Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement tonight concerning his vote against the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill:

“Our servicemen and women are serving overseas and, as such, it’s critically important that their government provides them all the support they need: logistically, financially and by letting them know we honor their sacrifice,” said Smith. “I have consistently supported Defense Appropriations bills because, each year, this measure provides the funding to ensure our military has the best tools and equipment possible.  As an elected official, I take seriously my responsibility to make sure our troops have all the resources they need.

But tonight, the Republican majority, through a backroom deal, brought forward a defense bill that includes an unrelated and controversial provision to allow drilling in one of the last pristine natural reserves in our country: the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The contentious matter of whether or not to begin drilling in Alaska has no place in a bill that funds the Department of Defense. The needs of our troops serving in combat should never be subject to such cynical politics. I am disappointed that the majority is willing to play games with this important legislation and, for this reason, I could not support this deeply flawed bill.  I voted against this bill in hopes that it would be sent back to conference committee where controversial provisions would be stripped out and then a clean bill could be sent to the floor expeditiously.  I would then vote for that clean bill. 

Each year, funds for the Department of Defense must be both authorized and appropriated in separate pieces of legislation.  While I voted against the appropriations measure, I was proud to support this year’s FY06 Defense Authorization bill, which also passed the House.  I will continue my efforts on the House Armed Services Committee to advocate for the best interests of those serving our nation.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement concerning his vote against the Budget Reconciliation:

“Last month, I voted against the House version of the budget reconciliation bill.  At that time, I pledged to work with my colleagues to craft legislation that will balance our budget, while also maintaining access to health care and education for all Americans.  The conference report before the House remains deeply flawed and fails to meet the goals that I laid out in November.

This bill cuts an estimated $39.7 billion over five years from vital services like Medicaid, food stamps, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs which directly help disadvantaged Americans. This legislation also adds new fees and higher interest rates for student loans, harming those who are seeking to gain an education.  These students are the next generation of innovators and it is through their achievements that our nation will remain competitive in the global marketplace.  This is unacceptable. While I strongly believe in fiscal discipline, we should not balance the budget on the backs of those Americans that need help the most. This simply is not consistent with the priorities and values of the American people. 

The majority’s claims that this measure will help balance the budget are hypocritical at best.  This is reckless policymaking from a party that once claimed to believe in fiscal responsibility, and it comes at a time when the national debt exceeds $8 trillion and the annual cost of interest on the debt has increased to over $300 billion a year.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) was pleased that H.R. 3402, which reauthorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) programs for fiscal years 2006-2009, passed the House of Representatives. The bill would authorize approximately $24.4 billion for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and $3.4 billion for the U.S. Marshals Service, which is charged with protecting federal courthouses and our domestic airliners, among other duties. Another $3.9 billion is authorized for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

I am proud to announce that the DOJ bill includes an important provision that creates the Crystal Judson Domestic Violence Protocol Program. This program would provide funding to law enforcement agencies, nonprofit nongovernmental victim services providers and State, tribal, and local governments for the development and implementation of training for local victim domestic violence service providers. This program would also fund victim service personnel, to be known as “Crystal Judson Victim Advocates,” which provide support services and advocacy for victims of domestic violence committed by law enforcement personnel.

“I am extremely pleased that this bill creates and authorizes the Crystal Judson Domestic Violence Protocol Program,” said Smith. “Domestic violence knows no boundaries and it’s important that victims receive the help and support they need. We can all learn from the tragic and unnecessary death of Crystal Judson that anyone who commits acts of domestic violence must be held accountable and that, as a nation, we must do better to prevent violence and protect our citizens.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) voted against H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism & Illegal Immigration Control Act. The bill claims to increase security at the international border and at ports of entry into the United States. It changes immigration law by making illegal presence in the country a criminal offense, increasing penalties for immigration-related offenses and allowing new grounds for the deportation of immigrants who commit certain crimes.

“I believe in a sound and reasonable immigration policy that strengthens our homeland security,” said Smith. “We need real immigration reform that decreases the number of illegal immigrants entering this country, punishes businesses that hire illegal immigrants and will provide greater security for our borders.  This bill fails to meet that standard. 

Also, the immigration reform bill before the House today is fiscally irresponsible and puts a further strain on our overburdened first responders. The bill would dramatically increase the burden on our legal system by automatically detaining all illegal immigrants and holding them indefinitely. The cost of building new facilities and the needed legal infrastructure surrounding the number of detainees is astronomical.”

Smith goes on to note, “Of even further concern to me is that an amendment was attached to the bill that expands the existing authority for state and local law enforcement personnel to apprehend, detain, remove and transport illegal immigrants in the routine course of their duties. I’m concerned that this added burden will take away from their needed duties to fight crime and keep our streets safe. They have critically important duties to attend to like protecting our communities and fighting meth and should not also be forced to assume the federal government’s responsibility for catching illegal immigrants.”
 

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Lewis (D-GA), along with 18 co-sponsors, introduced the High Performance Buildings (HPB) Act of 2005. The legislation is aimed at helping millions of families living in affordable housing units. The bill encourages communities to include sustainable development in their strategic housing plans and provides grants to non-profit organizations that increase sustainable development capacity in low-income communities. It also establishes an institute at the National Science Foundation to research indoor environmental quality and its effect on health and productivity, as well as to encourage the development and deployment of innovative energy-saving techniques.

"I have long been a proponent of incorporating new technologies and innovative ideas to improve the daily lives of Americans,” said Smith. “This bill provides the incentives to study the impact of sustainable development models and how these techniques can improve the quality of life for millions of American families. This bill also has the added benefit of creating more energy efficient construction which will reduce our nation’s energy dependence by encouraging innovation in building technologies."

"One of the ways to make a community more livable is to incorporate principles of sustainability into real life practice,” said Blumenauer. “Buildings are the second largest consumer of energy in the country.  The sooner we implement changes to make buildings more energy inefficient, the sooner we will see the dividends of our investment."

Residential and commercial buildings account for nearly two-thirds of our nation’s electricity consumption and more than one-third of our total energy use. Sustainable architecture addresses this challenge through creating buildings that use significantly more energy-efficient materials and designs.

"As the largest consumer of energy in the world, “ said Rep. Lewis, “the United States must find viable ways to conserve the resources of this little piece of real estate we call Earth.  We are not here to stay.  We are simply stewards of the land, the water, and the air and all their precious bounty.  As a nation and as a people, we have to find ways to live in harmony with nature, to use her resources wisely, and in ways that help preserve and conserve natural resources for generations yet unborn.  This bill is one important step toward demonstrating the practical benefits of energy conservation to American citizens.   Residents of sustainable housing will save money on their energy bills, and at the same time they will help extend the longevity of valuable natural commodities for the benefit of all Americans and generations yet to come."