Press Releases

After a meeting today with Governor Gary Locke, a group of state legislators and leaders from the local business community, Congressman Adam Smith (D-09) pledged to continue his work to establish the Technology Institute at the University of Washington-Tacoma.

"In order to maintain and expand our vibrant economy, there is a clear need to establish a technology institute — I will do everything I can to make sure the institute becomes a reality," said Smith. "Given the strong support from all parties at this meeting, I'm very encouraged that we will realize this goal. We are developing a very robust partnership that would bring to bear federal, state and private funding to initiate the Institute."

Smith is working closely with Congressman Norm Dicks, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and other members of the Washington congressional delegation to identify and secure federal support for the institute. The private sector and the State of Washington have also made substantial investments in the development of the Institute concept.

Recently, Smith spoke with Army Secretary Louis Caldera in an effort to secure $500,000 from the Army to fund a study of the institute. Last week, Smith and Rep. Norm Dicks sent a joint letter to the Secretary in support of planning funds for the institute.

The planning process would develop a strategy for defining the role of the Army in the development of the institute and establishing linkages to industry, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the University of Washington-Tacoma. Smith believes the institute would provide an incubator and a proving ground for some of the Army's advanced technologies that will be central to the success of ongoing Transformation efforts. Also, the program will offer educational and professional opportunities that will assist the Army in recruitment and retention of personnel.

Should the partnership go forward, it would provide a forum for collaboration among the U.S. Army, Washington's cutting edge tech companies, UW's leading computer science department and the Pacific Northwest National Labs. In the coming decade, the Institute could result in up to 1,000 new technology graduates per year.

Throughout his career in Congress, Smith has worked on behalf of economic development in the South Sound region, particularly on bringing high-technology jobs to the area. He has convened two technology summits focused on workforce development, education and other technology issues.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will present three donations of his Congressional pay raise next week to Cascade Christian High School, the Rainier Education Foundation, and Project Look in Burien.

Although he voted against the pay raise, it became law. As he has done with past Congressional pay raises, Smith promised to donate it to local community and education programs. 

Details are as follows:

On Tuesday, November 28, at 8:00 a.m., Smith will present a $500 donation and speak to a classroom of students at Cascade Christian High School, located at 811 21st Street, SE in Puyallup. The $500 will go towards the purchase of new science equipment for the school.

On Tuesday, November 28, at 3:00 p.m., Smith will present a $500 donation and speak to teachers at Rainier High School, located at 308 2nd Street West in Rainier. The $500 will go towards the purchase of thesauruses, a color printer, and a spirometer for measuring lung capacity for the district's science program.

On Wednesday, November 29 at noon, Smith will present a $250 donation to Project LOOK (Learning Outreach Organization for Kids) at the Seahurst Village apartment complex at 13737 12th Avenue SW, Building 31, Apt. 269 in Burien. Project LOOK is an after-school program to help children who have been referred by their teachers. The program was started by Highline School District teachers, social service professionals, and the Burien Police Department.

Reporters are welcome at all events.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith rallied his colleagues today to send a letter to Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt to request that Medicare+Choice funding inequities and shortfalls are resolved this year.

“As Congress prepares to enter final negotiations on our budget for next year, I felt it was important to send a message to our Leadership on this issue,” Smith explained. “Thousands of seniors in my district alone are feeling the pain of Medicare+Choice providers leaving the market or scaling back their benefits due to funding inequities. It isn’t fair to Washington state seniors, and it’s critical that we solve this problem as soon as possible.”

Joining Smith in his letter were: Representatives Brian Baird (WA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Norm Dicks (WA), Cal Dooley (CA), Darlene Hooley (OR), Steny Hoyer (MD), Jay Inslee (WA), Bill Luther (MN), David Minge (MN), and Martin Olav Sabo (MN).

Smith said that while he is optimistic some Medicare provisions will be included in the budget, it is still unclear what those provisions will be. 

“I am hopeful that we can fix the inequity problem. I’ve written legislation to help fix the inequities built into the system that guarantee states like Washington receive about half as much money per Medicare+Choice patient as states like Florida,” said Smith. “This needs to be a top priority of Congress this year so that seniors can continue to have the option of enrolling in Medicare+Choice, no matter where they live.”

Smith’s letter follows:

September 18, 2000

Minority Leader Richard Gephardt
H200
U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Leader Gephardt,

As we head into the final weeks of the 106th Congress, we wanted to bring your attention to an issue that must be addressed before adjournment. Over the last year, it has become clear to us and our constituents that Congress needs to ensure Medicare patients continue to have access to choices in their health care plan.

Due to the payment inequities and administrative burdens in the Medicare+Choice program, thousands of our constituents have lost their HMO coverage during the past two years, and therefore, their health care options. The Medicare+Choice program was designed to give beneficiaries an affordable choice in their health care delivery. They also enjoy the additional benefits that the Medicare+Choice plans have often been able to provide, due to the competition and efficiencies that HMOs bring to the senior health care market.

Unfortunately, many Medicare+Choice plans have withdrawn from various counties and/or scaled back their benefit offerings. Understandably, many of our constituents are upset that they have lost the choices and benefits that they had become accustomed to in the Medicare+Choice program.

We all agree that Medicare beneficiaries deserve stable and universal health care. That is why it is critical for Congress to stabilize the Medicare+Choice program this fall so that all beneficiaries have the choice of enrolling in Medicare+Choice, not just a few that happen to live in the right geographical region.

By streamlining several administrative processes and shoring up reimbursement rates for Medicare+Choice, we will ensure that our constituents have access to stable and affordable health care options, regardless of where they live.

We look forward to working with you this fall.

Sincerely,

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will speak at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 17 at the Auburn commuter rail station at 23 A Street SW, Auburn at the inaugural run of the Puget Sound’s first regular rush hour rail transit in more than 60 years.

“I am very excited about the Tacoma to Seattle rush hour Sounder trips,” said Smith. “The train gives South Sound residents a viable option in their daily commutes.”

The Sunder’s two weekday, rush hour 55-minute trips go from Seattle to Tacoma and stop in Sumner and Auburn. Service will expand throughout the Ninth District, going to Kent in November, Puyallup in February, and Tukwila in September.

“Since coming to Congress in 1997, transportation funding has been a top priority to me and the rest of the Washington delegation,” Smith said. “It’s very exciting to see the results and to know that they will make a real difference in our region’s transportation problems.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today voted to override President Clinton’s veto of H.R. 8, legislation to repeal the estate tax, of which he is a co-sponsor.

“The estate tax hurts countless family-owned farms and businesses,” Smith said. “Too many family farms and businesses are sold before they can be passed to the next generation or must be dismantled, mortgaged, or liquidated in order to pay the tax bill. That hurts employees, not just employers, and costs jobs.”

Smith, a co-sponsor of H.R. 8, has had a longstanding commitment to estate tax relief. Last year, he authored his own estate tax bill which would have immediately repealed the estate tax for all family-owned businesses and farms.

“Under current law, only the first $675,000 of a decedent’s estate is exempt from estate taxes. Beyond that, the value of the estate is taxed at rate ranging from 18 to 60 percent. This is extremely burdensome to family-owned businesses and farms, because while a business or farm may hold assets greater than $675,000, rare is the company or farm that has the kind of liquid cash necessary to pay the high tax bill,” Smith explained. 

On June 9, the House passed H.R. 8. Last month, President Clinton vetoed the the bill. The House was unsuccessful in its attempt to override the veto by a 274-157 margin (290 votes were necessary to override the veto).

“Unfortunately, we came up short,” said Smith. “However, I do believe that the closeness of the vote demonstrates to the President that there is a substantial number of Members of Congress – including Democrats – who believe that estate tax relief is needed, and I am still hopeful that we can make progress on this issue as we negotiate the budget this fall.”