Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-09, Tacoma) will spend July 1st talking with Seniors about problems with the Medicare program and describing some of his proposals to begin to address them.  Some topics that Smith is likely to discuss during the day include the current decline in access to doctors, hospitals, nurses and home health care for seniors on Medicare in Washington state; rising prescription drug costs and lack of generics in the marketplace; and his “MediFAIR” bill, calling for fairness in national Medicare reimbursement rates.  The following is the schedule of events for the day:  

Members of the media are invited and encouraged to attend these meetings.  For further information or to speak with Smith during the day, please contact Katharine Lister at (202) 226-8454.

9:30a.m. – 10:00a.m. 
Congressman Adam Smith meets with members of WA Citizen Action from the Ninth District to talk about Medicare and the cost of prescription drugs.

Where: Kent Senior Center 
600 East Smith Street, Kent

10:00a.m. - 11:15a.m. 
Congressman Adam Smith will convene the quarterly meeting of his Senior Advisory Board to discuss their concerns about current legislation in Congress, the state of health care in Washington and what steps should be taken to ensure that seniors are treated fairly and with respect.
Where: Kent Senior Center, The Dry Crafts Room 
600 East Smith Street, Kent

12:00 noon - 1:00p.m. 
Congressman Adam Smith will visit with the Des Moines Senior Center to answer their questions and listen to their concerns about legislation in Congress – topics will most likely range from the war on terrorism to transportation in the state.

Where: Des Moines Masonic Lodge 
corner of 24th Ave South and 223rd Street, Des Moines

Congressman Adam Smith (D-09, Tacoma) will host a forum on July 2 to open a dialogue about how to ensure that every Washingtonian has access to quality health care.  With the state currently in an economic downturn, it is more important than ever to make sure that people are getting the help they need and aren’t falling through the cracks in the system.

Of the 43 million uninsured Americans, seven out of every ten have a connection to the workplace and beginning to address the problem by making employer-sponsored health coverage more affordable and more accessible makes sense.  

The forum will offer insights into ways in which small businesses in Washington can provide coverage to their employees at reasonable cost.  Tackling the problem of the large numbers of uninsured individuals in the state is one more way in which Smith is working to make sure that no matter what the economy is doing, we maintain a high quality of life for all our citizens under a fiscally responsible banner.

Speakers at the forum will include: Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner, Alan Mertz of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) and Marcia Wilcox with the Washington State Association of Health Underwriters.

Smith and his Small Business Advisory Council invited the HLC, a coalition of the nation's leading health care organizations and institutions, to share in this discussion. 

There will be a press roundtable before the forum and members of the media are invited and encouraged to attend both the press roundtable and the forum.  For further information or to speak with Smith during the day, please contact Katharine Lister at (202) 226-8454.

8:30a.m. – 9:00a.m. 
Press Roundtable
 
Where: Congressman Adam Smith’s office
1717 Pacific Avenue, Suite 2135, Tacoma

9:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.
Forum Addressing the Uninsured

Where: 2nd floor Jury Assembly room, Suite 2110
1717 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

New Democrat Coalition (NDC) co-chair Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today joined other NDC members to unveil the group’s “e-genda 2002.”  The annually released document is the NDC’s comprehensive technology policy agenda, outlining goals and priorities for the coming year.  

E-genda 2002 emphasizes critical New Democrat efforts on investment in workforce education, privacy standards, providing greater access to overseas markets, encouraging innovation and promoting e-commerce, while also calling for new policy initiatives such as public-private partnerships to improve homeland security and win the war against terrorism, a balanced approach to digital rights management, open trade and travel with Cuba and restoring investor confidence in our financial markets.

“The e-genda outlines policies that we need to adopt in order to keep our country poised to compete in the global New Economy,” said Smith. “One of the most important aspects of this document is the commitment it makes to education and worker training.  In Washington state, for example, the high technology sector employs more people than does Boeing.   Many jobs in the tech sector, however, repeatedly go unfilled due to shortages of qualified workers.  Fifty-nine percent of firms that were hiring new employees last year reported difficulty finding skilled employees and as of January of this year, there were 115,000 dislocated workers in the state.  We need to do a better job of taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities technology provides, not just in Washington, but nationally.”

Technology issues are critically important specifically to the Ninth District, argued Smith. “Growth in the technology sector actually has a far bigger impact in the South Sound than it does up in Redmond and the Eastside,” Smith explained. “I want to encourage technology companies to grow and create good paying jobs in the South Sound, and that is happening.  The entire Puget Sound economy benefits from the growth in technology, and the resulting surge in job creation.  Some of the areas I am committed to working on to promote and expand the South Sound include improving higher education for our state, creating an setting that is friendly to business and job growth, and promoting innovations like comprehensive broadband and securing greater investments in research and development.  Today’s release of the e-genda is one step towards making all of that happen.”

Smith was joined at the release by fellow NDC co-chairs Reps. Jim Davis (D-Fla.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), as well as key NDC executive council members Reps. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), and Jim Moran (D-Va.).

The New Democrat Coalition is a group of 74 pro-growth, centrist Democrats in the House of Representatives founded in 1997.  Since then, two-thirds of Democrats elected to the House have joined the NDC, making it the largest and one of the most influential caucuses in the House

The full text of e-genda 2002, along with an executive summary and the New Democrat Coalition’s Record of Results, and can be found online at: www.house.gov/adamsmith/NDC/ndc.html

On June 22, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) will host a town hall meeting in Auburn with interested district residents to talk about transportation issues in the state.  All district residents are invited join him for an open dialogue on this and other important community issues — including the economy, energy, tax cuts and education.

Saturday, June 22nd — Auburn
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Auburn Public Library
1102 Auburn Way South, Auburn

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.congress.gov/adamsmith

Today, the House passed the Estate Tax Repeal Act, H.R. 2143.  The following is a statement from Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) on the circumstances surrounding his decision to vote against its passage, breaking with his previous support of the repeal.  

“Fiscal responsibility must be a guiding principle of our government.  My constituents have told me again and again that government must live within its means and balance the budget.  I agree and have consistently fought for more fiscal discipline.

“That is why I am voting against permanent repeal of the estate tax.  I have always supported estate tax cuts - I authored legislation to completely eliminate the estate tax for all family farms and businesses, and have consistently voted to cut and even eliminate it altogether in years past.

“However, this vote today is simply another step down the path of fiscal irresponsibility.  In the past year and a half, our economy has been in recession and was further damaged by the terrorist attacks surrounding September 11.   Instead of responding with tough choices and fiscal discipline, however, Congress and the Administration have responded by passing a $15 billion airline bailout bill, a $30 billion supplemental appropriations bill, a very wasteful and bloated farm bill, and a tax cut that will cost $2 trillion over the next ten years.  Even though I voted against these things, the truth is that they have all been signed into law by the President or will be very soon, and so their fiscal impact is now a reality and must be taken into account.

“There has been no serious effort by Congressional Leaders or the White House to design and implement a bipartisan balanced budget plan.  The result has been a staggering reversal from the once-large budget surplus projections to large budget deficit projections.  Budget deficits mean that we use Social Security and Medicare revenues for other programs, putting us in a terrible position to deal with the entitlement crises that are coming in a decade due to demographic changes and the escalating costs of health care.  We are falling further and further into debt, and interest payments on that debt will eat up an increasingly large share of taxpayer dollars - currently about 12 cents of each tax dollar.

“We’re moving in the wrong direction, and I cannot vote for legislation that will have such a large fiscal impact on our budget without a corresponding plan to return to fiscal discipline and get our budget balanced again within the next few years.  Let me be clear: if the permanent repeal of the estate tax were part of a long-term balanced budget strategy, I would support it.  Unfortunately, in this context, it is one more example of Congress and the Administration’s lack of fiscal responsibility, and I cannot support it at this time.”