Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09.) voted with a bipartisan majority in favor of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act. The bill renews and improves SCHIP, providing health care coverage for 11 million children – preserving coverage for the 7 million children currently covered by SCHIP and extends it to 4 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.

“The reauthorization of SCHIP is a major victory for children in Washington state and across the country,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The renewal provides millions of children with one of their most fundamental needs – quality healthcare.”

SCHIP was created in 1997 to help families get medical care when they made too much money to get Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance.  The bill passed by the House today will provide states resources needed for outreach to enroll eligible families in the program.

Congressman Smith was particularly pleased to see significant gains for Washington state in today’s bill.  The legislation allows Washington state to use a larger portion of its federal allocation, above the 20% previously allowed, for SCHIP through FY 2013. When SCHIP was first implemented, Washington state already covered SCHIP-eligible children under our state’s Medicaid program.  Because of this it is considered a ‘qualifying’ state and has not been allowed to transfer kids from Medicaid to SCHIP or use the full federal allotment for SCHIP on the Medicaid kids.

Further, the bill will provide matching funds to assist with the state’s planned expansion to cover kids up to 300% of the federal poverty line. The bill also includes a provision – another benefit to Washington state -- that would give states the option of covering legal immigrant children who have been less than five years under SCHIP and Medicaid.  It covers children – legally here – sooner than a five-year waiting period, in order to prevent critical health problems from going unchecked. Washington is one of 22 states that uses state funds to cover this population and current federal law prohibits them from being eligible for SCHIP in their first 5 years of residency.

“The renewal of SCHIP is a win for our country and a win for Washington state,” said Smith. “With unemployment rising, causing many to lose healthcare for their children and their families, this reauthorization is exceptionally important.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement regarding the upcoming retirement of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.).  Smith is a senior member on the committee.

“It has been a great privilege in my career in Congress has been to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee under Chairman Lantos.  As the only survivor of the Holocaust to serve in Congress, he has been a consistent advocate for the human rights of all people, exemplified in his founding membership in the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.  With his retirement, Congress loses one of its clearest voices on foreign policy.

“I am deeply saddened by news of his illness and his decision not to seek reelection.  I congratulate him on his 27 years of service to our country and wish him all the best.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement regarding the suicide bombing that killed Benazir Bhutto and dozens of others at a rally in Pakistan.  Smith chairs the terrorism subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee and is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

“The horrendous mass murder of dozens of Pakistanis today – including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto – is a tragedy for all of us who value democracy.  Madam Bhutto fought for democratic reforms in the face of numerous attempts on her life, and her courage in the face of repression inspired reformers all over the world.  I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Pakistan, and especially to those who lost loved ones in today’s tragedy.

“This kind of cowardly, criminal violence is absolutely unacceptable, and those responsible must be found and brought to justice.  Bhutto and her fellow reformers fought to make exactly this kind of outrageous action obsolete within the context of Pakistan’s political life, and the United States and our allies must renew our commitment to this vital area of the world so that terrorists and political extremism do not carry the day. 

“I urge the government of Pakistan to respond to this tragedy with a renewed commitment to the rule of law, starting with free, fair elections for which Madam Bhutto and her reformers gave so much.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after voting against legislation to provide $70 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with no constraints on the President’s policies.  Smith voted earlier this week for legislation to provide $31 billion for Afghanistan operations.  Smith also introduced a resolution today calling for an increased commitment in Afghanistan:

“We absolutely have to refocus on the rising violence in Afghanistan and the resurgence of terrorists that hit us on 9/11, and that cannot happen until we change course in Iraq.  The President’s policies would leave us tied up in a continued, costly occupation with no plan to reduce our presence below January 2007 levels. I firmly believe the President’s Iraq policy must change, and I voted ‘no’ for that purpose.

“This was a difficult vote for me.  I do not support cutting off funds for our troops while they are in combat, but that was not the decision before the House today.  We have months before Defense Department funds would begin to run out, months we should use to continue to pressure the President to change course.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement regarding the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations measure:

“This legislation is far from perfect, but it reflects our best efforts to fund the priorities of the American people.  I am encouraged that Congress was able to reverse some of the President’s proposed cuts to key programs.  I was also able to help secure funding for key South Sound initiatives in this legislation,” Smith said.

Overall, the legislation approved by the House makes significant improvements to the President’s budget request.  The legislation reverses proposed cuts to essential programs, including:

  • $1.8 billion for Homeland Security grants, recognizing that fighting terrorism must be a top priority.
  • $1.7 billion for Pell Grants and other student aid programs.
  • $1.2 billion for state and local law enforcement.
  • $1 billion for health care access, including increases to programs like Community Health Centers to provide 280,000 more underinsured Americans with access to health care and High Risk Insurance Pools to help 200,000 more people afford health insurance.
  • $767 million for K-12 education, including funds for Title 1, Special Education, Teacher Quality Grants, After School Programs, and Head Start.
  • $575 million for technical training at high schools and community colleges.
  • $486 million for energy efficiency and renewable fuel sources, including solar energy, wind energy, and biofuels.

A list of South Sound projects funded in the omnibus bill can be found at http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/news/2008earmarks/earmarklist.shtml.