Rep. Adam Smith moved a little farther from Joint Base Lewis-McChord when he followed the center of the 9th Congressional District into King County, but he kept his position as the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
Smith in the coming year likely will face more tough decisions on where to cut spending in the Defense Department. Over the past year, he has said he supported some reductions in defense spending as the wars ended and the country turned its focus to improving its economy.
That position is a contrast to the Armed Services Committee’s Republican chairman, Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif. McKeon, who wants to maintain defense spending while cutting other services.
“I am pleased that my colleagues selected me to serve another term, and as our country continues to face great challenges, I am committed to standing up and fighting for the national security goals and principles of our caucus,” Smith said in a news release this week.
“Additionally, I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman McKeon. Mr. McKeon has been a great partner to work with on the committee. I thank him for his leadership and for his commitment to maintaining the bipartisan tradition of the committee.”
Also this week, Smith said he supports a measure to standardize suicide prevention efforts across the armed services. Sen. Patty Murray attached the measure to a defense authorization bill the Senate passed this week.
Its next stop is the House Armed Services Committee, where lawmakers will revise differences between the House and Senate defense bills.
“I applaud Sen. Murray for taking on this important issue and I strongly support her proposal to implement a standardized and comprehensive suicide prevention program within the Department of Defense,” Smith said in an email response to a question from The News Tribune this week. “We should be doing all that we can to help prevent suicide and increase access to mental health services in our Armed Services. The stresses that our men and women in uniform face on a daily basis are real, and difficult, and the Department of Defense should continue to help our service members deal with these stresses in a productive and safe way.”