Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman today applauded Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) for re-introducing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation in the Senate. Smith will join House sponsors Chris Shays (R-Connecticut) and Marty Meehan (D-Massachusetts) in introducing a similar version in the House by the end of the month.

"The legislation would make common sense reforms to the campaign finance system," explained Smith. "Most importantly, it would ban soft money. Soft money contributions are the unlimited and unregulated amounts of money that are given to political parties and then funneled to candidates. It's a loophole that allows big contributors to exceed federal individual contribution limits and public scrutiny."

Although the House passed the Shays-Meehan bill in the last session, supporters in the Senate failed to get the requisite 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. In the 2000 election, five Republican incumbents who opposed McCain-Feingold were defeated by Democrats who support the bill, and Republican Senator Thad Cochran announced his support this year.

"It looks like we've finally secured the sixty votes we need in the Senate," said Smith. "I support Senators McCain and Feingold in their push to see an early vote in the Senate, and I hope that House leadership will follow suit. I look forward to finally seeing this bill become law."

"I am very excited to join my House and Senate New Democrat Coalition colleagues in the introduction of the Three R's bill.

As someone who has been working for more flexibility, less bureaucracy, and results-oriented accountability in our K-12 public education system for several years, I couldn't be happier to see this idea take hold in more and more Senators and House members and, in particular, President Bush. 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 that I hope a majority of Democrats and Republicans will coalesce around.

While our ideas are similar, there are differences between our approach and President Bush's approach. We believe in sending the majority of federal dollars to local school districts instead of routing it all through the state governments. We think it's important to preserve Title 1 dollars specifically for disadvantaged students, and we believe in strong and swift action to turn around failing public schools instead of sending money to private schools through vouchers.

However, I am very hopeful that we can bridge these differences and enact meaningful, comprehensive reform of the Elementary and Secondary Act this year. I look forward to working with my congressional colleagues and the White House in the year ahead."

After a meeting today with Governor Gary Locke, a group of state legislators and leaders from the local business community, Congressman Adam Smith (D-09) pledged to continue his work to establish the Technology Institute at the University of Washington-Tacoma.

"In order to maintain and expand our vibrant economy, there is a clear need to establish a technology institute — I will do everything I can to make sure the institute becomes a reality," said Smith. "Given the strong support from all parties at this meeting, I'm very encouraged that we will realize this goal. We are developing a very robust partnership that would bring to bear federal, state and private funding to initiate the Institute."

Smith is working closely with Congressman Norm Dicks, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and other members of the Washington congressional delegation to identify and secure federal support for the institute. The private sector and the State of Washington have also made substantial investments in the development of the Institute concept.

Recently, Smith spoke with Army Secretary Louis Caldera in an effort to secure $500,000 from the Army to fund a study of the institute. Last week, Smith and Rep. Norm Dicks sent a joint letter to the Secretary in support of planning funds for the institute.

The planning process would develop a strategy for defining the role of the Army in the development of the institute and establishing linkages to industry, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the University of Washington-Tacoma. Smith believes the institute would provide an incubator and a proving ground for some of the Army's advanced technologies that will be central to the success of ongoing Transformation efforts. Also, the program will offer educational and professional opportunities that will assist the Army in recruitment and retention of personnel.

Should the partnership go forward, it would provide a forum for collaboration among the U.S. Army, Washington's cutting edge tech companies, UW's leading computer science department and the Pacific Northwest National Labs. In the coming decade, the Institute could result in up to 1,000 new technology graduates per year.

Throughout his career in Congress, Smith has worked on behalf of economic development in the South Sound region, particularly on bringing high-technology jobs to the area. He has convened two technology summits focused on workforce development, education and other technology issues.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will present three donations of his Congressional pay raise next week to Cascade Christian High School, the Rainier Education Foundation, and Project Look in Burien.

Although he voted against the pay raise, it became law. As he has done with past Congressional pay raises, Smith promised to donate it to local community and education programs. 

Details are as follows:

On Tuesday, November 28, at 8:00 a.m., Smith will present a $500 donation and speak to a classroom of students at Cascade Christian High School, located at 811 21st Street, SE in Puyallup. The $500 will go towards the purchase of new science equipment for the school.

On Tuesday, November 28, at 3:00 p.m., Smith will present a $500 donation and speak to teachers at Rainier High School, located at 308 2nd Street West in Rainier. The $500 will go towards the purchase of thesauruses, a color printer, and a spirometer for measuring lung capacity for the district's science program.

On Wednesday, November 29 at noon, Smith will present a $250 donation to Project LOOK (Learning Outreach Organization for Kids) at the Seahurst Village apartment complex at 13737 12th Avenue SW, Building 31, Apt. 269 in Burien. Project LOOK is an after-school program to help children who have been referred by their teachers. The program was started by Highline School District teachers, social service professionals, and the Burien Police Department.

Reporters are welcome at all events.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith rallied his colleagues today to send a letter to Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt to request that Medicare+Choice funding inequities and shortfalls are resolved this year.

“As Congress prepares to enter final negotiations on our budget for next year, I felt it was important to send a message to our Leadership on this issue,” Smith explained. “Thousands of seniors in my district alone are feeling the pain of Medicare+Choice providers leaving the market or scaling back their benefits due to funding inequities. It isn’t fair to Washington state seniors, and it’s critical that we solve this problem as soon as possible.”

Joining Smith in his letter were: Representatives Brian Baird (WA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Norm Dicks (WA), Cal Dooley (CA), Darlene Hooley (OR), Steny Hoyer (MD), Jay Inslee (WA), Bill Luther (MN), David Minge (MN), and Martin Olav Sabo (MN).

Smith said that while he is optimistic some Medicare provisions will be included in the budget, it is still unclear what those provisions will be. 

“I am hopeful that we can fix the inequity problem. I’ve written legislation to help fix the inequities built into the system that guarantee states like Washington receive about half as much money per Medicare+Choice patient as states like Florida,” said Smith. “This needs to be a top priority of Congress this year so that seniors can continue to have the option of enrolling in Medicare+Choice, no matter where they live.”

Smith’s letter follows:

September 18, 2000

Minority Leader Richard Gephardt
H200
U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Leader Gephardt,

As we head into the final weeks of the 106th Congress, we wanted to bring your attention to an issue that must be addressed before adjournment. Over the last year, it has become clear to us and our constituents that Congress needs to ensure Medicare patients continue to have access to choices in their health care plan.

Due to the payment inequities and administrative burdens in the Medicare+Choice program, thousands of our constituents have lost their HMO coverage during the past two years, and therefore, their health care options. The Medicare+Choice program was designed to give beneficiaries an affordable choice in their health care delivery. They also enjoy the additional benefits that the Medicare+Choice plans have often been able to provide, due to the competition and efficiencies that HMOs bring to the senior health care market.

Unfortunately, many Medicare+Choice plans have withdrawn from various counties and/or scaled back their benefit offerings. Understandably, many of our constituents are upset that they have lost the choices and benefits that they had become accustomed to in the Medicare+Choice program.

We all agree that Medicare beneficiaries deserve stable and universal health care. That is why it is critical for Congress to stabilize the Medicare+Choice program this fall so that all beneficiaries have the choice of enrolling in Medicare+Choice, not just a few that happen to live in the right geographical region.

By streamlining several administrative processes and shoring up reimbursement rates for Medicare+Choice, we will ensure that our constituents have access to stable and affordable health care options, regardless of where they live.

We look forward to working with you this fall.

Sincerely,