Press Releases

After a stellar game at the plate and at shortstop, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith was named MVP for the Democrats in the annual Congressional baseball game yesterday.

Despite the disappointing 9-1 loss for the Democrats, Smith had an outstanding game. He went 2 for 2 against Republican pitcher and former Seattle Seahawk Steve Largent and made several impressive plays at shortstop.

"I guess some of the Mariners magic has rubbed off on me," Smith joked. "Even though the Democrats lost, it's still for a great cause, and it's a great way to get to know your colleagues in a different way."

Over 50 Members of Congress participated in this year's Congressional Baseball game. Proceeds were donated to the Washington D.C. Literacy Council, the Little League Baseball Program of the Police Boys and Girls Club of Washington D.C., and selected charities of the Bowie Baysox, who also donated their home field for the game. Over $90,000 was raised.

Smith, proud to represent his hometown of Tacoma, wore an official Tacoma Rainiers uniform.

Congressman Adam Smith praised a report issued today by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington, DC think tank, which called for broad reform of our nation's export control regime as it relates to high performance computer systems.

"The export control regime in place today is grounded in the past and doesn't recognize the realities of today's 'networked world'," said Smith, who served as a member of the CSIS "Blue Ribbon Commission on Technology and National Security in a Networked World," which developed this report. 

"I'm pleased that CSIS – led by some of the nation's leading defense experts – recognizes the need to fundamentally revamp the way we protect our nation's security," Smith continued. "The bottom line is that export control reform is critical to the future of U.S. global economic, technological and military leadership, and I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to advance some of the key recommendations of this important report." 

A growing number of leaders in government and industry recognize that modernization of our nation's outdated export control regime is essential if the United States is to remain the world's leader in technology and innovation. The CSIS report is an important first step toward the development of a more effective, forward-looking system of export controls that can account for rapid developments in technology and international market conditions. 

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Smith has been engaged in this issue throughout his service in Congress. Recently, he cosponsored legislation (H.R. 1553) which would repeal current export controls on high performance computers and would allow the Bush Administration to work with Congress, the national security community, and the computer industry to develop a better approach to protect our national security and allow our computer industry to compete globally.

Currently, due to language included in the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the export control system is based on a measurement known as MTOPS (millions of theoretical operations per second). This metric, created by the government, has been found to be "outdated" and invalid by both the Department of Defense and the General Accounting Office in separate reports. In today's networked world, computer hardware controls are ineffective and, as the Defense Science Board concluded in another report, they have a "stifling effect on the U.S. military's rate of technological advancement" because they restrict U.S. companies' revenues for future research and development. 

The CSIS report says that controls based on MTOPS are increasingly "irrelevant" because foreign organizations can link many less-powerful computers together to perform complex calculations. Instead, the U.S. should focus efforts on protecting technologies that we can control, for example: tightening controls surrounding sensitive military software that could be used for designing sophisticated weapons.

"I have two main goals related to export control reform," commented Smith. "First, we need to protect what's important, like high end software for example, instead of spending resources to build walls around computer hardware that is commercially available from foreign suppliers. Second, we must take steps to ensure that the U.S. remains the world's technology superpower. This involves improving our military's IT capacity, enhancing our critical infrastructure, investing in much-needed research and development, and recruiting the best and brightest technology staffers to serve our nation's military. I'm fully committed to accomplishing these goals."

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) - along with 4 New Democrat colleagues in the House - introduced today a resolution that recognizes the importance of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) specification as a key tool for consumers who want to protect their privacy on the Internet. In an effort to promote widespread adoption of the technology, the resolution also urges all government and commerical web sites operators to make their sites P3P compliant.

Cosponsoring the resolution are Reps. Dooley (D-CA), Tauscher (D-CA), Larsen (D-WA) and Moran (D-VA). Importantly, all Members announced that their congressional web sites are the first in the House of Representatives to be P3P compliant.

The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium and is emerging as an industry standard. Simply put, P3P is designed to empower consumers with a tool for evaluating web sites' privacy standards and then making choices about how to interact with that site. 

"One of the key elements of the privacy debate – and something that often gets lost in the shuffle – is the need for consumers to be able to effectively manage their personal information online," said Smith. "The P3P specification fills this need because it allows consumers to make decisions about how much information they want to share with web site operators. As Congress considers privacy legislation, P3P is an immediate way to address consumer concerns without onerous regulation."

The resolution recognizes that "the success of the P3P specification depends on the widespread adoption and deployment of machine readable privacy policies" and that commercial, nonprofit and government web sites "should deploy P3P compliant privacy policies." 

P3P-enabled Web sites make their information practices available in a standard, machine-readable format. P3P-enabled browsers can "read" this snapshot automatically and compare it to the consumer's own set of privacy preferences. 

A consumer using P3P software on their browser is walked through a process that helps them determine and set their privacy preferences. The user is prompted to answer a standardized set of multiple-choice questions, covering all the major aspects of a Web site's privacy policies. These questions measure how much personal information they want to share with any given site. When P3P is set up and the user visits a P3P-compliant site, the site's privacy statement is automatically compared against the user's preferences, and the user is informed about how the site measures up. 

"This is a classic chicken and egg issue," Smith continued. "Web sites won't become P3P compliant if people do not have the software to make it work. And the browser-software companies won't create software that fully takes advantage of the power of the P3P specification if web sites are not compliant. I am proud to be among the first few Members of the House of Representatives to have a P3P compliant Web site, and I hope this resolution helps spread the word about this important tool."

Leaders of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a prominent group of 72 centrist, pro-growth Democratic members of the House of Representatives, hailed the education bill approved by the House today for its consensus approach to reforming our schools and noted its similarities to their own education plan. New Democrats also played a leading role in turning back efforts to weaken the bill.

New Democrat Reps. Tim Roemer (IN), Cal Dooley (CA), Jim Moran (VA) and Adam Smith (WA) are the lead House sponsors of the Three R's plan, H.R. 345, the Public Education Reinvestment, Reinvention, and Responsibility Act. Their plan, which is cosponsored by 18 New Democrats, is aimed at refocusing federal education programs on raising academic achievement and providing more funding and flexibility to states and local districts. 

The Three R's plan increases funding for key education programs, including Title I, teacher quality improvement, and bilingual education; requires increased accountability from states and local school districts for student achievement; and provides an unprecedented level of flexibility for supplemental programs. In exchange for greater flexibility over how federal dollars are spent, the plan puts a new focus on student achievement by making schools more accountable.

New Democrats today supported passage of H.R. 1, the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act, in part because of its numerous similarities to the Three R's plan. These similarities include:
 

1. Increased Accountability and Focus on Results: 

  • Tougher accountability requirements by demanding progress for all students, thereby; closing the achievement gap between students of different economic backgrounds;
  • Stronger professional development standards and training for teachers;
  • Required State and school district report cards;
  • Increased commitment to public school choice.

2. Increased Funds to Disadvantaged Students: 

  • Doubled investment over five years in the Title I program for lowest-income students 
  • Additional resources to turn around low-performing schools 
  • Increased targeting of teacher quality and professional development resources to school districts with the greatest needs; 
  • Targeted funding for Limited English Proficient students to communities with the greatest need; 
  • Increased targeting of educational technology programs to low-income communities. 

3. Increased Local Flexibility and Performance-Based Funding: 

  • Allowances for an unprecedented level of flexibility for local school districts; 
  • Rewards and sanctions for States based on academic performance of students. 

New Democrats were key in turning back an amendment by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (MI) that would have reduced the bill's accountability measures by eliminating annual testing provisions. New Democrats made up 44 of the 89 Democratic votes to uphold the testing provisions, helping defeat the Hoekstra amendment Tuesday by a vote of 173-255.

New Democrats were also pleased with the withdrawal of an amendment that would have created State block grants. The "Straight A's" proposal, which New Democrats vigorously opposed, would have resulted in the siphoning of federal funds from low-income students and school districts to the state. The "Three R's" plan increased the targeting of funds to high poverty areas, and the amendment would have undermined that principle.

"For the past four months, Democrats and Republicans have worked tirelessly to produce a bill that improves our schools and helps our students," NDC Co-Chair Rep. Tim Roemer said. "The overwhelming bipartisan support for this education bill demonstrates that education reform should no longer be held hostage to partisan ideology. By heeding the call for greater investment, accountability and flexibility in education, this bill reflects the common-sense values of the American people espoused by the New Democrat Coalition."

"Today New Democrats have shown once again that we can work with Republicans in a bipartisan fashion to make our schools more accountable, raise academic achievement, and target more resources at the students who need it most," NDC Co-Chair Rep. Cal Dooley (CA) said. "The bill approved today is a well-crafted compromise that represents positive and meaningful education reform."

"Consolidating federal programs, reducing red tape, targeting funding to those school districts most in need, and demanding results is a framework for a better federal role in the K-12 education system," said Rep. Adam Smith. "I'm very pleased that we've been able to work in a bipartisan way to improve schools for our nation's children."

"I am proud that Republicans have joined with us to provide new resources to help turn around low-performing schools and to demand accountability from our educational system," exclaimed NDC co-chair Rep. Jim Moran. "By appropriating many of the tenets of our Three R's bill, the bill approved today rejects the status quo and draws upon the best ideas from across the political spectrum."
 

In an effort to remove the mystery surrounding procurement by the federal government, the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, Congressman Adam Smith will host an important conference entitled 'Doing Business With America.'

The conference is scheduled for Tuesday, May 29th, from 8:30am to 12:00pm in the Conference Room at the CenterPoint Corporate Park, 20415 72nd Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032, and will focus on helping businesses of various sizes obtain government contacts and begin to establish long-term working relationships with different agencies within the federal government. 

"Working with the federal government, in the eyes of most small businesses, can be a virtual maze of red tape and impossible bureaucratic regulations," said Congressman Smith. "With this in mind, many businesses tend to forgo government contracts because of the perceived obstacles involved in the process." 

The conference will be an excellent opportunity for the business community and federal agencies to network with small, disadvantaged business suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors. More than 20 federal agencies, large-business prime contractors, and technical assistance providers have been invited, including the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, the General Services Administration, the Small Business Administration, Boeing, Microsoft, and more. 

To confirm your attendance, for directions to CenterPoint, or for questions about the conference, please contact Jeff Reading in Congressman Smith's district office by phone at 253-926-6683, or by email at Jeff.Reading@mail.house.gov.