Press Releases

e making.  We're not going to make this happen overnight, but we need to do better and I know that we can. 

We also need a system that doesn't simply create vast fields of opportunity for foreign investors, but creates better societies for the people who live there.  The reality is that education and health care are central to improving the quality of life for citizens whether they live in Mexico, Thailand or Somalia, and the current international market prescription of low taxes and almost no social spending almost guarantees that people's quality of life will not improve.  The United States needs to re-examine these prescriptions and instead fight for a balanced plan that promotes sustainable development.  This is not only a matter of basic fairness, but it goes directly to the manner in which we are perceived by the rest of the world.   We need to ask ourselves if we want to be seen as a nation that has furthered policies of despair and poverty or whether we want to be partners in helping empower those in developing countries. 

Military Leadership 
I've spoken about communications, foreign assistance and trade as critical elements of a new foreign policy framework.  But there are, and will continue to be, times when these tools cannot by themselves advance our national interest.  When other levers don't work, our military plays an important role our foreign policy implementation. 

First, we must strengthen our relationships with our allies who are also committed to fighting the scourge of terrorism. We must aggressively build coalitions around our shared interests and values to demonstrate to the world that the United States is not simply waging a campaign against Islam. The challenge, scope and cost, of the battle against these extremist groups is great and the international community has a clear stake in ensuring the victory of our ideas. 

In this new world, our soldiers are called to a battlefield that is much different than that of the past.  Smaller numbers of troops are rapidly deployed to far-flung theaters across the world.  Their dominance must be measured not only in firepower, but in communications and access to information.  There is no question that our military is heads and shoulders above the rest of the world, but we must continue to "transform" our forces to become a lighter, more nimble force that leverages information technology. 

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I've focused a great deal of my work on making sure we have the best and most advanced fighting force in the world. I'm proud to represent both Fort Lewis, the Army's testbed for Transformation, and McChord Air Force Base, home of some of the most technologically advanced airlift capabilities in the Air Force. We've had success, but there is more work to be done: we must develop new war-fighting technologies, update our military doctrine and transform our forces. The Bush Administration came into office purporting to be strong supporters of transformation. Unfortunately, their progress on this front has occurred in fits and starts.  It is my strong hope that the White House will recommit to this crucial goal. 

The operations in Afghanistan were a good example of how technology can be utilized to make our weapons more effective while reducing our soldiers' exposure to harm. Our growing inventory of new precision-guided weapons let us destroy more targets with fewer aircraft sorties. Better communications let our air and ground forces work together more effectively. The growing integration of our intelligence let our forces know where moving targets were. We were able to blend manned and unmanned aircraft into a new, more effective type of warfare. 

The Pentagon must build on these successes and gain greater resolve to not only transform our warfighting capabilities, but also the bureaucracy itself. This means that the services must have the ability to procure and field weapons and technologies more quickly. Training must be revamped to use innovations like distance learning. The government cannot spend years developing new technologies when commercial products are readily available.  We must expand intelligence capabilities - through more on the ground "human intelligence" but also through technology that allows for better data analysis and sharing. There are companies right here in the Puget Sound area that are leading the way toward empowering our intelligence agencies to protect their data while sharing it with those who need it. These are the types of partnerships that must be used if we are to protect our borders, prosecute the war on terrorism and prevent future attacks.  

Conclusion  
Finally, in regards to the Middle East, we must clearly support a two-state solution to the ongoing crisis in that region.  Provided there is an immediate end to the suicide bombing campaign, we must be prepared to back a Palestinian state – as well as the associated aid and assistance.  That is the only way we can put an end to the years of violence and suffering among Israelis and Palestinians alike.  We must continue to stand by Israel, but they must be willing to stop annexing land and expanding their settlements.  

Our nation is faced with a set of challenges very different from those faced by previous generations.  As we adjust to better respond to the new reality, I’m confident that our values of freedom and opportunity provide the foundation on which to craft a new foreign policy framework.  

The fundamentalist Islamic movement is presenting an alternate vision - based on hatred and violence -  that has made gains, especially among the poorest and most disenfranchised.  Much of the rest of the world - the "undecideds" if you will - are trying to determine whether or not to embrace our values and our way of life.  

To win the current battle, we must address some of the shortcomings of globalization and also demonstrates that this path is highly preferable to that offered by the extremists.  We must show that we are committed to ensuring that nations in the developing world are partners in the benefits of globalization. 

As we undertake the process of crafting a new foreign policy, we have opportunities .  We can marshal our resources and expertise to reduce poverty, improve health care and provide education to children who represent the best hope for much of the developing world.  

We can establish energy independence that will lead not only to new energy technologies and an improved environment, but also a renewed commitment to a foreign policy best for our nation and truest to our values. 

We can build vibrant diplomatic and military alliances that not only improve our nation’s security, but forge an international consensus for  human rights, freedom and democracy. 
As our country worked to contain communism and promote democracy and freedom overseas after World War II, Harry Truman realized that we had to make some fundamental changes in our own country.  We could not speak with authority about democracy and freedom in the era of Jim Crow, when so many Americans were treated as second-class citizens.  To achieve our foreign policy goals, we had to make changes at home.  Now, to achieve what we want at home - security - we have to make changes in our foreign policy.  We need to be a more positive player on the global stage, and that will require an enormous amount of commitment by both leaders and the American public.  It’s vitally important, and I appreciate the opportunity today to share my vision as to how we go about this task.

Today, the Bush administration announced that the final federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2002 was $159 billion.  Excluding the Social Security surplus, the deficit exceeded $300 billion.  Just two short years ago, the federal budget had a surplus of over $200 billion.  The turnaround under President Bush represents the largest reversal in over 50 years, and means that the federal government will need to borrow over $2 trillion from the Social Security trust funds over the next decade.  Rep. Adam Smith issued the following statement on the current state of the American economy:  

“While I agree with the president that we must meet our most pressing priorities of protecting our country against terrorism, improving our international relations, and growing our economy and that these needs warrant small, short-term deficit spending, I have serious concerns about the current lack of a responsible economic plan that includes a balanced budget.  While a one or two year small deficit alone won’t jeopardize our future, if we continue down this path of undisciplined spending and unrealistic budgeting, our economy will be in greater trouble.  

“Currently, we face growing budget deficits and a hesitant economy.  Rather than continuing the legacy of fiscal discipline, the 2001 $2 trillion tax cut and the Administration's relentless push for more big tax cuts have destroyed the bipartisan spirit of fiscal restraint that swept through Congress in the 1990s. As a result, demands for additional tax cuts and new spending - especially in the later years of the decade - continue unabated despite the projection of an overall budget deficit, including the Social Security surplus, of $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years.  Restoring fiscal discipline will help return our nation’s economic confidence and trigger a longer economic recovery.  

“War and recession have brought back deficits, but they are not an excuse to undo long-range budget discipline. To get back on track, Congress and the president must have the courage to make the hard, honest choices that are necessary right now to ensure that those deficits will be small and short-term.  With retirement of the baby boom generation approaching, failure to discipline our budget in the coming years will have far reaching ramifications and add crushing new burdens on workers and taxpayers in the following decades.  We must take action now with an honest discussion of the choices we face and develop a budget that is fiscally responsible.”

Rep. Adam Smith has consistently been a strong advocate of fiscal discipline and honesty in federal budgeting.  He believes that a return to sincere and deliberate fiscal discipline must be the cornerstone of our government’s economic policy.  In the 1990s when Wall Street and Main Street saw that the government was serious about keeping its books in order and reducing the national debt, interest rates fell and private investment grew.  Businesses created jobs and all Americans benefited from lower interest rates on their mortgages, student loans and consumer credit.

On Monday November 11, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) will participate in a panel discussion with distinguished members of the Washington state legal community.  Harvard Law Professor Arthur Miller will moderate the discussion presented by the Washington chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Corporate Law Department Section of the Washington State Bar Association.  

Other participants in the discussion include Dean Rudolph Hasl; Justice Charles Johnson; Professor James Bond; Professor Anita Ramasastry; Paul Lawrence, Esq.; John McKay, Esq.; Dean Joe Knight; and Jany Jacob, Esq.

Members of the media are invited to attend the event free of charge.  For further information on the event go to to http://www.wsba.org/cle/2003/P3-1111.htm or call 1-800-945-WSBA(9722).  To speak with Smith, please contact Katharine Lister at (202) 226-8454.

10:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.  Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) will discuss the impact of September 11 on the American Constitution.  His comments will address the ramifications and implications of The Patriot Act.  
Where: Hilton Seattle 
1301 6th Avenue, Seattle

Last night, Rep. Adam Smith, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted to instruct conferees on the Department of Defense authorization bill to agree to Senate language providing full concurrent receipt for veterans.  The Senate approved its version of the defense authorization bill with a provision that would completely eliminate the current offset between military retired pay and VA disability compensation.  The House-passed version included partial repeal of the current, unfair policy.  Unfortunately, some of the president’s senior advisors have pledged to recommend that he veto the defense authorization measure if either of the concurrent receipt provisions are included in the final bill.  This motion to instruct reinforces the House's commitment to veterans and helps jumpstart conference negotiations so that work can be completed on the FY03 DOD authorization bill.  

“Retirement pay is a hard-earned benefit for our veterans and I’m glad that we have sent a strong signal to both conferees and to the White House that we stand with our nation's veterans.  For weeks, the conference committee has been stalled over the issue of concurrent receipt, in part due to the president's veto threat.  It is unfortunate that the authorization bill has not been enacted -- it's good legislation that enjoys a majority of support in both chambers.  We cannot afford to allow the president to play political games with the health and well-being of our servicemen and women and our veterans,” said Smith.  “I believe that all our veterans should be justly compensated for their service and dedication, and I am hopeful that we can reach agreement on concurrent receipt and pass this critically important legislation.  I remain committed to seeing concurrent receipt not only enacted, but fully funded and will do all I can to further its progress.”

In addition to the resolving the concurrent receipt inequity, the Defense Authorization bill greatly improves the quality of life for our men and women in uniform.  The bill provides a 4.1 percent military pay raise, with larger pay increases for mid-grade and senior non-commissioned officers and mid-grade officers, reduces out-of-pocket housing costs for military personnel by increasing housing allowances to cover 92.5 percent of all housing costs and provides $500 million more than the president’s request, for military construction and family housing projects.

Under present law, service-disabled military retirees must surrender a portion of their retired pay if they want to receive the disability compensation to which they are entitled.  Congress enacted this unjust law in 1891, and it affects approximately 550,000 disabled military retirees.  Military retirees are the only federal employees affected by the offset.  For 17 years, legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives to correct this long-standing inequity.  The Retired Pay Restoration Act has received strong bipartisan support in Congress with more than 400 cosponsors in the House and 82 cosponsors in the Senate.  

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives approved the Fiscal Year 2003 budget resolution, which included funding for a partial repeal of the dollar-for-dollar offset of military retired pay and VA disability compensation. On May 9, 2002, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 4546, the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act, which follows the FY 2003 budget resolution and includes a provision to authorize military retirees who are 60 percent or greater disabled to receive their full retired pay and VA disability compensation benefit by Fiscal Year 2007.  

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith has been a strong advocate of full funding for concurrent receipt.  He believes that health care is a critical issue not only for our military retirees and their dependents, but also for those who are considering a career in the military.  Improving the treatment of personnel, retirees and veterans is not only the right thing to do, but is critical to our national security.  If we want to continue leading the world in military power, we must have to have the best Armed Services.

This week Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), joined by Rep. George Gekas (R-Pa.), introduced H.R. 5588, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act of 2002, to increase penalties on identity theft crimes.   The legislation mirrors S. 2541, introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), which was developed in coordination with the Justice Department to help law enforcement capture and prosecute serious identity thieves. 

“I am very pleased to be introducing this legislation today with Rep. Gekas.  With over 500,000 victims last year alone, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. One in five American families have been victimized by identity theft,” said Smith.  “Our legislation makes it easier for prosecutors to target those identity thieves who steal an identity for the purpose of committing other serious crimes, including murder and terrorism.”

H.R. 5588 would create a separate crime of “aggravated identity theft” for any person who uses the identity of another person to commit certain serious, federal crimes.  Specifically, the legislation would provide for an additional two-year penalty for any individual convicted of committing one of the following serious federal crimes while using the identity of another person.  This includes stealing another person's identity in order to illegally obtain citizenship in the United States; obtain a passport or visa; commit bank, wire or mail fraud, or steal from employee pension funds; and commit a variety of other serious federal crimes, all of them felonies. 

It would also provide an additional five-year penalty for any individual who uses the stolen identity of another person to commit any one of the enumerated federal terrorism crimes found in Title 18.  These crimes include the destruction of aircraft; assassination or kidnapping of high-level federal officials; bombings; hostage taking and providing material support to terrorist organizations. 

Third, this bill also strengthens the ability of law enforcement to go after identity thieves and prove cases by permitting law enforcement to target individuals who possess the identity documents of another person with the intent to commit a crime.  Current federal law prohibits the transfer or use of false identity documents, but does not specifically ban the possession of those documents with the intent to commit a crime.  H.R. 5588 also increases the maximum penalty for identity theft under current law from three years to five years. 

Fourth, the bill clarifies that the current 25-year maximum sentence for identity theft in facilitation of international terrorism also applies to domestic terrorism. 

Rep. Adam Smith has long been committed to fighting identity theft and has introduced H.R. 5424, which is designed to aid victims of identity theft recover their identities, protect their credit ratings and empower law enforcement with the tools to more effectively track down violators.  That legislation, also introduced with Rep. Gekas, is currently pending before the House Judiciary Committee.