Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding his votes today on the Iraq and Afghanistan war supplemental funding bill.

“The bill we voted on in the House today included a timeline, a plan and funds for a responsible redeployment of our troops from Iraq.  I voted for the overall package because I remain supportive of a responsible redeployment policy that supports our troops.  Unfortunately, we were not able to get the votes for the full redeployment package, in large part due to more than 100 House Republicans who refused to vote in favor of funds for troops in harm’s way.

“I strongly support a change in our nation’s Iraq policy.  I have never supported an abrupt cutoff of funds that would lead to a precipitous, irresponsible withdrawal, and I have voted against previous war funding bills that lacked real policy changes in Iraq.  I was encouraged that this legislation contained all the elements needed to properly draw down our commitment in Iraq, and I hope the next administration promptly begins a responsible redeployment to better serve our national security interests.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement regarding his vote against H.R. 2419, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill:

“The bill passed today by the House of Representatives contained many positive provisions, including several that would benefit Washington state.  Unfortunately, the core of the bill retained its wasteful, trade-distorting subsidies and represents a missed opportunity for real agricultural and trade policy reform.

“This year’s Farm Bill did contain provisions which I could have supported on their own, including an additional $10.4 billion for nutrition programs to help Americans afford healthy food.  The bill also contained funds to mitigate massive salmon season closures in our state, along with tax relief for timber producers.  This year’s Farm Bill also included welcome assistance for fruit, vegetable and specialty crops, along with research to aid global competitiveness of our Washington state farmers.  Any of these provisions would have been policies I could support had the overall bill not been so fundamentally flawed.

“The fact is that our agriculture policy contains wasteful, market-distorting subsidies that insult taxpayers and hamper our nation’s economic growth prospects by undermining our trade policies.  Our farm programs and those of other developed countries have been a central factor in blocking a breakthrough in global trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).  This stalemate over agriculture policy is preventing the conclusion of an agreement that could bring hundreds of billions of dollars of growth to the global economy, with major benefits for American manufactures, workers, farmers, and consumers alike.  Few would benefit more from such a deal than residents of Washington State, where one in three jobs is linked to global trade.  But this five-year bill misses that key opportunity by reauthorizing billions of dollars in market-distorting subsidies, effectively tying the next President’s hands in global trade negotiations.  We can’t afford to take that step backwards.

“Aside from the trade concerns, the subsidy programs in the Farm Bill waste taxpayer dollars on too many well-off farmers that don’t need the help.  The bill provides for subsidies to be paid to farming households with a combined income of up to $2.5 million dollars.  The authors of the bill missed an opportunity to move ahead with real reform, instead opting for a mere 0.6 percent cut to the most wasteful type of subsidies.  This is not real reform.

“This bill contained many peripheral provisions that could have been of benefit to American families and to Washington state in particular.  It is unfortunate, however, that the core of the bill remains so fundamentally flawed.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today introduced legislation to address national Medicare reimbursement disparities that hurt Washington state.  The legislation, which Murray and Smith first introduced in 2002, raises Washington state’s Medicare reimbursement rates to the national average and ensures that all states receive at least the national average of per-patient spending.  The MediFair Act ensures that Washington state’s seniors are on par with seniors around the country and stops punishing the state’s health care system for providing efficient, quality care.

“Washington state’s Medicare program is one of the most efficient in the country.  The federal program punishes our lack of waste and low utilization through very low reimbursement rates for our seniors and health care system.  We should reward good government, not punish it, and the MediFair Act is a good step in that direction,” Smith said.

"Washington state seniors have spent their lives working hard, raising their families, and paying into the Medicare system. But when they retire, they find that their access to health care depends upon where they happen to live," Senator Murray said. "The MediFair Act is a starting point for eliminating the regional inequities in Medicare. Our bill ensures that seniors are not penalized when they choose to retire and that doctors aren't forced to choose between staying in business or taking Medicare patients."

The MediFair Act will ensure Washington’s seniors and health care system get fair treatment from the federal Medicare program and reward efficiency instead of punishing it.   The bill increases reimbursement rates for Washington state to the national average and directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require other states be more efficient.

The federal Medicare and Medicare Advantage systems cover health care for senior citizens by reimbursing doctors, hospitals, home health care, nursing homes and HMOs.  Washington state worked hard to create an efficient Medicare system.  Instead of rewarding Washington state’s responsible administration of their program, the federal government’s payment formula repays our state with one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country. 

In 2003, for example, per capita spending under traditional Medicare was $5,661 for beneficiaries in Seattle, $9,752 for those in Los Angeles, and $11,340 for those in Miami. Continuing cuts to the Medicare program hit our state particularly hard and cause Medicare providers and insurance companies to seriously consider not participating in the Washington state Medicare program.  We need to protect choice for our seniors and ensure they can find a Medicare provider when they seek medical care.

Smith and Murray introduced the MediFair Act in their respective chambers of Congress on Thursday.  U.S. Reps. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.),  Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) cosponsored the bill. The House and the Senate must approve their versions of the legislation before the President can sign it into law.  Smith and Murray introduced similar legislation in 2005.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) returned late yesterday from leading a five-day congressional delegation (CODEL) trip to the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  U.S. Reps. Mac Thornberry (D-Texas), Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Bill Shuster (R-Penn.) and Mike Conaway (D-Texas) joined him on the trip.  Smith led the CODEL as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s terrorism panel.

“Our troops and foreign service officers work hard around the world to serve American interests and to fight the spread of terrorist networks and their ideology, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  This trip reinforced my conviction that this region of the world is the central front in our war against al-Qaida and we have under-resourced it because of other priorities.  This must change,” Smith said.

Smith organized the CODEL to provide House Armed Services Committee members with information regarding our special operations forces and their work to roll back al-Qaida and related groups in key theaters around the world.  Smith organized a counter-terrorism-related CODEL to the Pacific region earlier this year.  These trips provide Members of Congress with invaluable direct contact with in-country U.S. and allied personnel who can provide first-hand explanations of their needs and challenges.

The CODEL’s itinerary included stops in:

  • The United Kingdom.  The Members of Congress met with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert H. Tuttle, the U.S. Country Team, and United Kingdom counter-terrorism officials and military personnel. 
  • Afghanistan.  Smith’s delegation met with U.S. Ambassador William B. Wood and members of the U.S. Country Team.  The delegation also met with General Dan K. McNeill, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and Abdul Raheem Wardak, the Minister of Defense for Afghanistan.  Other meetings also occurred with local business leaders, members of the U.S. special operations forces community, constituents serving in the region, as well as Canadian military officials stationed in Kandahar to discuss the activities of the local Provincial Reconstruction Team.
  • Pakistan. The CODEL met with U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson and members of the U.S. Country Team.  The CODEL also met with President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, and Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj, Director of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency.

“This trip gave our delegation insight into the challenges faced by U.S. personnel in theaters beyond Iraq that are essential to our national security.  I intend to put the lessons learned to use as the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee crafts our portion of the National Defense Authorization Act in the coming weeks,” Smith said.

Reps. Adam Smith (WA-09) and Brian Baird (WA-03) today co-chaired a joint subcommittee hearing between the House Science Committee and House Armed Services Committee to examine the role social and behavioral sciences can play in meeting our national security needs. Rep. Smith, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, and Rep. Baird, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, led the effort to explore opportunities for collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in utilizing this scientific research to help soldiers serving in new combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The fight to stop the spread of terrorism is in large part a struggle to understand and work with local populations.  Our special operations forces and other military and civilian personnel work in dozens of countries and across many different cultures, and understanding the particulars of each is of enormous importance if we are to deny al-Qaida and other groups safe haven.  These interactions are a big component of American ‘soft power,’ and the more skilled and informed we become in this context, the better we will be able to root out insurgencies and terrorists.  Today’s hearing was an opportunity for our subcommittees to learn more about the role social and behavioral sciences can play in our national security,” Smith said.

“Our country has invested billions of dollars in mapping the physical terrain of combat zones based on the recognition that it would be foolhardy to send our soldiers into unknown terrain because it would endanger our soldiers and their mission,” said Chairman Baird.  “What I find so encouraging and interesting about today’s hearing is the recognition that human terrain, which we may not be able to map by satellite or GPS, is just as important to the success of our mission, the survival of our soldiers, and the people were trying to protect.”

During the joint hearing, members explored how NSF research in the social and behavioral sciences can help the nation achieve its national security goals, including empowering soldiers or combat units to adapt and maneuver in foreign cultures and stressful situations. The Subcommittees also examined what new tools, technologies and training programs researchers can use to help soldiers adapt to the current irregular warfare environment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Subcommittee Members heard testimony from the following witnesses: Dr. André van Tilborg, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, Department of Defense; Colonel Martin Schweitzer, Commander 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; Dr. Mark Weiss, Division Director for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences & Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, National Science Foundation; Dr. David Segal, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Research on Military Organization, University of Maryland.

Today’s military witness, Col. Schweitzer, highlighted an example of the practical application of this research in an operational setting.  Col. Schweitzer recently returned from Afghanistan, where he worked with a Human Terrain Team (HTT), which places civilian and uniformed scientists on the ground in order to provide soldiers with better knowledge of the culture in which they are operate.

For more information on this hearing or to access witness testimony, visit the Committee’s website:

Reps. Adam Smith and Brian Baird

Armed Services hearing panel