Press Releases

The tragedies of September 11 made it abundantly clear that America needed a stronger airport security system.  Congress took an enormous step forward today with the passage of airport security legislation.

No longer will we have low-paid, poorly-trained employees screening passengers and baggage at our airports.  Within a year, we will have federal law enforcement personnel at all our nation’s airports.  These workers will not have the right to strike and will be fired if they can’t do the job.  They must be American citizens.  Most importantly, they will be professionals, earning a decent salary and benefits.  We simply can’t have a system where security employees at our airports are only on the job for a few months because the pay and benefits are so low.  That won’t happen anymore.

This bill also ensures that all checked baggage will be screened for explosives, and expands the federal air marshal program.  

We will ensure that individuals seeking flight instruction undergo a background check and an Immigration and Naturalization Service review for foreign service.

I appreciate the hard work done by my Senate and House colleagues who set aside partisan differences and compromising on a common sense security approach for the benefit of all Americans.

Our task isn’t over, however.  Implementation is the most important part of this new security approach, and I look forward to working with the Department of Transportation and our local airports, such as SeaTac, in implementing the best airport security system in the world.

Congressman Adam Smith announced today that several key law enforcement services in Washington state will receive additional federal funding which will allow the state to have the nation's first integrated statewide jail booking system and increase its efforts to fight the continued epidemic of methamphetamine use in Washington state.

The funding comes as part of H.R. 2500, the 2002 Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations Conference Report, which passed the House of Representatives 411 - 15 and is expected to be signed by the President in the next week.

Smith's top priority, $1 million for the Washington Association of Sheriff and Police Chiefs (WASPC) to establish a statewide jail booking system, was granted in full. 

WASPC began establishing a statewide jail booking, reporting and victim notification system in 2000 knowing that when implemented, the system would be a valuable asset to the Washington State criminal justice community by providing a computerized link between all county and city jails for the exchange of jail booking data. This information, which is currently not accessible statewide, would increase law enforcement’s ability to investigate crime, enhance officer safety and protect victims of crime.

The Washington State Jail booking, reporting and victim notification system will be unique to the United States - no other state has developed a similar system. 

"A statewide jail booking system would increase Washington state law enforcement's ability to identify criminals and protect our citizens," explained Smith. "With so much travel between counties, it's imperative that, for example, Pierce County police officers know when a suspect is also wanted in King County. This system will ensure better communication between law enforcement agencies and will hopefully serve as a model to the rest of the country."

The $1 million request will allow WASPC to complete the project. The money will be used to assist the city and county law enforcement and correctional facilities throughout the state to integrate into the central site of the new statewide system. 

Also, Smith is pleased that he was able to help secure $4 million -- twice as much federal funding as last year -- to fight the methamphetamine crisis in Washington state. The funding will be used to alleviate the rampant meth problem that penetrates all nine congressional districts. 

“Methamphetamine abuse is causing many problems in our communities. It is not only damaging the drug abusers but also the abuser's family and neighbors,” Smith said. “Furthermore, it is an enormous public health risk, and cleanup costs are estimated to be close to $25,000 per site. This money was absolutely critical to combat this serious problem.”

I am pleased with recent developments related to the Microsoft case and am hopeful that a final settlement is soon reached between the Justice Department, Microsoft and the states.  This proposal represents real progress, and I’m confident that it will afford predictability to the company to move forward with its business plans, allow for continued delivery of high quality products to consumers and will give investors and entrepreneurs confidence that the government will not stifle innovation.

Among other things, the deal would provide protection for Microsoft’s intellectual property while the company shares its Windows’ source code in a secure facility.  Further, Microsoft would have to give hardware makers more control of the desktop, such as which icons users first see when starting their computers. Microsoft would also have to provide more of its code to firms that want to create applications that would run on Windows.  Importantly, the deal would require the company to provide independent monitors with full access to its books and plans for five years to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement.

I believe that the consent decree will address the concerns expressed by some consumer groups and some of Microsoft’s competitors while avoiding the radical remedies that have been discussed.  Breaking up the company was never in the interest of consumers or the technology industry in general, and I believe that this proposed settlement recognizes that fact.  

Finally, I am hopeful that the states will agree to the terms of this settlement.  It is a balanced and fair approach to finally solving a case that has already dragged on for far too long.  It is time for the technology industry and our economy to get on with business and this settlement will allow just that.

Today, Democratic Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9) announced that he plans to vote against the trade negotiating authority legislation sponsored by Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) unless Congress first passes reasonable worker assistance and economic stimulus packages.

“Until the President and House Leadership follow through on their promise to enact a meaningful workers’ relief package and a reasonable, fair economic stimulus package, I cannot vote to give the President trade promotion authority,” explained Smith. “While I support the idea of trade negotiating authority, I will not vote to give it to President Bush until he reins in the conservative wing of his party and keeps his promise to enact a strong workers’ assistance package and a fiscally responsible, balanced stimulus package.”

Smith said reports that conservatives forced changes in the House Leadership and Bush Administration’s policies in exchange for fast track support concern him. “The President promised us a fair worker assistance package, and indicated support for the principles outlined by the bipartisan Budget Committee leadership,” he said. “The conservatives in the Republican party threatened to pull support for fast track, and in so doing, they have linked these policies. If those are the rules of the game, there is no reason for Democrats who support worker assistance and a fair economic stimulus package to support fast track legislation.”

A worker assistance package must include health care assistance and measures to assist workers who have become unemployed as a result of the terrorist attacks, said Smith. “When we passed the airline assistance package, House leadership promised us that a worker relief package was on the way,” noted Smith. “I’m still waiting, and more importantly, thousands of Americans and their families are still waiting.”

Furthermore, an economic stimulus package needs to be more balanced and fiscally responsible, Smith said. “A responsible and constructive economic stimulus package would be more fiscally responsible, make investments in the infrastructure needed to ensure a strong economic foundation for the future as well as today. It can’t be just an excuse to cut taxes and further erode the ability of our government to do its job.”

Smith has been a longtime supporter of trade measures, including permanent Normal Trade Relations for China, the Vietnam trade agreement, and the Jordan trade agreement. He has urged for greater consideration of labor and environmental issues in trade agreements, and for inclusion of those issues in fast track legislation, and says he is pleased that so much progress has been made on these issues since 1998.

“I applaud the hard work done by my colleagues Cal Dooley, John Tanner, Bill Jefferson, Sander Levin, and Charlie Rangel in moving fast track in the right direction,” said Smith. “In fact, the Thomas bill is very close to what I would like to see in a fast track bill. However, I cannot vote for this legislation when thousands of workers and Americans around the country are still waiting for Congress to address the urgent issues that have arisen as a result of the terrorist attacks.”

Smith is hopeful there are still prospects for bipartisan cooperation on all these issues.

“I think if the House leadership invites more people to the bargaining table, we can come up with a worker assistance program, an economic stimulus package, and even a fast track bill that can garner bipartisan support,” Smith said. “I urge the White House and Congressional leadership to come together and work through these critical issues.”

Congressman Adam Smith was pleased to see his bill, HR 2115 the Lakehaven Utility District Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse Project, pass the Power and Water Subcommittee of the Resources Committee by a unanimous vote today.

“While I have been pushing this project for the past few years in Congress, I believe it is especially timely now due to the effects of this year’s drought in the Pacific Northwest,” said Smith. “I am thankful that as Ranking Member on the Water & Power Resources Subcommittee, I was able to aid in this environmentally friendly bill’s passage. It is now my hope that we will be able get this legislation through the full committee.”

HR 2115 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the design, planning, and construction of a project to reclaim and reuse wastewater within and outside of the service area of the Lakehaven Utility District, Washington. The authorization of this bill would allow the Lakehaven Utility District to be eligible for up to a 25% federal match for the development and construction this project. The federal government’s estimated share for the project is about $8 million. 

“This bill will allow Lakehaven to reuse and reclaim water which is currently not being utilized and essentially being wasted,” said Smith. “This is especially important because of the current strain on our groundwater supplies that has been exasperated by this year’s drought. Not only is the demand for water increasing, but we are also depleting our groundwater supply. This legislation will increase our usable water and recharge the aquifer.”

Lakehaven Utility District is one of Washington state’s largest water and sewer utilities district, providing ten million gallons of water a day to approximately 100,000 residents, encompassing the city of Federal Way, and portions of Des Moines, Kent, Auburn, Pacific, Algona, Milton, King County and Pierce County. 

The utility district uses groundwater sources that are recharged primarily from local precipitation. While development has reduced the ability for these aquifers to naturally recharge, the demand for water from these sources has increased to exceed their safe production limits and simultaneously, a reduction in these aquifer levels has decreased well water production. The Lakehaven Utility District has two secondary wastewater treatment plants currently discharging over six million gallons of water a day to Puget Sound. This project, if enacted, would recapture that water and treat some of it for reuse to irrigate golf courses and other facilities, while the rest of the water would be returned to the aquifer through injections wells. The reuse of water for non-drinking purposes is expected to ease the demands on the groundwater supply.

The bill must now be heard and pass the full Resources committee. Although there is no given time line on that, Smith will soon be formally requesting a full committee mark-up of his legislation from Resources Committee Chairman, Rep. Hansen of Utah.