Press Releases

Today, the European Commission dealt a blow to technological innovation in its antitrust ruling against Microsoft. Headquartered in Washington state, Microsoft is a leader in job creation and economic growth in the Puget Sound region and today’s ruling will negatively impact on the economy there.  Congressman Adam Smith released a statement expressing his disappointment that efforts to settle this case have failed.

“Today’s ruling by the European Commission is based on protectionist policy, not on sound economic principles.  This ruling is an unprecedented action on an American company and it will force Microsoft to disclose to its European competitors its most valuable intellectual property assets, thus severely reducing the impact of research and development, which has helped to fuel our nation’s gains in technological innovation in recent years.

The Commission’s ruling also requires Microsoft to develop and distribute a substandard version of its popular Windows program: a version which all software code used to play audio and video has been removed. To have a government entity force a private company to spend millions of dollars designing, manufacturing and selling a product that is inferior is not only fiscally irresponsible but is simply preposterous.  There is no conceivable basis to believe that forcing Microsoft to offer a degraded operating system will promote competition in the European Union.  Rather, this form of government intervention will hurt innovation by tarnishing one of the world’s most recognizable and reliable computer operating systems.

Microsoft worked hard to reach an agreement that would address the European Commission’s concerns, proposing a settlement offer last week that would have offered far more choices and benefits to European consumers. I would urge the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce to encourage their European counterparts to resolve this case in a matter that does not harm U.S. workers, particularly those in the Puget Sound region, U.S. consumers and the American IT industry.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) received the Information Technology Industry Council’s 2003 “Legislator of the Year” award today.

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), representing top U.S. providers of information technology (IT) products and services, gives the annual award to a leader in high-tech policy.

"As co-chairman of the New Democrats, Congressman Smith is a leader in pro-growth policies and has consistently rallied support within the House Democratic Caucus on new ways of growing our economy," said Rhett Dawson, president of ITI.

As co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Smith has promoted pro-growth policies and investment in the technology sector to ensure that the U.S. leads the way in the New Economy and that all Americans can succeed in it.  These policies range from investing in math and science education and worker retraining to expanding IT infrastructure and encouraging R&D investment.

“American economic leadership has always depended on staying at the forefront of technological innovation,” said Smith.  “I will continue to fight for policies that encourage innovation, economic growth, and good jobs.”

The three co-chairs of the House New Democrat Coalition (NDC), Representatives Jim Davis (FL-11), Ron Kind (WI-03), and Adam Smith (WA-09), issued the following joint press release on the 2004 New Democrat e-genda.

The New Democrat Coalition is a leading force in Congress for growing the U.S. economy through technological innovation and has, for the past six years, committed itself to providing the intellectual and policy framework necessary to achieve its goals.  This framework, known as the e-genda, outlines the specific action items necessary to achieve its goal of creating more jobs for Americans, while retaining the U.S. position as a global leader in the creation of jobs in the new economy.

“By offering proposals to jumpstart the tech sector, promote highly skilled, American workers and foster innovation and business development, the New Democrat Coalition’s e-genda provides all the tools needed to recharge our nation’s economic engine,” said NDC co-chair Jim Davis.

This year’s e-genda, highlights seven areas of concentration that will boost our economy and facilitate the growth of cutting edge jobs.:

1.      Retraining American workers for jobs of the future.

2.      Increasing the number and quality of math, science and engineering graduates in the U.S.

3.      Developing the world’s best IT infrastructure

4.      Fueling the research and development necessary to keep the U.S. at the forefront of technology

5.      Promoting employee ownership to incentivize and attract employees

6.      Encourage capital investment in the U.S. economy

7.      Strengthening the economy through fiscal discipline

"Our competitiveness in the global market relies both on the strength of our workforce and the progress of our technology sector; the NDC e-genda maps out key initiatives to stimulate job growth, encourage innovation and promote technological development," said NDC co-chair Ron Kind.

“Lifelong learning and access to job training is critical in today’s ever-changing economy. I, along with my NDC colleagues, am committed to creating a business environment that fosters innovation and provides workers the training they need to assist them in finding jobs or advancing in their current jobs,” said NDC co-chair Adam Smith.

The entire text of the 2004 e-genda follows.

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New Democrat E-Genda 2004:

Agenda for Job Growth and Innovation

New Democrats have always recognized that innovation is the key to growing our economy and creating the cutting edge jobs of the future. Our goal remains advancing American technological and economic leadership by fostering an atmosphere of innovation that outpaces our rivals. To do so, we must make the financial and intellectual commitment to these issues, not simply provide America with empty rhetoric. The impact of this effort has broad implications, including creating new U.S. jobs, keeping more jobs in the U.S., protecting our national security, maintaining U.S. global leadership, and improving our quality of life.

Retraining American workers for the jobs of the future.  New Democrats believe that lifelong learning and job training is critical to workers in the 21st Century.  We are committed to ensuring that those people who need job training receive services to assist in finding jobs or help in advancement of current job.  We believe that a comprehensive reexamination of government retraining programs is critically important.

Action Item #1:  As a first step in this process, the NDC support HR 3881, which expands Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to include service workers.

Increasing the number and quality of math, science and engineering graduates in the US.   An atmosphere of innovation must be built on a foundation of education and a skilled workforce.  Quality education at all levels – most importantly strong math, science and engineering training - from early childhood through higher education, is critically important.  In China 70 percent of all college undergraduates received degrees in math, science and engineering. In the United States it's only 5 percent.  This issue is central to our ability to compete and win in the world marketplace.

Action Item #2: The NDC will continue to strongly advocate for full funding of No Child Left Behind, including teacher training for math and science education.

Action Item #3:  The NDC supports full funding of the Tech Talent bill.

Developing the world’s best IT infrastructure.  The rollout of high-speed broadband is an important driver to economic growth and a key differentiator from our global competitors.  Today, the US ranks 11th in the world in broadband access behind countries like Korea, Canada, Belgium and Japan. 

Action Item #4:  The NDC believes we must establish a national broadband plan.

Action Item #5: The NDC supports passage of a next generation broadband deployment tax credit

Fueling the research and development necessary to keep the US at the forefront of technology. Today, over 90 percent of R&D by US companies takes place in the US.  But to keep it here we must provide an atmosphere of innovation that make the US more attractive than anywhere else in the world.

Action Item #6: The NDC supports expanding and making permanent the R&D tax credit

Action Item #7:  The NDC supports increased funding for basic research through NSF, NASA, NIH and DOE.

Promoting employee ownership to incentivize and attract employees.  Stock options are a vital tool for furthering the atmosphere of innovation that has driven our nation’s technology leadership by giving employees a stake in their company.  

Action Item #8:The NDC supports passage of HR 3574, the Stock Option Accounting Reform Act.

Encourage capital investment in the US economy.  We must help the private sector create jobs while investing in the future growth of the new economy.

Action Item #9:  The NDC supports passage of HR 1162, the Invest in America Act, which would bring an estimated $135 billion of new capital into the U.S. economy to invest in hiring new U.S. workers, making infrastructure investments, or fueling R&D.

Strengthening the economy through fiscal discipline.  America’s deepening federal deficit and debt is causing investors to loose confidence in our economy. Left unchecked, the long term impact will be higher interest rates, which slow economic growth and penalize Americans who carry debt.

Action Item #10: The NDC will continue to work toward balancing the federal budget and paying down the nation’s debt.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) introduced legislation today that would extend Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits to displaced service workers, such as software programmers and other hi-tech workers. TAA provides income support, job training, job searching, relocation assistance and health care tax credits to workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade.  Currently, TAA is available only to workers in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors; for example, thousands of local ex-Boeing employees recently received TAA assistance due to an increase in the domestic-market share of Airbus Industries.  

Labor Department reports indicate that outsourcing is increasingly taking a toll in major sectors of the service economy, including higher wage jobs.  According to Labor Department data, 543,000 jobs were lost from January 2001 through January 2004 in the information/technology sector alone.

"This legislation is critical to those in the service sector who are losing jobs due to offshore outsourcing," said Smith. "There is a fundamental need to enact legislation that recognizes the reality of our changing economy."

In addition to extending TAA eligibility to service sector workers, the bill would also expand the eligibility for TAA for Firms to include service sector firms.  In addition, the bill would make several changes to improve the administration of the existing TAA program such as simplifying the eligibility requirements for participation, clarifying the types of training programs covered, and improving the health care tax credit.  While many trade-displaced workers are eligible for the health care tax credit, few are able to take advantage of this program.  The changes included in this bill will help workers maintain comprehensive, affordable coverage for themselves and their families.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) called on his colleagues in the U.S. House to immediately pass legislation to provide a manufacturing tax credit to help the country’s struggling economy and avoid pending European trade sanctions on American goods and services.   

“Congress has been idle on this issue for too long,” Smith said.  “If we don’t act soon, European trade sanctions will hurt American workers and American businesses.  We need to address this problem now, and I believe a manufacturing tax credit is the right solution.  It will keep the United States in compliance with WTO regulations and help spur our struggling manufacturing industries and most importantly, its workers. In the last 3 years alone, Washington state has lost over 66,000 manufacturing jobs.”

The World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized the European Union to implement hundreds of millions of dollars in retaliatory trade sanctions unless the United States repeals a current tax advantage for exporters that amounts to an illegal subsidy, according to the WTO.  The sanctions are scheduled to go into effect Monday, March 1st, unless Congress takes action now.

“If the Europeans implement these tariffs on American goods and services, it will be yet another blow to our already struggling economy,” Smith said.  “It’s irresponsible for the Congressional leadership to ignore the problem and refuse to act.”

Smith supports bipartisan legislation to repeal the tax measure in question and replace it with a manufacturing tax credit.  H.R. 1769, sponsored by Democrat Charlie Rangel and Republican Phil Crane, would lower taxes for manufacturers who employ people in the United States.  It is co-sponsored by 154 Members of Congress.

Since the Republican leadership has not yet put H.R. 1769 on the agenda, Smith today took the first steps necessary to force action.  He joined colleagues in signing a discharge petition, which will force a floor vote on the legislation when 218 Members