Press Releases

Tomorrow, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) will host a town hall meeting in Puyallup with interested district residents to talk about health care issues in the state.  All district residents are invited join him for an open dialogue on other important community issues in addition to health care— including energy, the economy, tax cuts and education.

Saturday, May 11th — Puyallup 
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Puyallup Public Library
324 South Meridian, Puyallup

Staff from Congressman Adam Smith’s District Office will be on hand to help with any specific problems related to the federal government. Any questions about the Town Hall Meetings should be directed to the Congressman’s District office in Tacoma at (253) 593-6600.  For a recent audio statement from the Congressman on the Medicare reimbursement rate problem in the state, visit our website at www.house.gov/adamsmith

Late tonight, the House passed the Defense Authorization Bill for fiscal year 2003.  The following is a statement from Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) in support of its passage.  

“As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I strongly support HR 4546, the FY03 Defense Authorization bill.  Along with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I worked hard to craft this bill that improves the Montgomery GI Bill benefits (MGIB), addresses our operational needs, helps ready our military for the war on terrorism and improves the quality of life for our servicemembers and veterans. 

“This legislation includes important Montgomery GI Bill improvements for reservists.  This measure increases from 10 to 14 years the time during which reservists can use their educational benefits.  I’ve worked a great deal on this issue and, earlier this year, I introduced the ‘Military Education Extension Act,’ would extend the time limit for use of MGIB benefits to 15 years for both active duty servicemembers and reservists.   While there is clearly more work to do on this issue, I believe this is a step in the right direction.  I’m committed to working with the DOD, the military associations and my colleagues in Congress to enhance education benefits for those who serve our nation.

“The authorization bill helps ready our nation to fight terrorism by providing $7.3 billion for DOD efforts to combat terrorism, including counterterrorism, force protection, counter-intelligence, and anti-terrorism programs, and help stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 

“This measure also makes a great deal of progress in improving the quality of life for our men and women in uniform. First, HR 4546 provides a 4.1 percent military pay raise, with larger pay increases for mid-grade and senior noncommissioned officers and mid-grade officers, reduces out-of-pocket housing costs for military personnel by increasing housing allowances to cover 92.5 percent of all housing costs and provides $500 million more than the President’s request, for military construction and family housing projects.

“Finally, the FY03 authorization bill addresses ‘concurrent receipt’ by eliminating the current offset that causes military retirees who are eligible for veteran’s disability compensation to have their retirement pay reduced. The bill establishes a payment transition program to compensate retirees who are 60 percent or greater disabled until fiscal year 2007, when all such retirees will receive their full retirement and disability compensation.  

“While no bill is perfect - for example, I’m not pleased with the environmental exemptions for the Department - I am confident that HR 4546 provides an effective, comprehensive blueprint for our military.  I believe that this legislation not only does right by our servicemembers, but enhances our military’s capacity to battle terrorism now and in the future.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) spoke on the House floor today regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance.  The following is a short excerpt from his statement followed by the link to his statement online.  

“I rise today to urge the Senate to pass the strongest possible Trade Adjustment Assistance package.  Workers desperately need help dealing with the new economy.  It is the land of opportunity for all of us but there are also challenges.  Workers must continually have access to training and education to update their skills...

“I am a strong supporter of trade.  As a New Democrat, it is one of our top priority issues to open trade throughout the world and give us access to other markets.  Connected to that however, we have to help the workers of our country deal with the challenges and opportunities that come along with that...If the Senate were to put together that type of package, and pass a Trade Promotion Assistance bill with a strong Trade Adjustment Assistance piece, I am very confident they would be able to pass it in the House and they would move forward on two critical policies for this country.”

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s position on Trade Promotion Authority, please visit www.house.gov/adamsmith for additional press releases and an audio file of this statement from the House floor.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) praised the extension of the time limit for use of Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to 14 years at the House Armed Services Committee mark-up of the Defense Authorization Bill this evening.  In doing so, the Committee moved forward on a central component of a bill recently introduced by the Congressman.
 
“I am pleased that my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee join me in recognizing the value of providing better and more competitive education benefits to our Armed Forces.  Obviously this is a step in the right direction – making the Montgomery G.I. Bill more valuable and useful to our men and women in service,” Smith said.  “But we can, and must, do more.  I am committed to making sure that we maintain the most intelligent and highly-skilled fighting force in the world and I will continue to work with my colleagues to reach that goal.”

Smith recently introduced two bills to improve the quality of life for the U.S. military through increased access to education.  The first bill, H.R.4213 “Expanding Education for Military Families Act,” would allow for full portability of Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB) benefits to the family members of enrollees in the MGIB program.  His second bill, H.R.4214 “Military Education Extension Act,” proposes extending the time limit for use of MGIB benefits to 15 years for both active duty servicemembers and reservists.   

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s Montgomery G.I. Bill legislation, visit http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa09_smith/020411pr.html.

Congressman Adam Smith, (D-Wash.) led a group of his colleagues in a letter yesterday to President Bush requesting a meeting to discuss passing effective Export Administration Act (EAA) legislation in the House of Representatives. 

On March 6, the House Armed Services Committee voted to renew the Export Administration Act, H.R. 2581, passed last summer by the House International Relations Committee, but added provisions that will undermine efforts to develop and implement a new and more effective system of national security export controls.

The President and his national security team have endorsed the Export Administration Act of 2001 (H.R. 2581 and S. 149) and urged its swift passage.  In fact, with the administration’s full support, the Senate passed its version of EAA, S. 149, by a vote of 85-14 in the fall.  However, the House International Relations and Armed Services committees this winter have approved different versions of EAA.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), one of the co-chairs of the New Democrat Coalition, has worked hard with his colleagues to change the debate on export controls from a false choice between profits and national security to a matter of improving national security while maintaining U.S. competitiveness.  Smith has been engaged in this issue throughout his service in Congress as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and in 2001, served as a member of a Center for Strategic and International Studies Blue Ribbon Commission on ‘Technology and National Security in a Networked World.’

“The export control regime in place today is grounded in the past and doesn't recognize the realities of today's ‘networked world.’  Many of the nation's leading defense experts recognize the need to fundamentally revamp the way we protect our nation's security,” Smith said. “The bottom line is that export control reform is critical to the future of U.S. global economic, technological and military leadership.” 

“It seems clear that the White House is interested in seeing appropriate export control legislation pass Congress and we are willing and eager to work with them to make that happen,” continued Smith. “I anticipate that they will welcome our interest in moving forward on this in a bipartisan fashion.” 

Smith was joined on the letter by Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). 

“We believe a bill resembling the Senate legislation must be enacted and we also believe that such a measure can garner similar bipartisan support in the House.  The versions of EAA that have been reported out of House committees are problematic and do not accomplish the balance that is necessary in order to both heighten national and economic security,” the Members wrote.  “We would like to work cooperatively with your Administration to craft such a bipartisan agreement.”

Today’s letter follows both a Dear Colleague letter sent by Smith, Rep. Ellen Tauscher and Rep. Rick Larsen to the full House Armed Services Committee arguing against the adoption of the Manager’s amendments to EAA and a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) urging that EAA legislation be brought quickly to the floor with the Senate version permitted as a substitute which was led by Smith and signed by 22 Members of the New Democrat Coalition.

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s involvement with Export Controls, visit http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa09_smith/technology/010608pr.html.