Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement concerning the announcement from the Pentagon on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC):

“Today, the Pentagon released the results of the BRAC Commission and announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) will be undertaking an unprecedented initiative in Washington State by creating joint-base Lewis-McChord. As a result, installation management functions will be consolidated at Fort Lewis.  According to the Defense Department estimates, as a result of this action, the economic impact will be limited to .2 percent of the economic area employment. The Pentagon has said the primary rationale for this recommendation is to promote jointness and reduce excess capacity. Also, the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center in Tacoma, Washington will be closed with a resulting 20 members of the military being transferred to other locations. I will be working closely with leaders in the community to ease the transition as a result of this decision.

The BRAC Commission has recognized the fact that the Northwest is home to military assets with joint capability that are flexible, are prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice, and are located in a strategic region with easy access to the Pacific Theater.

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked closely on force structure issues, and I’m proud to represent thousands of military servicemen and women and their families. Those stationed in Washington State have been a central component in the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq. Over 6,000 active-duty troops based at Fort Lewis along with almost 4,000 National Guardsmen from the State have fought in Iraq. Also, over 2000 Washington State based airmen and women have been involved in air refueling and transport operations in Iraq. Additionally, sailors stationed in Everett aboard the USS Lincoln, and airmen at McChord Air Force Base, both active-duty and reserve, aided in recovery efforts in helping out the South Asian tsunami victims. Washington State is ideally located for a number of contingencies.

Today’s decision is a testament not only to the flexibility and jointness of the military forces in Washington State, but to the hardworking community leaders that have done so much to make the military an integral part of the fabric of our communities and our everyday lives.

I am proud of the work our servicemen and women do across the United States. In the coming weeks, we will be learning more details about troop movements and realignments and their impact on our community. I, along with my Congressional colleagues, will be focusing on this issue and I look forward to working with communities in my own District and across the State in ensuring that our military servicemen and women get the resources that they need as well as the communities that will be affected by any realignments.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith, (D-Tacoma), made the following statement today on the failure of the COPS Funding:

“Once again, the Republican majority has failed to support legislation that would fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Today, a motion on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives would have allowed an amendment to reauthorize the COPS program for FY 2006 -2008. The vote failed 227 – 198, along party lines. The program has been one of the most effective crime prevention efforts authorized by Congress. In Washington State alone, the COPS program has provided funds to add over 400 officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies.

Without full funding, Washington State law enforcement will suffer as will the safety and security of all those living in the state. Cutting this funding will have a detrimental effect that will resonate in every state in the country. Since 1994, COPS has distributed billions of dollars to advance community policing efforts. As a former prosecutor, I know the positive impact that community policing efforts can have in our cities and states. We must fund this important program and give local law enforcement the help they need in their fight against crime.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) reacts to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Statement on Commitment to Diversity:

“I want to take the opportunity today to applaud Steve Ballmer and the Microsoft Corporation for pledging to include diversity in the workplace as part of the company’s legislative agenda.

Microsoft is a leader in the business community on gay and lesbian rights and is taking the right approach by revisiting their legislative agenda to include policies that create a fair working environment. Supporting federal legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is also a positive position.

I have long been an advocate for gay and lesbian rights and I am pleased to work with Microsoft in moving its agenda forward on erasing discrimination from the workplace. I will also continue my efforts on issues of shared concern such as Internet safety, intellectual property rights and a healthy business climate.

Microsoft is a leader on non-discrimination issues in corporate America. Its commitment to diversity both within and outside the company stands as a testament to its philosophy of equality for all people – regardless of their sexual orientation.”


U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement today concerning his opposition to the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA):

“Trade is an important component of international relations and development, particularly to Washington State. We must craft a trade policy that provides American workers and businesses with real opportunity to grow and that strengthens our economy. Time and again, the Bush Administration has failed to promote an economic competitiveness policy and it is our businesses and workers who will be hurt. The Bush Administration’s most recent trade agreement, the Dominican Republic – Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), does not balance the needs of American workers and companies, nor the needs of the nations with which we trade. It is for the reasons below that I will oppose this agreement on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Bush Administration’s fiscal irresponsibility -- including its misguided philosophy on spending and tax cuts -- has undermined our ability to invest in education and skills training that are desperately needed in this country. Domestically, the President has not done enough to help American workers retrain and compete on the international stage. Too often, the Administration, under President Bush, has chosen economic policies that damage our ability to have a sound policy on trade. For example, we must take strong steps forward with investment in research and development programs that allow government to partner with universities and businesses to spur innovation. The Administration’s massive tax cuts have undermined our ability to empower Americans to further their education and skills training. I am deeply dismayed that they have pursued policies that leave many workers who qualify for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits without access to the program simply because the Administration either can’t or won’t provide adequate funding. If this failure to invest in TAA and other critical domestic workforce programs can be said to be a problem now, it will only get worse if the Bush tax cuts are made permanent. We cannot stand by quietly as the Administration’s fiscal irresponsibility continues to undercut necessary domestic investments.

Globally, through its trade policy, the Administration has done little to help workers overseas. With CAFTA, an opportunity has been missed to put forward an agreement that balances the need to open global markets to American workers and businesses and promotes growth and stability overseas. As negotiated by the Bush Administration, CAFTA actually weakens the existing workers’ protections currently available under the United States’ existing trade preference programs with the region. Similarly, on environmental protection, rural development and public health, this agreement falls short. While CAFTA rightly includes protections for the intellectual property rights that are so important to our region, the Administration failed to take such a serious approach on workers’ rights and environmental protections.

CAFTA and indeed many of the Administration’s economic policies falls far short of creating a cohesive and comprehensive policy on trade.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith made the following statement today concerning Cover the Uninsured Week, May 1-8th, 2005:

“Today, 45 million Americans have no health insurance, including more than 8 million children. In Washington State alone, 944,000 people are uninsured. Being uninsured means going without needed medical care. It means minor illnesses become major ones because medical care is often delayed. It also means that one significant medical expense can wipe out a family’s life savings. As the price of health care continues to rise, fewer individuals and families can afford to pay for coverage. Fewer small businesses are able to provide coverage for their employees and those that do are struggling to hold on to the coverage they offer.

There are things we can do and I have taken a number of steps in Congress to try and address this issue. First of all, I have cosponsored The Small Business health Benefits Program (SEHBP) Act of 2005. This bill would offer small business employers are affordable choices among private health insurance plans by giving them access to a large purchasing pool and negotiated rates. These employers would also receive an annual tax credit to defray part of the employer contribution for low-income workers and a bonus tax credit for paying a higher percentage of the premium. Unlike Association Health Plans (AHPs), this bill does not allow insurance plans to override state law and also SEHBPs would be transferable across the country so that you’re still covered, even if you move to another state.

I have also supported funding for Community Health Centers, which serve more than 15 million uninsured Americans each year. These Centers provide badly needed health care services to individuals who would otherwise go without access to quality medical care.

Further, I have cosponsored The Bipartisan Commission on Medicaid that would create a commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the Medicaid program and make recommendations on how to improve service delivery and ensure that Medicaid recipients receive high quality health care.

These are just a few of the priorities I’ve pursued in my effort to expand access to health care for all Americans. I am committed to continuing my work on this vital issue.”