wants us to do. If we are not willing to make this sacrifice today, we are piling on the enormous debt future generations of Americans will inherit.”

Smith still believes that the only responsible policy to protect both the Iraqi people and our national security is to support our troops and support rebuilding efforts in Iraq.  “I don’t agree with those that want to bring all of our troops home and abandon our mission in Iraq,” he said.  “I am hopeful that this specific spending package will be rejected, and the White House will work with us in finding a way to pay for these costs.”

Smith attempted to offer an amendment that would pay for the President’s request by scaling back the tax cuts going to Americans in the top tax bracket over the next ten years – those earning over $311,000 a year would receive $600 billion in tax cuts, instead of $690 billion under the existing Bush tax cut plan.

“Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in Congress did not permit my amendment to be considered,” Smith said. “We should have been given the opportunity to consider this proposal, as well as any spending cuts people would like to put on the table.  I am open to all options to find a way to pay for this spending.”

“I am voting against this bill in the hope that it will be rejected, and that President Bush will come to Congress and work with us to fully fund our troops and the rebuilding of Iraq, but does so in a fiscally responsible manner.  It would be in the best interest of our military, the Iraqi people, and our country to do so.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today his support in a letter circulating through the House of Representatives for HR 3150 and S. 1634 which are amendments to the supplemental appropriations bill which would offset the spending request to fund operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

To pay for the $87 billion price tag of the request, this proposal would reduce the tax breaks given to the wealthiest one percent of Americans, those whose adjusted income is over $300,000 per year or more. 

“We simply cannot afford to put the cost of these operations on a credit card,” Smith said. “The $87 billion request should be paid for.  The budget deficit will total $455 billion in 2003 and $475 billion in 2004.  I support repealing the top tax rate cut to pay for the bulk of the operations because this is the fairest way to share the sacrifice of war, and it will have a much lower impact on our economy and the American people than dramatically cutting health care services or infrastructure investments.”

The total cost of the first Persian Gulf War was $80 billion and our allies paid for the vast majority of this burden.  In 2002 dollars, that war cost the U.S. taxpayers only $4 billion, just 5 percent of the war’s cost.

The letter calls, “on the Administration to make good on the promise of shared sacrifice and fiscal responsibility by paying for the cost of the supplemental proposal.”

The complete text of the letter follows this release. 

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October 3, 2003
The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our strong support for HR 3150 and S. 1634, which was recently debated in the Senate as an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill. This proposal would offset the spending request to fund operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

To pay for the $87 billion price tag of your request, this proposal would reduce the tax breaks given to the wealthiest one percent of Americans, those whose adjusted income is over $300,000 per year or more. The rate adjustment would be made during the final six years of the 10-year tax cut plan; instead of receiving $690 billion in tax cuts during that decade, America's wealthiest would still receive about $600 billion in cuts.

We strongly support the American military personnel who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have fought bravely and have risked their lives to bring security and democracy to these troubled nations. We all agree that Congress and the Administration must do whatever it takes to do right by our servicemen and women and to succeed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly, this will require additional funds. We look forward to working with you to secure the needed funding; however, we simply cannot afford to put the cost of these operations on a credit card.

The $87 billion request should be paid for. The budget deficit will total $455 billion in 2003 and $475 billion in 2004. Repealing the top tax rate cut to pay for the bulk of the operations is the fairest way to share the sacrifice of war, and it will have a much lower impact on our economy and the American people than dramatically cutting health care services, funding for homeland security or infrastructure investments, for example

If we are not willing to make this sacrifice today, future generations will inherit an enormous national debt. Every day our soldiers put their lives at risk so that the Iraqi people - and ultimately the people of the entire Middle East as well as the United States -- will have a secure, stable and prosperous future. Meanwhile, their families back home have made enormous personal and financial sacrifices, struggling to make a living and raise a family. Despite these sacrifices by our men and women in uniform we have not asked enough of our nation's wealthiest citizens.

As you are aware, the total cost of the first Persian Gulf War was $80 billion and our allies paid for the vast majority of this burden. In 2002 dollars, that war cost the U.S. taxpayers only $4 billion, just 5 percent of the war's cost. We call on the Administration to make good on the promise of shared sacrifice and fiscal responsibility by paying for the cost of the supplemental proposal.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) is pleased to announce today two grants totaling more than $1.9 million for Washington state schools.

The Puyallup School District has been selected to receive over $1.4 million in funding under the Smaller Learning Communities Program for a period of three years.  Clover Park High School also received funding under the SLCP in the amount of $500,000.  The SLCP's goal is to support academic achievement through awarding competitive grants on behalf of large public high schools for  the planning and implementation or expansion of small, safe, and successful learning environments in those schools.

Facing an exploding school population, the Puyallup School District won funding for their new program “Three New R’s for Puyallup” which represents a collaboration project of three large high schools in the Puyallup School District.   The centerpiece of the plan is a three-year advisory program.  Groups of approximately 22 students in the same grade level will meet together regularly, sometimes for extended periods of time, with one teacher-advisor and a group of peers.

With a very diverse student population, Clover Park High School won funding to engage in a significant restructuring of its learning environment into smaller learning communities and it is in the process of changing all aspects of its structure, operations, support services, and how the staff works and learns together.

“Public education is one of the most important services that a society can provide to its citizens,” Smith said. “I congratulate the Puyallup School District and Clover Park High School on their grants and I applaud their innovation in coming up with solutions to the ever-challenging environment in public schools today.”

Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) today announced the results of a Congressional study on the effects of concurrent receipt, also known as the Disabled Veterans Tax, which affects more than 25,000 veterans in Washington State.

Under current law, veterans with 20 years of military service are entitled to receive retirement benefits from the Department of Defense.  In addition, veterans who incurred service-related disabilities are entitled to receive disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  If a veteran has both 20 years of military service and a service-related disability, however, the veteran’s military retirement benefit is reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the amount the veteran receives in disability compensation.

“In effect, this is a Disabled Veterans Tax, which taxes our veteran’s income at 100%,” said Smith. “This is unfair and should be changed.  In the Ninth District alone, veterans are losing $33.5 million a year in benefits.  It is unfair to impose this tax on the men and women who have served our country so proudly and who have sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy every day.”

Smith has cosponsored the Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2003, passage of which would end the Disabled Veterans Tax for any veteran with over 20 years of military service.  Smith also signed the discharge petition associated with this bill that would force the bill to the floor for a vote and is actively engaging other Members of the House of Representatives to sign the petition and support the Retired Pay Restoration Act.

Congress enacted this unjust law in 1891, and it affects approximately 560,000 disabled military retirees.  Military retirees are the only federal employees affected by the offset.  For 18 years, legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives to correct this long-standing inequity.  The Retired Pay Restoration Act has received strong bipartisan support in Congress.

“I believe that all our veterans should be justly compensated for their service and dedication, and I am hopeful that we can reach agreement on concurrent receipt and pass this critically important legislation,” said Smith.  “I remain committed to seeing concurrent receipt not only enacted, but fully funded and will do all I can to further its progress.”
 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) today on Fox News Channel called for a delay to some aspects of the recent tax cut proposed by President George W. Bush to pay for the $87 billion in additional funds for spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I absolutely support spending whatever it takes to be successful.  I also think it would be nice to be able to pay for this instead of just putting it on a credit card,” Smith said on the Fox News Channel. “We should delay some aspects of the tax cut, particularly those going to the highest income earners in this country.”

“Repealing the top tax rate cut would allow us to actually pay for these operations,” Smith said.  “The highest income earners would still get a tax cut, just a smaller one.  Last week, President Bush repeated his call that Congress make the tax cuts permanent, costing the U.S. Treasury $1.1 trillion through 2013.”

“Why isn’t the President willing to sacrifice some of his priorities – like the trillions of dollars in tax cuts primarily aimed at the wealthy that haven’t done anything to create jobs and improve the economy here at home?  This effort requires a sacrifice, but there is no sacrifice involved in simply putting this on a credit card where the bill must be paid by future generations of Americans.”