Press Releases

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."

Procurement Conference

May 14, 2001

Congressman Adam Smith invites you to the following conference:

"Doing Business with America"

Tuesday, May 29th,2001
8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m
CenterPoint Corporate Park, Conference Room,
20415 72nd Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032

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

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 to host this important conference on federal procurement. The conference 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.

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.

For directions to CenterPoint, or for questions about the conference, please contact Jeffrey Reading in Congressman Smith's
district office by phone at 253-926-6683, or by email at

House Resources Water and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Adam Smith announced today that the subcommittee would hold a hearing on Pacific Northwest Drought Management and Energy Availability in Tacoma. The field hearing will take place on May 19 at 9:00 a.m. at City Council Chambers, 1st Floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, Tacoma, Washington. 

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to address issues surrounding the northwest energy crisis," said Smith. "Helping consumers and businesses deal with spiraling energy costs and developing a long-term strategy are two of the most critical issues Congress should address."

Witnesses will likely include:

* A representative from the Bonneville Power Administration.
* A representative of the Direct Service Industries.
* A representative of a local utility.
* An expert on conservation and renewable energy.

A comprehensive list of witnesses will be released prior to the hearing.

Press is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

What: United States Congress Water & Power Subcommittee Field Hearing to hear testimony on The Pacific Northwest Drought Management and Energy Availability.
When: Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 9:00am
Where: City Council Chambers, 1st Floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, Tacoma, Washington 
Who: Subcommittee Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith, and other members of Congress
Contact: Linda Danforth 253-926-6683 or Laurel Johns 202-226-8454

"Today, our region received news that, unfortunately, was not surprising to anyone who spends too much of their time tied up in congestion: Seattle has the nation's second worst traffic. This dubious distinction should serve as a reminder that our region needs to undertake a comprehensive transportation policy aimed at solving this critical problem. 

The study, conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, examined the nation's 68 largest metropolitan areas. It provides a "travel-time index" designed to quantify traffic jams from city to city. 

In real world terms, it took citizens in the Puget Sound 81 percent longer to travel over freeways and major arterials during rush hour than it did during periods when traffic was free-flowing. This traffic takes a toll that can be measured in the hours that a commuters must spend traveling back and forth from their families, home and office – those in the Seattle-Everett-area spent 53 hours in delays for the year. And these delays are expensive. For the average commuter in the Puget Sound, the cost of traffic delays – in lost wages and wasted fuel – was an average of $930 in 1999. With gasoline prices on the rise again, those costs are going to be even more burdensome. 

That's why I'm working hard to find a solution to these problems. It will take a coordinated effort, involving federal, state and local authorities and I am committed to doing my share to help develop a comprehensive strategy that includes expansion of both public transit and highway programs. 

For example, at the federal level, I'm joining other Members of the Washington delegation in support of the FAST Corridor program to improve grade-crossings and port-access projects and greatly enhance passenger and freight mobility in our region. 

I am working with local officials to provide federal assistance aimed at fixing the gridlock at both 70th Street/Valley Road and SR 509 which, if not addressed, could undermine economic expansion in the South Sound. Also, I've joined with the state Department of Transportation in an effort to determine which tactics for fighting traffic are most effective so that they can be implemented more broadly. 

Finally, I believe that we must develop and deploy new technologies that will allow commuters and truckers use the roads more efficiently. I'm currently supporting programs that enable dispatchers to make vehicle assignments based on real-time location and schedule data thus reducing the number of service hours and vehicles required to meet the demand.

Together, I'm confident we can make progress toward reducing gridlock and improving the quality of life for Puget Sound citizens."

Saying that a long-term energy policy that includes investing in alternative fuel generation is critical to the future of our economy, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith is working to make fuel cell technology more affordable for consumers.

"Instead of just thinking about the fossil fuel energy sources of the past, we need to use technology to find new sources of affordable energy to power our economy," Smith said. "Fuel cells can be an important part of an energy policy for the future."

Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen into water, producing water, electricity and heat, but little or no pollution and noise. As with many new energy technologies, fuel cells are relatively expensive. Smith is co-sponsoring legislation to encourage fuel cell investment and use by giving businesses and consumers a $1,000 tax credit for every 1,000 kilowatts of fuel cell generation they purchase.

"We are delighted that Congressman Adam Smith is co-sponsoring this legislation, a key element in fostering the development of fuel cell technology, which offers a clean, efficient and reliable solution to our nation's growing energy needs," said Nu Element Inc. CEO Karen Fleckner. Nu Element Inc, is a Tacoma-based fuel cell technology developer. 

Smith remarked that fuel cell technology is just one piece of a much larger energy agenda. "We need temporary price caps to protect consumers and businesses from the spiraling costs of energy in the short-term," he said. "We also need to embrace technologies to promote conservation and more efficient use of energy, as well as investing in long-term sources of energy like fuel cells."

Smith also noted that the Pacific Northwest is home to several technologies that could play a role in a long-term energy strategy. He has toured local companies such as MagnaDrive, RamGen, and Thermal Conversion Corporation to learn more about the technologies under development.

"Making fuel cells more affordable for consumers and businesses is one small step," said Smith. "I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and with the White House in developing an energy policy for the future that will power our economy and protect our natural resources."