Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement today on the National Defense Authorization Bill:

“I am pleased that Congress has finished work on the National Defense Authorization bill. The final product shows the commitment of Congress to our service men and women, retirees, veterans and their families. I have long been an advocate for our military and veterans and am pleased that we have included many provisions in the final bill that will help to improve their lives. I would like to highlight some of the key provisions included in the final bill that I have been priorities for me:

PAY RAISE

We were able to give our service men and women a 3.5% pay raise across the board. We recognize the work and sacrifice that our men and women in uniform give each and every day and we need to live up to our responsibilities and give them the financial means to support themselves and their families.

AERIAL REFUELING TANKERS

The conference report authorizes a multiyear procurement of 100 new aerial refueling tankers, replacing a leasing deal. It also establishes competition for the contract to maintain the new tankers and leaves in place previously-mandated studies to determine refueling needs and the correct approach to meeting them.

I’m pleased that we’ve taken clear steps to meet Air Force requirement for new tanker aircraft. By doing so, we enhance the readiness and projection capabilities of our Air Force while at the same time bolstering the American commercial aircraft production base. I’m confident that we’re now able to move forward on this key program and it’s my expectation that it is in the best interest of the Air Force and taxpayers.

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.

CONCURRENT RECEIPT FOR 100% SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABLED VETERANS

I’m pleased that we have finally ended the veteran’s tax on some of our deserving veterans. The bill provides for full concurrent receipt to military retirees with service-connected disabilities rated as 100 percent beginning January 1, 2005.

TRICARE FOR NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVISTS

Non-active duty reservists who have been called to active duty on or after September 11, 2001, for more than 30 days and commit to continue serving in the national guard or reserves would be eligible for health care coverage.  For each 90 days of continuous active duty, a reservist would be entitled to one additional year of coverage.  The bill would also authorize one year of coverage for a member who may otherwise be eligible but was unable to fulfill the requirement due to an injury, illness or disease incurred while deployed.

This is critical in retaining the best all-volunteer military in the world. With the sacrifices that our service men and women make every day, we must ensure that they have access to the health care that they need.

END STRENGTH

While not a complete solution to the problem facing the shortage of troops in our military, the bill does provide for an increase in the end strength of the Army by 20,000 and the Marine Corps by 3,000 in FYT 05. I would like to see these numbers increase, with an end strength of the Army of at least 40,000, but this bill is a good start on that goal.

DOE SICK WORKER COMPENSATION

The bill transfers the responsibility of handling claims by former Department of Energy (DOE) employees from the Department of Energy to the Department of Labor.  DOE has mishandled the claims of 25,000 nuclear weapons production workers who developed serious illnesses after exposure to toxic or radioactive materials at DOE sites.  We must ensure that those who have been affected by working at Hanford get their cases handled in a timely and effective manner and this bill does that.  The bill also provides for medical benefits and compensation to these workers and their survivors.  Former uranium workers are also made eligible for these payments.

These are just some of the highlights of this important piece of legislation. As our troops are involved in conflicts around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, we must do everything that we can to ensure that we are upholding our promise to them:  provide them the best equipment and training in the world, a first-class health care system and ensure that their families are taken care of on the home front. This bill recognizes the sacrifice that our service men and women make and I am proud to support this piece of legislation.”

 

Co-chairs of the House New Democrat Coalition today stated they are pleased repatriation provisions similar to their Invest in America legislation will be included in H.R. 4520, slated to be passed later tonight or tomorrow.

“This has been a key New Democrat Coalition priority since this Congress began,” said NDC Co-chair Adam Smith (WA).  “We believe it’s critical to provide incentives for companies to bring foreign profits back to invest here in America.”

In March of 2003, Smith (WA) introduced H.R. 1162, the Invest in America Act, which provides tax incentives for foreign subsidiaries to bring profits back to the United States. Twenty-nine House Democrats co-sponsored the measure, including NDC Co-Chairs Jim Davis (FL) and Ron Kind (WI).

The repatriation provisions of H.R. 4520 would temporarily give companies a lower tax rate – from 35 percent to 5.25 percent – for income earned overseas but reinvested in the United States.  Independent studies estimate that such a provision would result in $135 billion to $300 billion brought back and reinvested in the United States.

Smith noted, “It has been a long, difficult fight, and we are pleased that we’ve succeeded in getting repatriation sent to the President’s desk.”

 

Today, the Democratic Leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives appointed Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) to the conference committee on the Defense Authorization Bill for FY 2005. This is the first time that Smith has been appointed to a conference committee and it will give him the opportunity to shape the final version of the bill that will be voted on by Congress.

“I am honored that I have been chosen to sit on this conference committee,” said Smith. “Having two military bases, as well as one of the largest veteran populations in the United States, gives me a unique perspective into the needs of these important communities. I will endeavor to make sure that this bill ensures that our brave service members obtain their pay raises, family housing, healthcare improvements and other benefits. It is important that Congress approves this important piece of legislation in a timely manner.”

 

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Washington) announced the results of a study that the General Accounting Office conducted at Smith’s request on issues relating to offshore outsourcing of information technology jobs and the future of the U.S. job market. While the scope of the report was reduced – at GAO’s request – from the original request, the report examined all available government data and analyzed the trend of “outsourcing” as it relates to the American economy. In addition to Smith, this study was at the request of U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan), U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Washington).

“While not an exhaustive study, this is but the first step in a series of studies that the GAO plans to conduct on the issue of outsourcing,” said Smith. “I’m encouraged that this study will be used as a launching point for future studies and that, with this report, we started a serious examination of the scope of outsourcing.  With this study, we  are beginning to get concrete answers as to how this trend is affecting the U.S. economy. With this and future studies, public figures can undertake a serious discussion aimed at addressing real problems and offering effective and permanent solutions.”

Highlights of the study include:

o       Outsourcing has been made possible by growth in telecommunications and technology as well as by a large pool of educated workers in some developing countries.

o       Y2K was a factor that drove some technology services abroad.  As companies sought ways to protect their systems in the event of a collapse, GAO analysts looked to places like India for programmers who could help fix the software code problems. 

o       The extent of outsourcing is probably less than they had expected going into the study.   Also, at least by using the metrics available, they were unable to separate out the impact of outsourcing on the economy versus other “meta” factors such as the burst of the technology bubble and the hangover from the pre-Y2K tech buildup.

o       Services are still a relatively small part of the US imports.

“This study shows us that we have the opportunity to address the growing trend of offshore outsourcing with positive and aggressive solutions,” said Smith. “We should increase investment in research and development, improve math and science education in K-12, enhance training and professional development for workers, open markets for American goods and renew the government’s focus on promoting innovation.  By doing so, we can make sure that our economy remains the most vibrant and competitive one in the world.”

Smith continued, “We are at a relatively early state in the offshore outsourcing trend. We must get the facts straight and have a serious and educated policy dialogue on outsourcing. It’s my hope that this study will help “kick off” that process and move the discussion in a positive way that is focused on real issues and solutions. I am committed to continuing my work on identifying real solutions to this potentially growing problem for the American people.”

The study can be found at www.gao.gov and is entitled: International Trade: Current Government Data Provide Limited Insight into Offshoring of Services.

The following is a statement from Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma):

“Tomorrow, we honor the memory of those who perished three years ago in the worst terrorist attack in United States history. The events of September 11th are forever burned in our memories. We must not and will not forget.

And yet, the fight against terrorism that began in earnest with the invasion of Afghanistan continues to this day. As we honor those who have died in the past, we must also remember those who have borne special burdens in the years since the attacks, particularly our first responders and the men and women of our Armed Forces.

We, as a nation, as a people, should continue to fight for those values we hold so dear: a world of freedom, dignity and liberty. As we pay tribute tomorrow to those who died on that fateful day three years ago, we must also honor those who fight for freedom, democracy and human dignity each and every day.”