Press Releases

Today the Department of Homeland Security, through the Office of Domestic Preparedness, announced that $11.28 million is being made available to the City of Seattle as part of the Urban Area Security Initiative.  The money, dispersed under the Urban Area Security Initiative, will help enhance Seattle’s ability to prepare for and respond to threats or incidents of terrorism.

 “Washington state, like many other states, has been feeling the financial burden of needing to increase security for our ports, our borders, our infrastructure, water sources, power plants, airport – the list goes on and on,” said Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) of the announcement.  “Today it looks like at least Seattle will get some help from the president.”

Two weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) introduced legislation to deliver affordable, universal prescription drug coverage for all seniors, the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003.  On Thursday, April 24th Smith will visit senior centers around the 9th Congressional District to discuss his bill and provide seniors with information to help them with their prescription drug costs now. 

Prescription drug legislation has been debated in Congress now for six years, and it will continue to take long-term battle to get a bill passed.  Smith believes that our nation’s seniors shouldn’t have to wait much longer to get the help they need. 

Many drug companies currently offer no-cost discount card plans to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors and many seniors are unaware that they qualify for Medicaid’s drug benefit.  Smith has organized an information session at three senior centers in his district with representatives from AARP and pharmaceutical companies to provide seniors with real ways they can reduce their prescription drug bills now through free drug discount plans.   

Media seeking additional information should contact Katharine Lister at (202) 226-8454.  To RSVP for any of these visits or to find out more information, constituents should call Smith’s district office at (253) 593-6600 or (888) SMITH09. 

Firs Retirement Apartments
426 Lilly Road NE, Lacey

Puyallup Senior Center
212 West Pioneer Ave., Puyallup

Des Moines Senior Center
2045 South 216th Street, Des Moines

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today joined 17 other moderate Democrats to introduce a bill to deliver affordable, universal prescription drug coverage for all seniors.  The group hopes the bill, the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003, will be permitted as the Democratic substitute to the Republican bill when it comes to the floor.

“I am proud to be part of the group introducing an affordable prescription drug benefit that provides coverage to the people who need the most help, that is fiscally responsible and permits coverage to go uninterrupted,” said Smith.  “I know how important it is that seniors have access to the medicines they need to stay healthy. 

“Back in Washington state, I hear constantly from seniors who can’t afford to take the drugs their doctors prescribe and they’re asking for our help now,” continued Smith.  “This centrist proposal provides a drug benefit right now to those seniors most in need – those with high drug expenditures and low-income seniors.”

The Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003 provides a prescription drug benefit within existing Medicare Part B coverage by offering universal benefits through an enhanced drug benefit for beneficiaries with more than $4,000 in total drug costs (rather than out-of-pocket expenses), a benefit for low-income seniors with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and the use of Medicare-approved prescription drug card plans.  The plan delivers universal eligibility for all Medicare Part B recipients and does not increase premiums.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost of this proposal at under $400 billion.

“This is a plan we can enact now to help seniors now –without fear of forcing seniors out of their coverage and out of their family doctor’s office, without fear of breaking the bank, and without fear of forcing seniors to continue to choose between basic life expenses and their health,” argued Smith.  “We’ve been debating this issue for six years in Congress, and it’s high time we got a common sense, affordable, passable plan on the table as a first step towards a larger solution.  Our bill helps hard-hit seniors now.”

Without invoking government-mandated price controls on prescription drugs, the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003 utilizes purchasing power and competition to keep drugs affordable, both for seniors’ out of pocket costs and for the Medicare program in covering the drugs. Pooling Medicare recipients and allowing several prescription drug plans to compete for their business will help keep costs down.  This plan offers Medicare-approved prescription drug card plans for all Americans – helping all Americans keep drug costs down.

Click here for highlights of the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003

At today’s House International Relations Committee markup, Representative Adam Smith (D – Wash.) supported a strong U.S. role in international AIDS prevention.

“Over 22 million people around the world have died of AIDS already, and some estimates say the world will see 100 million cases in just four years,” Smith said.  “The global AIDS epidemic is an extremely destabilizing and dangerous problem that can only be solved with strong U.S. leadership, broad international support, and scientifically-proven methods of prevention and treatment.”

The House International Relations Committee today approved the five-year, $15 billion AIDS package that President Bush requested in his January State of the Union address; however, the Committee and the White House have differences of opinion on how that money should be spent.

The Administration wants a smaller role for the United States in the U.N.-backed Global Fund to Combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and instead wants more unilateral AIDS assistance.

“We should support the multilateral organizations that are pooling money to help fight these devastating diseases,” Smith said.  “America needs to participate and lead in these global efforts instead of trying to go it alone.”

The Committee agreed and preserved the funding – up to $1 billion – for the Global Fund.

The Committee also rejected, with Smith’s support, attempts to take away the flexibility offered to local AIDS preventions efforts and instead push a one-size-fits-all agenda that emphasizes abstinence instead of other scientifically-proven forms of AIDS prevention.

Smith noted that the global AIDS crisis is not just a humanitarian issue; it is a national security issue.  “The AIDS crisis is one of the most destabilizing events in history,” he explained.  “Unstable countries, countries in which people have little hope for their future and thousands of children are orphaned each year, are countries where terrorism and extremist movements thrive.  American leadership in solving this crisis is in our own best interests, it’s the right thing to do, and I’ll continue fighting on this critical issue.”

House Centrist Democrats, led by Rep. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), will unveil their prescription drug plan at a press conference tomorrow – Wednesday, April 2 – at 11:00 a.m.

The Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003 is an affordable, universal approach to providing all seniors with the prescription drug coverage they need.

The bill provides a prescription drug benefit through existing Medicare Part B coverage by offering universal benefits through an enhanced drug benefit for beneficiaries with more than $4,000 in total drug costs (rather than out-of-pocket expenses), a benefit for low-income seniors with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and the use of Medicare-approved prescription drug card plans. 

WHAT:              Press Conference on Centrist Prescription Drug Plan

WHO:                Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)
                           Rep. Cal Dooley (Calif.)
                           Rep. Ellen Tauscher (Calif.)
                           Rep. Ron Kind (Wisc.)
                           Rep. Jim Davis (Fla.)
                           Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.)
                           Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
                           Rep. Charlie Stenholm (Tex.)

WHEN:              Wednesday, April 2, 2003
                           11:00a.m. to 11:30a.m.

WHERE:           House Radio-TV Gallery, H-321