Press Releases

Today Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), issued the following statement on the resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq:

“Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.  After talking with Middle East experts, listening to my constituents, and hearing testimony from both Bush and Clinton administration officials, this truth is clear to me.  It is so critically important to the future of our world that we must use force if necessary to accomplish that goal.

“Saddam Hussein is not simply an evil dictator.  He is an unpredictable, sociopathic murderer who wants to be the dominant leader of the entire Arab world.  After coming to power, he cemented his rule by accusing of treason and then killing all those who might challenge him.  He executed many of these people personally.  He continues to execute entire families if he even suspects opposition from even one family member.  He used chemical weapons to kill tens of thousands of his own people in suppressing a challenge to his regime.  

“Hussein with nuclear weapons would subject the Iraqi people, the Middle East region, America, and the entire world to an unacceptable level of risk.  While it is unclear how far along he is in developing nuclear weapons, we know he has come close twice before and was thwarted first by Israel and then by America and the U.N. after the Gulf War.  We also know that Hussein is once again trying to develop nuclear weapons.   Although we cannot say for sure that Hussein would join forces with Al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations and help them use weapons of mass destruction against us, there is evidence of links between the two and we must be cognizant of this risk.        

“Some argue that Hussein, even with nuclear weapons, could be contained and is unlikely to use those weapons.  Unfortunately, Hussein has thus far proven a peaceful containment, consisting of sanctions and weapons inspections, to be untenable.    

“He invaded Kuwait even though he knew it would be unacceptable to the international community.  Even after the Gulf War, he had the audacity to challenge America by attempting to assassinate former President Bush.  He further challenged the international community by thwarting the U.N. inspections regime designed to prove Hussein had disarmed.  Saddam Hussein has obviously not been brought to heel and continues to push the envelope. Unfortunately, he has been getting away with it because both the U.N. and the U.S. have failed to act aggressively.

“Ideally, we could stop Hussein from obtaining weapons of mass destruction without war.  However, given Hussein’s history of violence, unpredictability, and animosity towards the United States, we simply must be prepared to use force if necessary.
“I write this even though I fear the consequences of war.  The cost in lives, both American and Iraqi, could be great.  I fear also the reaction of the Muslim world and the international community.  Greater hostility towards the United State will occur.  A post-Hussein Iraq could possibly descend into a bloody tribal war, presenting the region and the world with a new challenge.

“President Bush must do a much better job of making the case for military action, both at home and around the world, than he has thus far.  His rationale for war has bounced all over the map: Iraqi links to Al Qaeda; broken U.N. resolutions; the regional threat Hussein poses; possible threats to the United States; that Hussein ‘tried to kill my dad;’ and the threat of Hussein with weapons of mass destruction.  
“I am also troubled that the president has made it more difficult to garner international support by constantly sounding unnecessarily unilateral tones on issues ranging from Iraq to the Kyoto treaty.  His ‘wild west’ language, including his flippant remarks about the Middle East on the golf course, hasn’t allayed international fears that our President wants war with Iraq as a first option.

“He also brought unnecessary controversy into the debate by implying action against Iraq would be part of a new ‘pre-emptive strike’ doctrine.  Regardless of how one feels about a pre-emptive strike, that isn’t what we’re talking about here.  Hussein is in violation of the armistice that allowed him to remain in power after the Gulf War in exchange for disarmament and weapons inspections, and we have the right to enforce that armistice.

“Congressional and public pressure led the president to seek U.N. and international support for action against Hussein, a move I strongly supported.  While that process is currently underway, he is now asking for Congressional approval to use force if necessary in Iraq, which the House of Representatives will vote on this week.

“I will vote in favor of authorizing force against Iraq, because a violent madman like Saddam Hussein possessing nuclear weapons is unacceptable.  Ideally, I would prefer to vote on this resolution after the President has exhausted other options, particularly at the United Nations.  This could take two or three months.  I am disappointed that political leaders - on both sides of the aisle - are rushing through this resolution.  However, the vote is now, and for the reasons outlined, I believe that if force is necessary, force must be used.

“I sincerely hope the president works more effectively with our allies and makes his case more clearly.  It would be far better if the international community came together to disarm Iraq peacefully.  If that cannot be achieved, war - and the costly, complicated job of rebuilding Iraq - is more likely to succeed if the United States has broad international support. 

“As a Member of the House of Representatives, I promise the people I represent that this will not be my final word on the subject.  I will continue to work with the administration and fight for a broad international coalition, commitment to American values throughout the operation, and the best treatment of our military men and women who will be serving this country.”

Today Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), led a group of his Washington colleagues in urging Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc., the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union to come to agreement over the cargo bound for Alaska, which is currently docked at the Port of Tacoma.  

The letter, addressed to Mr. Bob Magee, President and CEO of Totem Ocean Trailer Express follows:

“We are writing today to express our concern regarding the labor negotiations between Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union (ILWU).  We are hopeful that we can work together and find a solution to the immediate problem of Alaska cargo.

“We understand that Totem is not a member of the PMA and therefore not subject to the lockout order; however, Stevedoring Services of America, which provides contract services to you, is a PMA member and therefore subject to the lockout.

“The ILWU has informed us that they are willing to continue loading and unloading cargo for Alaska on your vessels.  Not only would this be critical for Alaska consumers, who rely on cargo shipped from the west coast ports for groceries and other essential goods, but it is also essential for our many military bases in Alaska.  

“We request that you work directly with the ILWU to fulfill your duties to the consumers and men and women in uniform in Alaska.  Due to the fact that this matter is extremely urgent, please respond to us as soon as possible.”

Click here to view the full text of the letter.

The following is the statement Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) delivered today on the floor of the House: 

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend my deepest condolences to the family of Sergeant First Class Mark Wayne Jackson who was killed in a bomb blast yesterday in Zamboanga, Philippines.  He died while advancing freedom, peace and stability in the Philippines and his family should be proud of his service and his work on behalf of the American people. 

“Sergeant Jackson, part of the 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis, WA, was on the front lines of the global war against terrorism.  He served as a member of a U.S. force deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, helping to train the Philippine military to fight the Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization more effectively.  He will be remembered as one of our finest young Americans and he gave his life so that people throughout the world could be safer and more secure.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly terrorists who committed this act.  The Abu Sayyaf, who has been blamed for the attack, has been consistently linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network.  They represent a clear threat to America and we will continue the global campaign to uproot the terrorist cells and bring them to justice.  Through the efforts of the courageous and dedicated men and women in our armed forces, I am confident that we will prevail in this fight.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9, Tacoma) is currently looking for spring interns for his Washington D.C. office, as well as year-round internships for his Tacoma, Washington office.  The Washington D.C. will be from January 6, 2003 - May 15, 2003.  Interns will learn about the daily operations of Congress and its inner workings as part of a hard-working team of people working each day to better serve the citizens of Washington state.

Interns responsibilities consist of both administrative and legislative duties including attending committee hearings, briefings, researching and writing responses to constituent inquiries, opening mail and answering the phones.

Applicants must be undergraduate students who have completed at least one semester/quarter of college.  Students should be interested in the legislative process and have strong writing and research skills.  The willingness to undertake a variety of projects and the ability to work independently is also important.  

Internships are available for school credit if approved by the college/university.

For information or details on internships, contact Katy Andrew, D.C. Office Manager and Scheduler, at (202) 225-8901 or email her at

Deadline for Washington D.C. spring 2003 intern applications is November 1, 2002.  To be considered for a D.C. internship, please email Katy Andrew at with the following information in a complete application: cover letter, resume, and a one-page statement on why you would like to be a congressional intern.  

There is no deadline for internships in the Tacoma, Washington office.  For more information, please contact Diane Brazell at (253) 593-6600 or for more details on positions in the district.  District office intern applications should include a cover letter expressing your interest in the internship program and a current resume.

The leaders of the New Democrat Coalition expressed their frustration today with the inactivity in the House of Representatives on critical legislation.  Since Congress’ return to session, the Republican leadership has failed to schedule a vote on legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support and that they themselves have declared to be high priorities - Bankruptcy Reform and the Export Administration Act.  Meanwhile, with the fiscal year on the verge of expiring, the leadership has allowed intra-party politics to bring the appropriations process to a grinding halt.

Today New Democrat Coalition co-chairs Reps. Jim Davis (D-Fla.), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement:

“While the House leadership is scheduling little more than non-controversial suspensions for debate, widely supported bankruptcy reform legislation has been repeatedly pulled from the floor because a small group of far-right Republicans are holding their own leadership hostage.  One piece of legislation labeled a White House priority, the Export Administration Act, has languished for months as the Republican leadership has failed to seek a compromise between the two Committees’ chairmen.  At the same time, Congress is well behind on the appropriations process, with the House having only taken up five of the 13 regular appropriation bills needed to fund the federal government for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

“The New Democrat Coalition has continuously offered support to the House Leadership on bankruptcy reform.  Last year, bankruptcy legislation passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support including the votes of 50 members of the New Democrat Coalition and several members of the Democratic leadership.  Our group has consistently made this legislation a top priority and has delivered a wide base of support for the bill.  

“Most recently, on September 3rd, 30 New Democrats sent a letter to Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) expressing support for this year’s fair, balanced and reasonable bankruptcy reform conference report.  We pledged to work hard with leadership to make sure that this legislation passed this year.  But rather than moving forward in a bipartisan fashion, the Republican leadership bowed to pressure from the extreme elements of their party and withdrew the bill from the calendar, yet again.

“The Export Administration Act has also languished thanks to Republican Party in-fighting.  Many of the nation's leading defense experts recognize the need to fundamentally revamp the way we protect our nation's security, and the bottom line is that export control reform is critical to the future of U.S. global economic, technological and military leadership.  For years, New Democrats have been working 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.  

“It seems clear that the White House is committed to ensuring passage of appropriate export control legislation and the New Democrats continue to be willing and eager to work with them to make that happen.  Unfortunately, despite our regular offers of support, and requests for meetings to discuss a bipartisan plan to move this crucial legislation forward, the House Republican leadership has continued to ignore all calls for action and reform.  Instead, they have proven unwilling to work with their own party’s chairmen to pass legislation that the White House has asked to see on the floor.

“Meanwhile, with the end of the fiscal year rapidly approaching, the leadership is also refusing to bring to the floor the appropriations bills that we must pass to keep our government running.  Apparently, the leadership, in another bow to their right-wing Republican members, would rather send the House home for another long weekend than spend this Friday voting on any of the four appropriations bills that are ready for floor debate. 

“We, as members of the New Democrat Coalition, wonder what the Republican leadership is waiting for.  We see them torn between the two competing interests of intra-party politics and effective legislating.  We ask them to choose bipartisan action on these, and other, important issues and not to allow the narrow special interests in their own party handicap the legislative business of this nation.”