Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will vote for the comprehensive Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform legislation tonight on the House floor. Smith, a co-sponsor of the legislation, will also oppose several amendments designed to weaken or erode support for the bill.

“The Shays-Meehan reform bill will eliminate the most egregious aspect of campaign financing – soft money,” Smith explained. “Soft money is the unregulated money that donors give to political parties who then use it on behalf of candidates running for office. Simply put, it’s a way for big money to get around the current contribution limits.”

In addition to eliminating federal soft money, Shays-Meehan also regulates issue advocacy, confirms the right of labor union members to disallow political use of their dues and requires electronic filing to the Federal Election Commission.

Smith will vote against two amendments which gives wealthy contributors more influence in the political process. The amendments, both sponsored by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky), would increase the individual campaign contribution limit from $1,000 to $3,000 and increase the aggregate annual individual contribution level from $30,000 to $75,000. 

“I believe the current campaign contribution limits of $1,000 per person and an aggregate level of $30,000 per person are appropriate,” said Smith. “Tripling those limits is a step in the wrong direction.” 

The votes are expected late this evening.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will present a donation of $500 to the Federal Way schools’ Learning with Lap Top program and see a demonstration of the program on Tuesday, September 7, at 8:00 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson High School.

The $500 is from Smith’s congressional pay raise. Although he voted against the pay raise, it became law and Smith promised to donate it to local education and community programs. The $500 will sponsor a student in the program for a year.

“The Learning with Lap Top program is a great example of how technology can improve students’ education,” Smith said. “I’ve very excited to be able to sponsor a student for a year in this innovative program. I believe we need to ensure that our students have access to technology so that they are prepared for the 21st century economy.”

The Learning with Lap Top program is sponsored by the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, which accepts donations to fund the program. Students are then given laptops for a year to use in their studies.

Ninth District Congressman recently toured the Auburn Boys and Girls Club and presented a donation of $250 from his Congressional pay raise.

Although Smith voted against a Congressional pay raise, Members of Congress received one. Smith has promised to donate his pay raise to education and other worthy programs throughout the Ninth District.

The Auburn Boys and Girls Club is an extension of the Federal Way Boys and Girls Club, and both operate out of the same budget. It opened on March 1st, 1999 as a collaborative program with the King County Housing Authority. The site serves low income children, including kids newly arrived from Somalia and Ukraine.

“I am very pleased to donate to the Auburn Boys and Girls Club, which provides important services to the Auburn community,” Smith said. “I believe the Boys and Girls Club is a great example of communities coming together to improve the lives of kids.”

John Evans, Unit Director, said, “It’s always a pleasure to have Congressman Smith stop by the Boys and Girls Club. Both the kids and community leaders appreciate the congressman’s support and donation.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today voted for the Conference Report on Military Construction Appropriations bill, which includes over $128 million in military construction projects for the state of Washington.

“This legislation includes funding for key projects at both Fort Lewis and McChord,” Smith said. “These improvements will help increase the quality of life for the men and women who serve our country.”

Specifically, the legislation includes:

MCCHORD AFB PROJECTS
• $7.9 million in improvements to the C-17 squadron operations/aircraft maintenance unit;
• $3.3 million in improvements to the Air Force Reserve C-17 maintenance unit facility.

FORT LEWIS AND YAKIMA PROJECTS
• $5.5 million to replace the north dental clinic;
• $5.2 million for an ammunition storage facility;
• $6.2 million for a physical fitness training center;
• $12 million for tank trail erosion mitigation in Yakima;
• $16.3 million for an Army National Guard maneuver area training equipment site.

“These projects are critical to ensuring those serving at Fort Lewis and McChord have top-notch facilities that improve their quality of life and their ability to do their job,” Smith said. “I was proud to vote for this legislation and look forward to seeing it signed by the President.”

Today in the House Armed Services Committee, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith was one of six Members of Congress to oppose the Weldon amendment to gut key provisions of H.R. 850, the Security and Freedom through Encryption Act.

Joining Smith in opposition to the Weldon amendment were Democrats Loretta Sanchez, Marty Meehan, Baron Hill, Ellen Tauscher, and Republican Mary Bono.

Despite proponents’ claims, Smith says that relaxing export restrictions will not threaten national security. “The technology has already proliferated throughout the world,” he said. “Our export restrictions are not protecting our national security, they’re simply giving foreign software companies a chance to capture the global encryption technology market.”

Smith argues that current policy is the real threat to U.S. national security. “Our self-imposed ban on 
encryption exports is disadvantaging U.S. software companies and threatening our competitiveness in this emerging new technology,” said Smith. “The real threat to our national security would be for the United States to lose its advantage in top-of-the-line technologies such as encryption. If we continue tying the hands of U.S. firms and conceding market share to foreign companies, that will be the result.”

Other countries either have much looser restrictions on encryption technology or no restrictions at all. Canada has allowed a company to export its encryption software, and it sells 128-bit encryption for less than fifty dollars. Encryption software can also be easily downloaded from the Internet.

This year, opponents of relaxing encryption export controls used the Cox-Dicks report as an excuse to keep export restrictions intact. Smith countered this argument by pointing out that Representative Chris Cox, who headed the commission that produced the Cox-Dicks report, is a co-sponsor of H.R. 850.

“We have to prioritize national security and ensure other countries don’t have access to our military secrets, but trying to wrap our arms around encryption technology and hinder U.S. companies’ ability to continue to be the worldwide leaders in this industry is like holding water with a fish net,” Smith said. 

Smith, a member of the New Democrat Coalition, criticized the Republicans and Republican Conference Chair and Armed Services Committee Member J.C. Watts for failing to protect H.R. 850. “Just a few weeks ago, we heard the Republicans profess their support for the New Economy and the technology industry,” he said. “But where were they today? Why did Congressman Watts, the Republicans’ supposed technology policy leader, vote to gut this bill that is so important to our high-tech economy and our national security?”

The next step is the Rules Committee, where committee members will weigh changes made to H.R. 850 by four different committees and produce a final product for floor consideration. Smith and other supporters of H.R. 850 will seek passage of the original bill.