Press Releases

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.

Fresh off a recent tour of Silicon Valley, the New Democrat Coalition unveiled their E-genda today and criticized House Republicans for failing to include a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit in their tax cut package.

The e-genda outlines the centrist Democrats’ priorities for the New Economy. “Encouraging growth of the New Economy and the high-technology industry translates into opportunity for the American people,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-Washington). “New Democrats have been working on these issues relentlessly for nearly three years, and our e-genda outlines our achievements and goals in this area.”

The five points of the e-genda are:

• Leadership in the Global Economy, including export control reform and engagement with China;
• Ensuring a Skilled Workforce, including technology training, education reform, and H-1B visa expansion;
• Reducing Taxes to Encourage Investment, including a permanent extension of the research and experimentation tax credit and education tax credits;
• Encouraging the Growth of E-Commerce; including digital signature and access to broadband technology; and
• Fostering Innovation in the Marketplace, including patent reform and FDA reform.

New Democrats criticized House Republicans for failing to include a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit in their tax cut package reported out of the Ways and Means Committee yesterday.

“After all the hype over Dick Armey’s ‘e-contract’, the Republicans should have backed it up with meaningful action,” said Representative Cal Dooley (D-California). “Instead, they demonstrate that they still don’t get it on New Economy issues. Ask the people who have generated jobs and growth through amazing technological and biological innovation what we can do to ensure the growth continues, and they unanimously answer: give us a permanent extension of the R&D tax credit. It is one of the most important things we can do, and the Republicans failed to do it.”

Over the Fourth of July recess, 22 New Democrats visited San Francisco and Silicon Valley and met with the high-technology community. The group of centrist Democrats is the largest group of elected officials ever to visit the area.

Many freshmen Members of Congress joined the tour to learn about the high-technology industry. Among the themes they heard consistently was education. Freshman Congressman Ken Lucas (D-Kentucky) said, “The technology industry spoke loud and clear. I’m glad to see that the technology community is on board to improve our education system -- to empower our kids with the tools to succeed in the new economy.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will host a summit in August to bring public officials and leaders of the high-technology community together for a discussion of high-technology policy issues.

The summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11, at the Bell Harbor Center in Seattle. Tentatively scheduled is a press conference on Tuesday, August 10, at 3:00 with key participants at a location to be determined.

Commerce Secretary Richard Daley has been invited to be the keynote speaker. The day’s program will also include five panels:
• Bandwidth and Telecommunications Competition;
• Electronic Commerce on the Internet;
• Export Controls, Encryption, and Piracy;
• Work Force Development and the Information Technology Skills Gap Challenge;
• Members of Congress Discuss Congressional Agenda

After each panel’s presentation, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions. Panel members will also be available in a separate room immediately after the presentation for press questions. 

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Representatives Cal Dooley (D-CA), Tom Davis (R-VA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Brian Baird (D-WA), Jay Inslee (D-WA), David Wu (D-OR), Bobby Etheridge (D-NC), and William Delahunt (D-MA) are tentatively scheduled to attend the summit. Sponsors include Microsoft, Boeing, APCO Associates, Battelle, GTE, Hewlett-Packard, the Port of Tacoma, US West, and Washington Mutual.

Reporters interested in attending are strongly encouraged to RSVP to Alixandria Weise at (202) 226-8456. Others interested in attending or who want more information should call Linda Danforth at (253) 926-6683.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith’s amendment to H.R. 1501, the Child Safety and Protection Act, passed today with a 412-15 vote.

“This amendment encourages states to keep the most violent and dangerous criminals off the streets,” said Smith, a former prosecutor for the City of Seattle. “I am pleased that the House overwhelmingly passed the amendment, which was recently passed by the Senate with 81 votes.”

The amendment, co-sponsored by Representatives Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) and Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania) would create a financial incentive for states to hold violent criminals instead of releasing them to commit more crimes. If a state releases an individual convicted of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense involving a child under the age of 14 and that individual then commits one of those violent crimes again in another state, the first state is liable for the costs of apprehension, prosecution, and incarceration.

The amendment is identical to H.R. 894, “Aimee’s Law.” The bill is named in honor of Aimee Willard, a former student at George Mason University who was raped and murdered in Pennsylvania by Arthur Bomar in 1996. Bomar, who had been convicted of murder in Nevada, was released from prison despite a history of violence. Smith is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 894.

“The average time served for rape is currently only five and a half years,” Smith said. “The woman who is raped by a criminal after he gets out of prison suffers life-long consequences. This legislation will also place consequences on criminals and the states who prematurely release them.”

Last year, a Tacoma woman testified before a congressional committee in support of the legislation. Mary Vincent was brutally attacked in California by a violent criminal and suffered serious lifelong consequences. Ms. Vincent moved to Gig Harbor and then Tacoma. After she heard that her attacker had been released from San Quentin after serving only eight years, she barricaded herself in her house and became anorexic and bulimic. In February of 1997, her attacker killed a Florida woman. Ms. Vincent testified at her attacker’s sentencing, and he was sent to death row. Ms. Vincent is one of the many victims and victims’ rights advocates, including Marc Klaas whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993, who has come out in support of this legislation.

It is also endorsed by a broad group of organizations, including the National Fraternal Order of Police , Mothers Against Gangs, The Women’s Coalition, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, and Kids Safe.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith, a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, today voted for the Fiscal Year 2000 Defense Authorization bill, which passed.

"The Department of Defense Authorization bill will go a long way towards meeting our defense needs," Smith said. "Perhaps most importantly, it provides a much-needed pay raise for the men an women serving our country, reforms the military retirement structure called REDUX, and increases funding for military housing and installations."

The bill includes a 4.8 percent pay increase for military personnel for next year. The increase is .5 percent above the Employment Cost Index (ECI), an index used by the private sector to calculate wage increases. The bill requires that future military raises be calculated using the full ECI.

"From the moment this bill was introduced, throughout the Armed Services Committee process and up until it passed on the floor, I adamantly supported the 4.8 percent pay increase," Smith explained. "If we want to have a first-class military, we need to make the military a good career choice by providing competitive pay and good benefits. This pay raise is a step in the right direction to taking better care of our troops."

Not only does the legislation provide a pay raise for personnel, it reforms the Military Retirement Reform Act, commonly known as "Redux." Under Redux, service members who entered the military after 1986 and retired at 20 years of service would receive retirement pay equal to approximately one-fourth of their total pay and allowances (or 40 percent of their basic pay) compared to approximately one-third of total pay and allowances (or 50 percent of basic pay) before 1986.

To encourage mid-career service members to continue serving their country for twenty years or more, the bill changes current law by allowing personnel covered by Redux to choose between the following:

• Retiring under the pre-1986 military retirement plan at 2.5 percent of basic pay per year of service over 20 years (up to a maximum of 75 percent of basic pay); or

• Accepting a one-time $30,000 bonus after 15 years of service and remaining under the Redux retirement plan that reduces the percentage of base pay paid to retirees before age 62 by 1 percent for each year the member retires with less than 30 years of service. Servicemembers accepting the bonus would be obligated to serve the remaining five years to become eligible for retirement.

The legislation also includes an increase in funding to accelerate implementation of the Basic Allowance for Housing, which provides housing allowances for military families in high cost areas; provisions to encourage re-enlistment; and increases in special pay and bonuses, including aviation career incentive pay, hazardous duty pay, and foreign language proficiency pay.

The bill also makes key investments in tomorrow's technology, to ensure that our military has the best available equipment.

"We need to make smart investments in military technology," said Smith. "Now is the time to modernize our forces to make sure our soldiers have the equipment and training necessary to do their job, and funding new tactical air power programs, such as the F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter, is key to preparing our forces for tomorrow's fight."

Both the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter received funding in the Defense Authorization bill. The F-22, which is partially produced in Tukwila, received $1.6 billion for funding at the Joint Strike Fighter, another Boeing project, received a total of $301 million for the Air Force and Navy Joint Strike Fighters. Other Boeing projects include the Airborne Laser, which is a high-powered laser carried aboard an aircraft that is meant to destroy ballistic missiles in their launch phase, funded at $309 billion.

The bill also authorizes $3.7 billion for ballistic missile defense, including $852 million for national missile defense and $473 million for the Theater High Altitude Air Defense system (THAAD) for the missiles that will succeed the Patriot missiles. "The Gulf War demonstrated the dire need for a proven theater missile defense systems to protect American troops and ally civilians," noted Smith.

Smith also voted for an amendment, which passed, to incorporate recommendations contained in the Cox-Dicks report on security breaches on U.S. nuclear labs.

"Clearly, the Cox-Dicks report illustrated that we had inexcusable blunders in counter-intelligence at our nuclear labs," Smith said. "The amendment I voted for will implement the changes needed to ensure that such security breaches do not happen again."

The amendment establishes new procedures to increase security at Energy Department weapons facilities and national labs, requires the President to submit numerous reports to Congress on Chinese espionage and military activities, and institutes new guidelines to prevent the illegal transfer of technology to a foreign country during satellite launches.

Smith, who has been a ardent supporter of funding for Hanford Nuclear Site cleanup funding and limiting overhead costs and waste, also succeeded in including a General Accounting Office (GAO) report to investigate allegations of $85 million in overbilling by key Hanford cleanup contractors.