Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) spoke on the House floor today regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance.  The following is a short excerpt from his statement followed by the link to his statement online.  

“I rise today to urge the Senate to pass the strongest possible Trade Adjustment Assistance package.  Workers desperately need help dealing with the new economy.  It is the land of opportunity for all of us but there are also challenges.  Workers must continually have access to training and education to update their skills...

“I am a strong supporter of trade.  As a New Democrat, it is one of our top priority issues to open trade throughout the world and give us access to other markets.  Connected to that however, we have to help the workers of our country deal with the challenges and opportunities that come along with that...If the Senate were to put together that type of package, and pass a Trade Promotion Assistance bill with a strong Trade Adjustment Assistance piece, I am very confident they would be able to pass it in the House and they would move forward on two critical policies for this country.”

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s position on Trade Promotion Authority, please visit www.house.gov/adamsmith for additional press releases and an audio file of this statement from the House floor.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) praised the extension of the time limit for use of Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to 14 years at the House Armed Services Committee mark-up of the Defense Authorization Bill this evening.  In doing so, the Committee moved forward on a central component of a bill recently introduced by the Congressman.
 
“I am pleased that my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee join me in recognizing the value of providing better and more competitive education benefits to our Armed Forces.  Obviously this is a step in the right direction – making the Montgomery G.I. Bill more valuable and useful to our men and women in service,” Smith said.  “But we can, and must, do more.  I am committed to making sure that we maintain the most intelligent and highly-skilled fighting force in the world and I will continue to work with my colleagues to reach that goal.”

Smith recently introduced two bills to improve the quality of life for the U.S. military through increased access to education.  The first bill, H.R.4213 “Expanding Education for Military Families Act,” would allow for full portability of Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB) benefits to the family members of enrollees in the MGIB program.  His second bill, H.R.4214 “Military Education Extension Act,” proposes extending the time limit for use of MGIB benefits to 15 years for both active duty servicemembers and reservists.   

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s Montgomery G.I. Bill legislation, visit http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa09_smith/020411pr.html.

Congressman Adam Smith, (D-Wash.) led a group of his colleagues in a letter yesterday to President Bush requesting a meeting to discuss passing effective Export Administration Act (EAA) legislation in the House of Representatives. 

On March 6, the House Armed Services Committee voted to renew the Export Administration Act, H.R. 2581, passed last summer by the House International Relations Committee, but added provisions that will undermine efforts to develop and implement a new and more effective system of national security export controls.

The President and his national security team have endorsed the Export Administration Act of 2001 (H.R. 2581 and S. 149) and urged its swift passage.  In fact, with the administration’s full support, the Senate passed its version of EAA, S. 149, by a vote of 85-14 in the fall.  However, the House International Relations and Armed Services committees this winter have approved different versions of EAA.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), one of the co-chairs of the New Democrat Coalition, has worked hard with his colleagues to change the debate on export controls from a false choice between profits and national security to a matter of improving national security while maintaining U.S. competitiveness.  Smith has been engaged in this issue throughout his service in Congress as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and in 2001, served as a member of a Center for Strategic and International Studies Blue Ribbon Commission on ‘Technology and National Security in a Networked World.’

“The export control regime in place today is grounded in the past and doesn't recognize the realities of today's ‘networked world.’  Many of the nation's leading defense experts recognize the need to fundamentally revamp the way we protect our nation's security,” Smith said. “The bottom line is that export control reform is critical to the future of U.S. global economic, technological and military leadership.” 

“It seems clear that the White House is interested in seeing appropriate export control legislation pass Congress and we are willing and eager to work with them to make that happen,” continued Smith. “I anticipate that they will welcome our interest in moving forward on this in a bipartisan fashion.” 

Smith was joined on the letter by Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). 

“We believe a bill resembling the Senate legislation must be enacted and we also believe that such a measure can garner similar bipartisan support in the House.  The versions of EAA that have been reported out of House committees are problematic and do not accomplish the balance that is necessary in order to both heighten national and economic security,” the Members wrote.  “We would like to work cooperatively with your Administration to craft such a bipartisan agreement.”

Today’s letter follows both a Dear Colleague letter sent by Smith, Rep. Ellen Tauscher and Rep. Rick Larsen to the full House Armed Services Committee arguing against the adoption of the Manager’s amendments to EAA and a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) urging that EAA legislation be brought quickly to the floor with the Senate version permitted as a substitute which was led by Smith and signed by 22 Members of the New Democrat Coalition.

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s involvement with Export Controls, visit http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa09_smith/technology/010608pr.html.

At a town hall meeting tomorrow at 10:00a.m. at the Yelm Senior Center, Congressman Adam Smith (09-Tacoma) will award 17-year-old Sean McCoy of Rainier the Congressional Award Bronze Medal.

The Congressional Award provides a unique opportunity for young people to set and achieve personally challenging goals that build character and foster community service, personal development and citizenship.  All young people are equally able to earn The Congressional Award, because goals are set based on individual interest, need and ability.  A young person is not selected to receive the award; he or she earns it.

To earn his Congressional Award Bronze Medal, Sean McCoy set and achieved challenging goals in four areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. 

Sean volunteered at the Yelm Timberland Library for 100 hours.  He checked through accelerated reader lists, organized books and helped set up the summer reading program.   

For his 50 hours of personal development, Sean’s goal was to work at a comic book store and learn how it operates.  In addition to organizing comics, he learned to deal with customers both on the phone and in person.  He was also able to build a resume while at his job.  

In physical fitness, Sean’s goal was to become an adequate marksman.  Shooting three times a week, he improved his ability to hit the target from 30 percent to 100 percent and also learned proper gun safety during his 50 hours.

For his exploration/expedition, Sean challenged himself with his first overnight camping trip without his parents.  He organized the food and other supplies he would need for the trip.  

After learning that he had earned his Bronze Medal, Sean said, “I have a better sense of the real world.  I also have a better understanding of what life is going to be like on my own.”

“Congressional Award recipients like Sean represent the best of America.  They are committed to bettering themselves and to giving back to their communities,” Congressman Adam Smith said.  “It is the making and fulfilling of that commitment that makes these young people so extraordinary.”

Currently there are five young people in Congressman Adam Smith’s district working on their Congressional Awards.

The Congressional Award is a public/private partnership.  The Award raises its own operating budget entirely through private-sector donations and receives no federal funding.  Congress established the Congressional Award in 1979 as a private-public partnership to recognize and reward initiative, achievement and service in young people.

Remember that tomorrow’s Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Adam Smith is from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Yelm Senior Center, located at 201 Yelm Avenue, Yelm.

Congressman Adam Smith joined the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today to announce that NFB-NEWSLINE, the pioneering service that allows blind people to “read” daily newspapers using a touch-tone telephone, is now available in Washington.  The new toll-free number is 1-888-882-1629.   
The newspaper service for the blind and visually impaired uses synthesized speech to deliver an audio version of the newspaper text for dozens and eventually hundreds of daily newspapers to blind and visually impaired persons nationwide.  

“Using the NFB’s NEWSLINE, a blind person can now listen to the daily newspaper from his or her own community at the same time the printed edition of that same newspaper is being delivered to sighted customers,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “For blind people or even seniors who can no longer read small newsprint, this means more than being able to enjoy a morning ritual observed by millions of Americans – reading the daily newspaper. It also means being connected to the social and political life of the community in which you live and work.”  

Congress established the national “Books for the Blind” program in 1931 to pay for the production of Braille and audio versions of popular books and magazines and distribute them through state and local libraries. NFB President Marc Maurer notes, however, that until now, “the lack of affordable and suitable technology has not allowed newspapers to be included in this service. 

With funds appropriated by Congress to support NFB-NEWSLINE, NFB has been able to develop the technology that allows newspapers to be distributed rapidly in a format that is usable by the blind.  Participating newspapers provide digital text of articles directly to NFB-NEWSLINE where, using innovative technologies, the newspaper text is converted automatically into synthesized speech and made immediately available to all subscribers, allowing them to access all newspapers participating in the program. 

The synthetic speech allows NFB-NEWSLINE to offer users a wide range of features, including the ability to advance or go back to another article or even another sentence, to speed up or slow down the synthetic voice or change its tone, to spell a word or phrase, or to search for a specific word.  

NFB-NEWSLINE allows for reader registration on the Internet, making it possible for eligible blind and disabled persons to register for the service at state and local libraries.  There is no charge to subscribe to NFB-NEWSLINE. 

To request an application or receive for more information about NFB-NEWSLINE, contact the National Federation of the Blind at (410) 659-9314 or online at www.nfb.org

The National Federation of the Blind is a consumer-based organization of more than 50,000 blind people throughout the U.S. whose primary purpose is to promote security, opportunity, and equality for those who are blind or visually impaired. 

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