Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today introduced H. Res. 911 in the House of Representatives calling for an increased commitment in Afghanistan to stem rising violence and confront resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists.  The bill – cosponsored by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) – makes it clear that such an increase cannot occur until we reduce our troop presence in Iraq.

“The simple message I hear from our troops and commanders is that we do not have enough people or resources on the ground to secure Afghanistan.  The country is roughly the same size and population as Iraq and served as a haven for those that actually hit us on 9/11.  And yet, despite all this, and despite a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida, the administration decided that Afghanistan is only worth one-sixth of the troop commitment compared to Iraq,” Smith said.

"Afghanistan is central to the fight against terrorism, and we can no longer afford to have our attention and resources diverted from that important mission. This bill is crucial to ensuring that long overdue resources are reallocated from Iraq to Afghanistan. I congratulate Congressman Smith on developing such a responsible piece of legislation and look forward to working with him to see that it becomes law," Skelton said.

The Administration’s current policies for Iraq and Afghanistan create a massive mismatch in our commitments:

  • Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. spent on foreign aid and diplomatic activities in Afghanistan and other Operation Enduring Freedom countries 31 cents for every dollar spent on similar activities in Iraq.
  • The U.S. maintains approximately 25,000 troops in Afghanistan, compared to more than 160,000 troops in Iraq.  Our continued, costly Iraq occupation precludes a sufficient troop increase in Afghanistan to confront a rising tide of violence.

The security situation in Afghanistan is dire.  The United Nations reports that thus far 2007 is the most violent year in Afghanistan since 2001, with suicide bombings up 69 percent in the first eight months of the year compared with the same period last year.  Al-Qaida regenerated much of its ability to attack the U.S. and has a haven in the Pakistan Federally Administred Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghanistan border.  The Taliban spread into new areas of the country and is believed to be working with al-Qaida leaders.

To respond to these alarming developments, H. Res. 911 calls for the U.S., in partnership with our allies, to:

  • Strengthen our long-term commitment to secure and stabilize Afghanistan and contribute the necessary levels of economic, civilian, and military resources;
  • Increase military force levels in Afghanistan to a level sufficient to significantly improve security and stability in the country, prevent the return of a haven for al-Qaida and the Taliban, and enhance the ability of the Afghan National Security Forces to maintain long-term security and stability;
  • Free up resources for Afghanistan by responsibly redeploying military forces in Iraq not essential for counterterrorism activities, training and equipping Iraqi security forces, or protection of United States citizens and facilities.

The full text of the resolution can be found at

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement regarding the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations measure:

“This legislation is far from perfect, but it reflects our best efforts to fund the priorities of the American people.  I am encouraged that Congress was able to reverse some of the President’s proposed cuts to key programs.  I was also able to help secure funding for key South Sound initiatives in this legislation,” Smith said.

Overall, the legislation approved by the House makes significant improvements to the President’s budget request.  The legislation reverses proposed cuts to essential programs, including:

  • $1.8 billion for Homeland Security grants, recognizing that fighting terrorism must be a top priority.
  • $1.7 billion for Pell Grants and other student aid programs.
  • $1.2 billion for state and local law enforcement.
  • $1 billion for health care access, including increases to programs like Community Health Centers to provide 280,000 more underinsured Americans with access to health care and High Risk Insurance Pools to help 200,000 more people afford health insurance.
  • $767 million for K-12 education, including funds for Title 1, Special Education, Teacher Quality Grants, After School Programs, and Head Start.
  • $575 million for technical training at high schools and community colleges.
  • $486 million for energy efficiency and renewable fuel sources, including solar energy, wind energy, and biofuels.

A list of South Sound projects funded in the omnibus bill can be found at

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted to support our troops in harm’s way and their families at home by supporting H.R. 1585, the fiscal year 2008 Defense Authorization Conference Report.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 370 to 49. 

“Our troops and their families continue to shoulder enormous burdens on our behalf.  I was proud today to vote for legislation that recognizes the sacrifices they make for our country.  This bill will also help repair our military readiness and reequip our National Guard,” Smith said.

Supporting Our Troops in Harm’s Way

“Our troops continue to do a fantastic job in very dangerous environments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Congress is doing all we can to make sure they have the greatest degree of safety possible.  The legislation we passed today authorized billions of dollars in funds for more MRAPs, up-armored Humvees, counter measures for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and new body armor,” Smith said.

Restoring Our Military Readiness

The conference report also addressees one of the worst results of the President’s Iraq policies: the degradation of our military readiness. The legislation passed by the U.S. Congress today addresses the drop in readiness by:

  • Providing $980 million for National Guard equipment.  Much of the Guard’s equipment was sent to support operations in Iraq.  The bill also mandates rating and reporting of National Guard readiness for missions inside the United States.  These provisions will be critical for ensuring the emergency response capability of the Washington National Guard.
  • Authorizing $1 billion for the Strategic Readiness Fund to allow for rapid replacement of needed equipment.
    Establishing the Defense Materiel Readiness Board, mandating a detailed report on readiness.

Supporting Our Military Families

“This bill sets policies that will better support our military families strained by repeated, lengthy deployments.  The bill increases military pay by 3.5 percent, prohibits fee increases under TRICARE, and provides better benefits for troops and families,” Smith said.

The conference report includes the Wounded Warrior Act, which would improve care for injured troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal revealed major gaps in care for wounded service members.  The Act implements several recommendations of the commission set up to review shortcomings revealed by the scandal.

Increasing Accountability in Contracts

The defense authorization conference report improves accountability and cracks down on waste, fraud and abuse in contracting, including requiring new steps to manage and oversee contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after a House Armed Services Committee hearing on security and stability in Afghanistan.  The hearing included as witnesses Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

“It is clear following the responses of Secretary Gates and others that our efforts in Afghanistan suffer due to the depth of our commitment in Iraq.

“Iraq and Afghanistan are two countries of similar size and population. In Iraq, we have roughly 164,000 troops, including the bulk of our special operations assets, and we spend more than $11 billion a month.  In Afghanistan, the country used as a safe haven by al-Qaida while planning the September 11 attacks, we have only 25,000 troops and spend around $3 billion per month.  The mismatch results from our making Iraq the highest priority to the point that we neglect a key front in the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

“The witnesses before the House Armed Services Committee gave a blunt summary of our approach in these two countries:  ‘In Afghanistan, we do what we can; in Iraq, we do what we must.’

“Secretary Gates avoided the obvious – that we need much of the materiel and manpower currently bogged down in Iraq – by saying he wasn’t ready to ‘let NATO off the hook’ in Afghanistan.  As important as it is to keep pressure on our allies to commit to the effort, that alone will not make the kind of difference we need to see in that country.

“When I travel to Afghanistan to talk to troops in the field and commanders on the ground, the simple message I hear is that we do not have enough troops and resources in Afghanistan to secure the region from the Taliban and al-Qaida.  The resources, manpower, and focus we need to succeed against those that actually hit us on 9/11 will not be available until we reduce our presence in Iraq.”


U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted for forward-thinking energy legislation that would change the direction of American energy policy and protect the environment.  The bill changes federal incentives from reliance on fossil fuels to greater use of renewable energy sources.  Smith supported the Energy Independence and Security Act, which passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 235 – 181.

“Prices at the pump, environmental quality, and the national security of our country are tied to our dependence on foreign and domestic fossil fuel sources.  The energy policy we passed today will lower energy prices, create new jobs, and make our country more secure,” Smith said.

“Our region has taken the lead in alternative energy sources for vehicles and electricity, along with energy efficiency standards.  This legislation would bring our national policies more in line with the progressive policies in the Pacific Northwest,” Smith added.

The fiscally responsible legislation passed by the House today pays for new initiatives by repealing tax breaks for oil companies enjoying record profits.  The revenues provided by closing these tax breaks would be reinvested in programs that support American innovation, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.  This legislation is the first step in changing U.S. energy policies to a more forward-thinking framework that protects the environment and bolsters our economy.

The energy policy outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act includes:

  • Green building standards.  Provisions in the bill would establish new standards for energy efficiency for building construction that could save Americans up to $50 billion per year.  Smith introduced green buildings legislation earlier this year and was pleased to see Congress focus on the issue in this legislation.
  • The first increases in vehicle fuel efficiency standards (CAFE) in 32 years.  The new standard would be 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
  • Establishes Renewable Fuels and Renewable Electricity Standards to increase the domestic use of renewable energy supplies, including American biofuels.
  • New energy efficiency standards for consumer products. 
  Provisions in the bill would establish new standards for energy efficiency for building construction that could save Americans up to $50 billion per year.  Smith introduced green buildings legislation earlier this year and was pleased to see Congress focus on the issue in this legislation.

President Bush threatened to veto the bill, a stance Smith urged him to rethink.

“This bill is fiscally responsible and would create new American jobs, make the U.S. more secure, and protect our environment.  The President should sign this bill when it makes it to his desk,” Smith said.