Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman recently toured the Auburn Boys and Girls Club and presented a donation of $250 from his Congressional pay raise.

Although Smith voted against a Congressional pay raise, Members of Congress received one. Smith has promised to donate his pay raise to education and other worthy programs throughout the Ninth District.

The Auburn Boys and Girls Club is an extension of the Federal Way Boys and Girls Club, and both operate out of the same budget. It opened on March 1st, 1999 as a collaborative program with the King County Housing Authority. The site serves low income children, including kids newly arrived from Somalia and Ukraine.

“I am very pleased to donate to the Auburn Boys and Girls Club, which provides important services to the Auburn community,” Smith said. “I believe the Boys and Girls Club is a great example of communities coming together to improve the lives of kids.”

John Evans, Unit Director, said, “It’s always a pleasure to have Congressman Smith stop by the Boys and Girls Club. Both the kids and community leaders appreciate the congressman’s support and donation.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today voted for the Conference Report on Military Construction Appropriations bill, which includes over $128 million in military construction projects for the state of Washington.

“This legislation includes funding for key projects at both Fort Lewis and McChord,” Smith said. “These improvements will help increase the quality of life for the men and women who serve our country.”

Specifically, the legislation includes:

MCCHORD AFB PROJECTS
• $7.9 million in improvements to the C-17 squadron operations/aircraft maintenance unit;
• $3.3 million in improvements to the Air Force Reserve C-17 maintenance unit facility.

FORT LEWIS AND YAKIMA PROJECTS
• $5.5 million to replace the north dental clinic;
• $5.2 million for an ammunition storage facility;
• $6.2 million for a physical fitness training center;
• $12 million for tank trail erosion mitigation in Yakima;
• $16.3 million for an Army National Guard maneuver area training equipment site.

“These projects are critical to ensuring those serving at Fort Lewis and McChord have top-notch facilities that improve their quality of life and their ability to do their job,” Smith said. “I was proud to vote for this legislation and look forward to seeing it signed by the President.”

Today in the House Armed Services Committee, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith was one of six Members of Congress to oppose the Weldon amendment to gut key provisions of H.R. 850, the Security and Freedom through Encryption Act.

Joining Smith in opposition to the Weldon amendment were Democrats Loretta Sanchez, Marty Meehan, Baron Hill, Ellen Tauscher, and Republican Mary Bono.

Despite proponents’ claims, Smith says that relaxing export restrictions will not threaten national security. “The technology has already proliferated throughout the world,” he said. “Our export restrictions are not protecting our national security, they’re simply giving foreign software companies a chance to capture the global encryption technology market.”

Smith argues that current policy is the real threat to U.S. national security. “Our self-imposed ban on 
encryption exports is disadvantaging U.S. software companies and threatening our competitiveness in this emerging new technology,” said Smith. “The real threat to our national security would be for the United States to lose its advantage in top-of-the-line technologies such as encryption. If we continue tying the hands of U.S. firms and conceding market share to foreign companies, that will be the result.”

Other countries either have much looser restrictions on encryption technology or no restrictions at all. Canada has allowed a company to export its encryption software, and it sells 128-bit encryption for less than fifty dollars. Encryption software can also be easily downloaded from the Internet.

This year, opponents of relaxing encryption export controls used the Cox-Dicks report as an excuse to keep export restrictions intact. Smith countered this argument by pointing out that Representative Chris Cox, who headed the commission that produced the Cox-Dicks report, is a co-sponsor of H.R. 850.

“We have to prioritize national security and ensure other countries don’t have access to our military secrets, but trying to wrap our arms around encryption technology and hinder U.S. companies’ ability to continue to be the worldwide leaders in this industry is like holding water with a fish net,” Smith said. 

Smith, a member of the New Democrat Coalition, criticized the Republicans and Republican Conference Chair and Armed Services Committee Member J.C. Watts for failing to protect H.R. 850. “Just a few weeks ago, we heard the Republicans profess their support for the New Economy and the technology industry,” he said. “But where were they today? Why did Congressman Watts, the Republicans’ supposed technology policy leader, vote to gut this bill that is so important to our high-tech economy and our national security?”

The next step is the Rules Committee, where committee members will weigh changes made to H.R. 850 by four different committees and produce a final product for floor consideration. Smith and other supporters of H.R. 850 will seek passage of the original bill.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will join other members of the centrist New Democrat Coalition today to unveil a tax cut proposal that is touted as the reasonable, pro-growth, and pro-family alternative to the $864 trillion Republican tax cut package.

“If we enact the $864 trillion tax cut that the Republicans have proposed, we will be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as far as balancing the budget and reducing our debt is concerned,” said Smith. “It’s probable that this $864 trillion tax cut will send our budget back into deficit; in fact, OMB estimates that we will have $47 billion deficit over ten years if we pass this tax cut. We have come so far towards a balanced budget and starting to reduce the debt, I would hate to see us take a major step backwards.”

Smith and others are instead advocating a more modest tax cut that provides benefits to families and supports policies to keep our economy strong. “The tax cut package that I and other New Democrats support will still allow us to maintain a balanced budget, reduce the debt, and ensure Medicare and Social Security are there for future generations,” Smith said.

The New Democrat tax cut proposal includes a provision authored by Smith to eliminate the estate tax for family-owned businesses.

“I strongly feel that we should eliminate the estate tax for family-owned businesses, because far too many family-owned businesses or farms are forced to liquidate or go out of business upon the owner’s death, instead of passing the business or farm on to the next generation,” Smith explained. “I am hopeful that this will be a top priority of Congress as we negotiate a final tax cut package.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith voted against a Congressional pay raise yesterday and has promised to donate it to local schools and education programs.

The pay raise is an automatic cost-of-living-allowance for all Members of Congress of $4,600 for the year 2000.

“I voted against the pay raise because I don’t think Congress has regained the trust of the American people enough to justify it,” Smith said. “That is also why I will donate my $4,600 pay raise to local schools and education programs.”

Smith’s pay raise goes into effect January 1, 2000, and he will donate his pay raise to various programs around the Ninth District as he receives it.