Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement tonight concerning his vote against the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill:

“Our servicemen and women are serving overseas and, as such, it’s critically important that their government provides them all the support they need: logistically, financially and by letting them know we honor their sacrifice,” said Smith. “I have consistently supported Defense Appropriations bills because, each year, this measure provides the funding to ensure our military has the best tools and equipment possible.  As an elected official, I take seriously my responsibility to make sure our troops have all the resources they need.

But tonight, the Republican majority, through a backroom deal, brought forward a defense bill that includes an unrelated and controversial provision to allow drilling in one of the last pristine natural reserves in our country: the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The contentious matter of whether or not to begin drilling in Alaska has no place in a bill that funds the Department of Defense. The needs of our troops serving in combat should never be subject to such cynical politics. I am disappointed that the majority is willing to play games with this important legislation and, for this reason, I could not support this deeply flawed bill.  I voted against this bill in hopes that it would be sent back to conference committee where controversial provisions would be stripped out and then a clean bill could be sent to the floor expeditiously.  I would then vote for that clean bill. 

Each year, funds for the Department of Defense must be both authorized and appropriated in separate pieces of legislation.  While I voted against the appropriations measure, I was proud to support this year’s FY06 Defense Authorization bill, which also passed the House.  I will continue my efforts on the House Armed Services Committee to advocate for the best interests of those serving our nation.”