Press Releases

“I am pleased that I helped pass H.R. 5122, the Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization bill, out of the House Armed Services Committee with broad bipartisan support,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).  “While not perfect, this bill includes a number of provisions to support the members of our Armed Forces and our Veterans and also includes much-needed improvements in TRICARE, troop strength and pay increases. There are also a number of important Puget Sound-based programs that were included in the bill. The Puget Sound region continues to play an important role in the defense of our country. Also included was $50 billion in so-called bridge funds to cover the first portion of war costs for the coming fiscal year. The war in Iraq has been ongoing for over three years and we have a good sense of the costs associated with operations there and in Afghanistan. It only makes sense for our committee to authorize this spending.  I will work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to ensure that the best authorization bill possible is enacted into law. This bill is too important for the servicemen and women, who sacrifice every single day for this country, to fall down to partisan politics.” 

Highlights of the important provisions included in the bill:

TRICARE for all Guard and Reservists

The bill grants full, affordable access to TRICARE for all Guard and Reservists, regardless of activation or employment status.  This provision is part of an earlier bill that Smith introduced, H.R. 4468, which is a quality-of-life bill for Guard and Reservists.

No TRICARE Fee Increases for Retirees

The Committee rejected the DoD’s plan to increase TRICARE premiums and enrollment fees for retirees.  The provision bars any fee increases in FY07 and creates a task force to study the potential impacts and savings generated by the DoD’s plan.  

End Strength

The bill provides for an overall end strength increase of 30,000 troops for the Army and 5,000 Marines for the Marine Corps. Additionally, the bill authorizes the Army National Guard at its full end strength of 350,000. Also, $300 million was added for National Guard equipment, ensuring that the Guard will be able to recruit, train and equip their forces at robust levels.

Pay Increase

Also included in the bill is a 2.7% pay raise for all service members, as well as targeted pay raises for warrant officers and senior and mid-grade noncommissioned officers.

Impact Aid

The bill authorizes $50 million for Impact Aid to assist schools that are located near military installations.  In addition, $15 million is specifically intended for schools that receive additional students because of force structure changes due to the recent round of Base Realignments and Closures (BRAC).

IN THE PUGET SOUND REGION:

Clear-Zone Funds for McChord

A provision in the bill recommends $50.0 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI), an increase of $30.0 million. The REPI will support an array of efforts, including acquisition of land and easements, for preventing undesirable development around military test and training ranges, while ensuring sound environmental stewardship. Five bases were named as possible receipients of these funds and three were located in Washington State: McChord Air Force Base, Fairchild Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Whidbey.

Washington Air National Guard

The bill includes $800,000 to finish planning and design for the construction of a new training and operations facility for the 262nd Information Warfare Aggressor Squadron (262 IWAS) at McChord Air Force Base.  The new facility would allow for a higher quality, secure work and training space for the 262 IWAS, whose work involves replicating potential adversary Information Warfare capabilities.

$1.65 million for Tacoma Trauma Trust -- Madigan Army Medical Center Trauma Assistance Program

Smith was pleased to help authorize funding for this critical military-civilian emergency health care partnership facilitated by the Tacoma Trauma Trust (TTT), a unique military-civilian partnership (MultiCare Health System, Franciscan Health System and Madigan Army Medical Center). TTT shares in the delivery of critical Level II trauma care to South King, Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston counties and southwest Washington as well as much needed trauma training for medical personnel.

$1.13 billion to fully fund President Bush’s request for the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)

This critical program would use specially equipped Boeing 737s, manufactured in Boeing’s Renton plant, in order to conduct defense and homeland security-related missions. The MMA will replace the aging fleet of Navy P-3C aircraft with a technologically superior mission system that will allow it to perform anti-submarine warfare missions, homeland security surveillance and other important functions.

$3.0 million for “MRE High Pressure Processing Technology Demonstration”

This program funds a technology demonstration program for high-pressure processing of military food rations.  This technology, developed by Avure Technologies in Kent, WA, would assist the Army in its pursuit of advanced food preservation technologies to expand the variety and quality of combat rations for our soldiers. 

$1.0 million for “Advanced Boat Lifts for Navy Small Boats Program”

These funds will help the Navy procure additional advanced hydraulic boat lifts that increase the lifespan and reduce maintenance costs for small boats in the Navy.  The boatlifts, a product of Sunstream Corporation in Kent, WA, are currently being utilized in Naval bases around the country.

$5.7 million for “Mid-Infrared Semiconductor Laser Technology for Aircraft Protection”

This critical funding would enable the Air Force to conduct final tests and accelerated fielding of a laser technology to combat the most advanced man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS).  The technology has been developed by Aculight in Bothel, WA.

IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY PROVISION:

“I am pleased that this bill also included my provision for the National Defense University (NDU) Technology Pilot program,” said Smith. “Having worked for many years to improve our military and the Pentagon through the use of technology, I am proud to work with the experts at NDU who are continuing to leverage our technological innovations to maintain the most advanced military in the world."

$1.0 million for National Defense University

Technology Pilot Program - $1.0 million

The purpose of this project is to conduct research and analysis to determine how the United States can maintain its competitive edge against other military adversaries at a time when commercial information technology (IT) is readily available on the global market. Through a series of workshops, conferences, research papers and publications, the NDU has developed new strategies to deal with this issue.

 

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) submitted a statement for the Congressional Record with his support for H.R. 4954, the SAFE Port Act. The bill is a comprehensive, bi-partisan bill that will address one of the most significant challenges identified by the 9/11 Commission: an attack at our ports. As Smith said in his statement for the Floor, the legislation will “enhance our security, improve the efficiency of trade and provide necessary funding for the critical missions of our Coast Guard, Customs and Border Agents, and others involved in the maritime industry.” 

In his statement, Smith acknowledges the importance of the ports in Washington State, particularly the Port of Tacoma.  He notes that “it is the nation’s sixth largest port by cargo container volume, it handled over 2.1 million containers last year and continues to be a major economic engine in the South Sound region.”

Smith goes on to state that “the SAFE Port Act takes many critically important steps to prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  This bill strengthens our domestic and international security efforts by making improvements to high-risk cargo targeting and tracking systems.  The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to deploy nuclear and radiological detection systems to our major ports by the end of next year.  Ports will also have the much needed resources they need through the Port Security Grant Program to improve facility security.”

He also notes that “screening containers prior to its arrival at our U.S. ports is critical and I am pleased to see that the Department of Homeland Security is working to evaluate new radiological and other detection devices for use at foreign seaports.  I believe these new technologies will arm our security officers with improved information and allow us to better protect our critical infrastructure.  The bill also includes improvements to our international screening programs: the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).”

The complete text of his statement is available on his Web site at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/wa09_smith/morenews/20060504fs.html

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 421 – 2.

U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) was pleased that today the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of HR 32, the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act. The bill now goes to the White House where it is expected that President George W. Bush will sign it into legislation. The Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act would:

1. Expand the scope of trademark violations to include sale of counterfeit labels (patches, medallions, etc.) and;

2. Increase penalties for trademark violations so that not only the counterfeit products themselves would be seized and destroyed, as required by current law, but that assets gained from or used in the production and/or sale of counterfeit goods would also be seized and destroyed. 

“This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Smith. “Federal law enforcement officials estimate that sales of counterfeit goods now total approximately $500 billion a year. That’s a staggering figure that hurts commerce in the United States. This bill would not only help American businesses by cracking down on counterfeiters, but would also strengthen our hand in negotiating trade agreements with other countries where counterfeiting of U.S. products is a major problem.  Having these stronger laws on the books in the U.S. will allow the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate stronger trademark protections with our future trade partners.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash) today introduced the Invest in America Act, saying it would bring billions in new investment to America and help spur our economy.

Smith was joined by 15 original cosponsors: Reps. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Jim Turner (D-Texas), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Chris John (D-La.), Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), David Scott (D-Ga.) and Brian Baird (D-Wash.).

The bill would encourage companies with foreign subsidiaries to return their foreign profits to the United States by offering a temporary reduction in the tax rate on foreign profits.  The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates passage of the bill would result in an additional $135 billion in investment in America.

“The Invest in America Act meets the criteria for a sensible economy stimulus measure,” Smith said.  “It encourages investment and job creation right away and is fiscally responsible, unlike the Republican proposals that fail to give the economy the jump-start it needs and instead will only increase the deficit and grow the national debt.”

Republican Congressman Phil English has introduced a measure similar to Smith’s, and Smith will be working with him, and other interested Republicans, to see the proposal included in any final stimulus package that Congress passes.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) issued the following statement in response to President George Bush's State of the Union address this evening:

"Tonight, the President failed to outline a bold, positive agenda for our nation. Instead, the speech was much of the same old rhetoric that has been the hallmark of his past State of the Union addresses.

As gas prices are again on the rise, the President needs to focus on alternative fuels instead of towards greater dependence on polluting imported fossil fuels. Since Bush took office in 2000, the amount of foreign oil consumed in the United States has gone up to sixty-six percent from fifty-eight percent. Americans now spend $200,000 a minute on foreign oil and more than $25 billion annually goes to Persian Gulf states for oil imports. The Bush Administration's Energy Bill, passed last year, preserves the status quo and contains billions in subsidies for fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas; subsidies that do not make sense if we are serious about switching to alternative energy sources and lessening our dependence on foreign oil. As a nation, we must be prepared to invest in forward-thinking and emerging technologies, renewable energy, and energy efficiency and conservation.

In tonight's speech, Bush failed to address one of the critical problems are nation faces: an irresponsible and out-of-control fiscal policy. Bush insists on making his tax cuts permanent, yet these cuts are targeted to help the wealthiest in our country, they do almost nothing to benefit the average American, and they worsen the nation's poor fiscal health. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the cost of making the tax cuts permanent is $3.4 trillion through fiscal year 2015. At a time when we have annual budget deficits approaching $500 billion and a national debt that exceeds $8 trillion, we cannot afford these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. He also showed no plan for reining in government spending and he appears content to simply continue his fiscally irresponsible policies.

President Bush also failed to provide America tonight with a vision to adequately address the growing health care crisis that faces the nation. Health care inflation is rising at a rate of approximately 15 percent a year, and yet he gave us no plan for controlling health care costs.  In order to ensure the competitiveness of our businesses and the vibrancy of our economy, we must control the cost of health care. 

He discussed relatively minor policy changes that will have a limited impact on what is clearly a large-scale problem.  In doing so, he's demonstrated that he has neither the will nor the creativity to deal with the central and urgent challenges faced by million of American families.  We need to do better and the Bush Administration needs to lay out a health policy that controls costs and also helps all Americans get the health insurance that they deserve.

Tonight's speech discussed energy independence, our economy and our health care system, yet the proposals that the President discussed tonight do not address the fundamental issues that Americans face. In the State of the Union, Bush had the opportunity to layout a serious and thoughtful vision for the future: a future for Americans that includes investments in the latest technologies to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, a future that includes a significantly reduced national debt and a health care system that doesn't leave 45 million Americans uninsured. President Bush did not do this. Rather, he laid out policies that maintain the status quo regarding our dependence on foreign oil, no plan to curb our spending and no effective plan to help the millions of uninsured Americans.  We need real solutions to these important and difficult problems and the President failed to provide the American people with policies that will address these issues."