Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following brief statement on today’s hearing at the House Armed Services Committee on the agreement  between the United States Air Force and the Boeing Corporation for the lease of 100 Boeing 767s to be converted into aerial refueling tankers to replace the Air Force’s oldest KC-135 tankers:

“Today’s hearing underscored both the viability of this agreement between the Air Force and Boeing and the Air Force’s commitment to this innovative plan.  The Air Force believes that beginning to retire its KC-135Es as soon as possible will result in significant cost savings for two important reasons.  First, the operating costs of a newer, more efficient aircraft such as the 767 tanker are considerably lower than those of the KC-135Es.  Second, by retiring KC-135Es, the taxpayer will not have to pay for the expensive maintenance, upgrades, and modifications that will be increasingly necessary to keep these aircraft flying.  The cost to the taxpayer of the maintenance, upgrades, and modifications to the KC-135Es in the absence of a 767 lease would be greater than the cost of these interest payments.  There is a fiscal benefit to the American taxpayer from this lease proposal – and a cost associated with not proceeding with retirement of the KC-135Es. 

“This plan is a good one and it is important that we move forward on this to get the Air Force the tankers they need as soon as possible.  In recent military operations, airlift capabilities have proved critical.  At a time when our forces are active around the world, it is critical that we take the action the Air Force has requested to enable them to serve that key role. I’ve argued for years that we need to modernize our military and invest in tomorrow's technology, to ensure that America's fighting men and women have the tools and equipment they need to fulfill their missions.  The tanker agreement means that our Air Force will be better able to face the challenges of tomorrow and meet the tasks we ask of them – we’re giving them the tools they need to support missions and win.”

Congressmen Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) and Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island) announced today that Redmond’s Friends of Youth will receive a $223,538 Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Friends of Youth operates a treatment center, the Griffin Home, in Renton, WA, for severely troubled adolescent boys with a history of juvenile offenses or aggressive sexual behavior.  The Griffin Home is currently in dire need of repair due to many years of wear and tear.

 “As both a policymaker and a parent, I am very excited about today’s EDI grant announcement for Griffin Home,” Smith said.  “Based in Renton, Griffin Home is a one-of-a-kind resource for Puget Sound that has successfully changed the lives of thousands of troubled adolescent boys in the region for almost 50 years.  Today’s funding, in addition to the $425,000 we successfully secured for them last year, will allow the Friends of Youth to preserve and improve their Renton community-based treatment facility.  The services they provide there are critical for our community and for our children in trouble, and I’m pleased to be able to support them once again.”

Said Inslee, “I am very pleased to announce federal funding for an outstanding youth rehabilitation program on the Eastside.  I am very impressed with Friends of Youth treatment program for troubled boys.  This program is valuable to our community because focusing efforts on potential abusers is probably one of the most effective ways to prevent sexual abuse.  More importantly, the services provided by the Griffin Home are scarce, so we must do more to fund this needed treatment in order to make our communities safer.  I am proud to announce this EDI grant and look forward to working in Congress to maintain and expand these valuable services.”

Inslee and Smith worked to gain support from other members of the Washington state delegation for this appropriation request.  Both made a specific appropriation request on behalf of Friends of Youth last year, and today’s EDI grant announcement is particularly significant given the highly competitive nature of these grants and current fiscal concerns with state and federal budgets.

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced a bill at the end of last week to improve the quality of life for the U.S. military through increased access to education. 

Smith’s “Expanding Education for Military Families Act of 2003,” H.R. 2764, would give all active-duty personnel the option of transferring their educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) to family members if they agree to serve at least 10 years and would extend the time period for service members to decide whether or not to sign up for MGIB benefits to six months.

“I am absolutely committed to ensuring that our Armed Forces are the most highly skilled, intelligent fighting force in the world.  At a time when recruitment and retention are more important than ever, we must work to make military service an attractive career option,” said Smith. “We have to do a better job of providing better and more competitive educational benefits for all enlisted military members and these bills are a good first step.”

Portability Requirements in the Expanding Education for Military Families Act of 2003

Currently, the MGIB contains a portability provision only for those with “critical military skills.”  These MGIB enrollees, who have served at least six years in the Armed Forces and agree to serve at least four more years, are permitted to transfer of some of their MGIB benefits to a family member.  While this is an improvement from the original bill, the recent modification adversely affected morale among those not included under the provision.  In many cases, this portability option makes the difference in whether or not a servicemember can pay for a child’s college education. Smith’s “Expanding Education for Military Families Act of 2003” would offer this portability option to all members of the Armed Forces with a 10 year service requirement.  Similar legislation has passed the Senate twice in recent years, but has yet to pass the House.  Smith introduced a similar measure last year that gathered strong support and hopes to carry last year’s momentum into the 108th Congress.

Enrollment Timeframe under the Expanding Education for Military Families Act of 2003

Smith’s bill would give active and reserve members more time to make a decision about whether or not to sign-up for MGIB benefits.  Currently, at initial military training enlisted soldiers are given a one-time, irrevocable MGIB enrollment opportunity at a cost of $1,200.  They must agree to have $100 per month deducted from their pay for the first twelve months of their service.  If they do not agree to this, they have lost their only opportunity to enroll in the MGIB.  Smith wants enlisted soldiers to have the time and resources to make an educated decision about whether or not to take advantage of MGIB benefits and is proposing that soldiers be given six months to make this decision.

The Expanding Education for Military Families Act of 2003 has been sent to both the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, on which Smith sits.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today requested a study from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) on issues related to offshore IT services outsourcing.  Smith was joined on the letter by Congressman Jay Inslee (D-Wash.).

“With our unemployment rate continuing to climb and the recession continuing, we must develop a new jobs plan and an industrial plan for the nation.  We need to know where the new jobs are going to be.  We need to know where the high skill jobs are right now.  We’re investing in retraining for workers who are looking to upgrade their skills for the New Economy and we want to make sure that we’re steering them towards industries where there will be jobs in the future,” said Smith.  “I’m requesting this GAO study today specifically to look at the costs and risks associated with offshore IT services outsourcing because it has become increasingly common for U.S. organizations to outsource IT services overseas, generally because of perceived cost savings and to enhance competitiveness in a global economy.  But I’m concerned that we may be training individuals at home for jobs that are being sent overseas and I want to make sure that we better understand this issue.”

Smith’s request to the GAO is part of a larger effort he is undertaking to examine the U.S. job market and future growth and trends in industrial sectors.  His request asks GAO to:

(1) research the trends in this area, to include customer service technical employees, aerospace engineering employees, among other industries, as well as those at the various levels of government;

(2) identify the major benefits and risks, including strategies for addressing the risks;

(3) determine the federal government’s policies, including the impact, if any, of the Buy American Act, for non-weapons systems related to this issue;

(4) explain the treatment of IT outsourcing in U.S. trade policy; and

(5) provide policy recommendations for ensuring – and enhancing – U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. 

Congressman Adam Smith is a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition and represents Washington state’s 9th District.  He has consistently fought for policies to expand the New Economy and empower all Americans to succeed in it, supporting investment in research and development, meaningful unemployment compensation, health care, and retraining programs.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) and Sara Smith welcomed their second child, son Jack Evers Smith into the world at 12:58pm today.  Jack Evers Smith was born at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.  Both mother and child are doing very well and expected to go home in a few days.

The Smiths’ first child, a daughter Kendall, was born in August of 2000.