Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Smith Statement on the Passing of Gene Cernan

2017/01/17

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today on the passing of former astronaut Gene Cernan. Chairman Smith: “Gene Cernan personified the American spirit, becoming the second American to walk in space and one of only two men to have made two trips to the Moon. Cernan, who is a constituent, served as a Navy pilot before joining NASA, and later commanded the Apollo 17 mission, from which he earned his title as ‘The Last Man on the Moon.’ “I first met Cernan when he testified before the Committee in 2011, where he told young Americans to ‘never stop shooting for the Moon.’ “While Cernan has passed, his legacy will live on and will inspire young American dreamers to make his prediction a reality. My  thoughts and prayers are with the Cernan family as our nation mourns the loss of a true pioneer and hero.” Read More

Smith Announces 115th Congress Committee Members

2017/01/13

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, today announced committee members for the 115th Congress. Chairman Smith: “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with my new colleagues who bring their expertise in diverse areas to the committee.  It is my hope to develop and implement policies that will restore America’s position as a world leader in space, generate solutions for energy independence, fund basic research, ensure excellence in science education, and encourage innovations in all areas of science and technology.  The115th Congress brings new opportunities for Americans and our nation’s scientific endeavors.  I look forward to partnering with the new administration and our Science Committee members on policies based on sound science.” Full Committee Lamar Smith (Texas), Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.) Frank Lucas (Okla.) Mo Brooks (Ala.) Randy Hultgren (Ill.) Bill Posey (Fla.) Thomas Massie (Ky.) Jim Bridenstine (Okla.) Randy Weber (Texas) Stephen Knight (Calif.) Brian Babin (Texas) Barbara Comstock (Va.) Gary Palmer (Ala.) Barry Loudermilk (Ga.) Ralph Lee Abraham (La.) Darin LaHood (Ill.) Daniel Webster (Fla.) Jim Banks (Ind.) Andy Biggs (Ariz.) Roger Marshall (Kan.) Neal Dunn (Fla.) Clay Higgins (La.) Read More

Committee Introduces Bipartisan Nuclear R&D Bill

2017/01/11

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) today led U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) in introducing the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R. 431). Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) today also introduced companion legislation in the Senate chamber. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I am pleased to be an original co-sponsor the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which will accelerate the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies.  This legislation provides a path forward to ensure that the Department of Energy prioritizes research, development, and demonstration activities that can impact electricity generation, national security, and even space exploration. “America has a long history of leadership in nuclear energy, which is a clean, zero emissions source of energy.  The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act promotes cutting edge nuclear technology and helps maintain America’s global leadership in this critical field.  The bill also provides innovators at our national labs, universities, and in the private sector the tools necessary to develop next generation reactors. I look forward to working with our colleagues to getting this bill swiftly passed and to the president’s desk for signature.” Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas): “I am very pleased to once again co-sponsor the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. This legislation would accelerate the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies that are safer, less expensive, more efficient, and produce less waste than the current generation of nuclear reactors. Nuclear power currently plays a pivotal role in providing our country with reliable energy. As a nation, nuclear energy produces about 20 percent of our total electric power, and it provides 9 percent of the electricity generated in the great state of Texas – all with essentially no greenhouse gas emissions. This bill will ensure that innovators at our national labs, universities, and in the private sector have the tools they need for nuclear energy to play a key role in enabling our nation’s clean energy future.” Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas): “I am honored to re-introduce the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act in the 115th Congress.  This legislation requires the Department of Energy to prioritize its R&D infrastructure on capabilities that will enable the private sector to develop advanced reactor technologies. The potential advancements have the ability to yield increased safety, less waste, zero air emissions, and greater resistance to proliferation.  Nuclear technology is vital to our national security and global leadership in nuclear safety.  It is time for Congress to legislate these priorities.” Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho): “Nuclear energy is an underutilized source of safe, reliable and clean energy. With strong, bipartisan support, we can eliminate barriers to innovation and increase the role it plays in our domestic energy portfolio.  I support the efforts of the House Science Committee to find ways to bring together our national labs and private sector in order to continue to drive the nuclear industry forward.” Background: This legislation directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize research and development (R&D) infrastructure that will enable the private sector to invest in advanced reactor technologies and provides a clear path forward to attract private investment for prototype development at DOE labs. DOE carries out civilian nuclear energy R&D through the DOE labs and universities which provide research infrastructure and employ highly trained scientists to maintain the nation’s critical R&D capabilities. The U.S. regulatory system, managed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), creates a barrier to investment for advanced reactor technologies because it is ill-equipped to process licenses in a timely and predictable manner, which further suppresses private investment and technology development.     Summary of Major Provisions Amends DOE’s civilian nuclear energy R&D mission to ensure that the Department enables the private sector to partner with national labs for the purpose of developing novel reactor concepts. Provides programmatic authority for DOE to leverage its supercomputing infrastructure to accelerate nuclear energy R&D capabilities for advanced reactor technologies. Provides statutory direction for a DOE reactor-based versatile neutron source that will operate as an open-access user facility and enable researchers to conduct academic and proprietary research in the United States. Authorizes DOE to enable the private sector to construct and operate privately-funded reactor prototypes at DOE sites. Requires DOE to put forth a transparent, strategic, 10-year plan for prioritizing nuclear R&D programs while considering budget constraints. Cosponsors include Chairman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson, U.S. Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), U.S. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).   Read More

House Approves Bipartisan Bills to Promote Women in Science

2017/01/10

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today applauds House passage of the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act (H.R. 321), introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act (H.R. 255), introduced by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.). The two bipartisan bills encourage more women to pursue careers in science. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I thank Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and Representative Elizabeth Esty for their work on these two bills.  The INSPIRE Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act together help encourage the next generation of women to pursue careers in STEM fields like aeronautics and engineering, and translate their enthusiasm, scientific expertise and research ideas into tangible products and businesses. I have encountered motivated, talented young people who want nothing more than an opportunity to pursue their dreams and in some cases, change the world with their ideas. These bills will help support them in those endeavors.” Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.): “In order to maintain our edge, we must encourage more young women to enter STEM fields. Unfortunately, current statistics show that women are less likely to focus on STEM-related studies in college. And of the women who pursue these areas of study, only 26% will ultimately work in STEM-related fields. This bill helps provide more exposure, encouragement, and opportunities for women to get on the ladder for careers at NASA and in the STEM fields.” Background: The INSPIRE Women Act authorizes the NASA Administrator to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers that will further advance America’s space science and exploration efforts through support of initiatives like:  NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS; Aspire to Inspire; and the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research. Such important programs are intended to encourage more young women to enter fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The bill is co-sponsored by Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas). The bipartisan Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act authorizes the National Science Foundation to use its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. The bill encourages the National Science Foundation to tackle the problem that only 26 percent of women who attain degrees in STEM fields work in STEM jobs. H.R. 255 is also co-sponsored by the full committee Chairman and Ranking Member. Read More

House Passes Weather Research and Forecasting Bill

2017/01/10

WASHINGTON -  The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously approved H.R. 353, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.  This legislation prioritizes protecting lives and property. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): "Americans from coast to coast will now be better prepared for severe weather with the passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.  This bill has been four years in the making and is long overdue.  It will transform our nation’s weather gathering efforts and help save lives and property.  This legislation strengthens the underlying atmospheric science while simultaneously advancing innovative technology and reforming operations to provide better weather data, models, and forecasts.  America can thank Reps. Lucas and Bridenstine for leading this innovation initiative.  We look forward to the Senate approving this bill soon." Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.): “Every minute counts in the lead up before a major storm or tornado. This legislation helps to give those in harm’s way additional disaster preparation time which could ultimately be the difference between life and death or thousands of dollars in property damage. I am encouraged that the House has taken action on this critical matter and hope to see these life-saving policies enacted soon.” Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.): “Our aim is to have zero deaths from tornadoes and other extreme weather events. This bill gets us closer to that day.  I thank my House colleagues for their support, and anticipate swift Senate passage and that the President will sign it into law.” Background: This legislation is the product of a bipartisan effort.  It directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus resources and effort to: Prioritize NOAA research on next generation weather data, modeling, and computing; Emphasize developing much more accurate forecasts and longer warning times for high impact weather events; Support proactive technology transfer of weather research into operations to protect lives and property; Create focused programs to extend warning lead times and improve forecasts for tornadoes and hurricanes specifically; Develop a plan to utilize observing system simulation experiments and innovative technology to regain U.S. superiority in weather modeling and forecasts; Employ new commercial data options and private sector weather solutions; and Enhance coordination among various federal government weather stakeholders. The legislation also authorizes and extends a NOAA pilot program already under way thanks to a partnership between the House Science and the House Appropriations Committees. Under this pilot program, NOAA has already issued two contracts to procure commercial satellite weather data. This pilot program could bring about a paradigm shift in how NOAA makes decisions about future procurement of critical weather data and systems.  Read More

President Signs American Innovation and Competitiveness Act Into Law

2017/01/07

WASHINGTON -  The president yesterday signed into law the bipartisan American Innovation and Competiveness Act (AICA) (S. 3084).  AICA represents a bicameral, bipartisan agreement that includes nine House Science Committee bills that passed the full House over the last two years, including H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015.  Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I want to congratulate House Research and Technology Subcommittee Chair Barbara Comstock and Vice Chair John Moolenaar as well as Oversight Subcommittee Chair Barry Loudermilk and Vice Chair Darin LaHood on enacting the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act into law. This important piece of legislation was the last bill passed in the 114th Congress, and is the result of a four-year effort to strengthen and reform agencies and programs that administer basic research. AICA increases U.S. competitiveness while creating jobs for hardworking Americans and will help to spur new businesses and industries.  “Reforms to National Science Foundation research facility construction and National Institute of Standards and Technology programs and campus security are also key elements in the bill that will improve the impact of taxpayer-funded research. The bill also includes federal research regulatory reform, interagency IT and cybersecurity R&D reform, and NSF merit review reform to include my ‘national interest’ criteria. On the whole, Americans will see improved accountability and transparency with a reduction in administrative burden on researchers as a result of this legislative effort.  It has been an honor to help shepherd this bill across the finish line, and to see this meaningful legislation signed into law.” Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “This bill is a victory for science and economic competitiveness. I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate who worked across party lines to thoughtfully develop this bill and advance it into law.” Background: This legislation incorporates Chairman Smith’s national interest criterion as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) merit review process, which ensures transparency and accountability by requiring a non-technical justification of all federally funded research projects. S. 3084 also reforms NSF major research facility construction to prevent future nine-figure cost overruns and prohibit use of taxpayer funds for liquor, lobbyists and foreign travel. In addition, this legislation strengthens cybersecurity research and IT coordination at all federal agencies. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act authorizes and encourages private-public science prizes to solve important science and technology problems. It also encourages broader participation in STEM studies and careers. This legislation incorporates House-passed provisions from the following bills:          H.R. 1806, America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith          H.R. 1119, Research and Development Efficiency Act introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.)          H.R. 1156, International Science and Technology Cooperation Act introduced by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.)          H.R. 1162, Science Prize Competition Act introduced by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.)          H.R. 1764, United States Chief Technology Officer Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.)          H.R. 1924, Hispanic Opportunity Program in Education and Science Act introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY)          H.R. 3293, Scientific Research in the National Interest Act introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith          H.R. 5049, NSF Major Facility Research Reform Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk          H.R. 5312, Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Modernization Act of 2016 introduced by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.)          H.R. 5636, National Institute of Standards and Technology Campus Security Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk          H.R. 5639, National Institute of Standards and Technology Improvement Act introduced by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) For a general summary of each title of S. 3084, click here.   Read More

Smith Statement on EPA’s IG Report Finding a Lack of Federal Record Keeping for Text Messages

2016/12/21

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) provided the following statement today after the Inspector General at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report concluding that EPA needs to improve their processes for preserving text messages as federal records.  Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I applaud the inspector general at EPA for recognizing that there is a problem with EPA officials using texting for official business and the conflict it presents for maintaining records.  Out of the 3.1 million text messages analyzed by the IG, only 86 of the text messages were logged into the enterprise system at EPA as a federal record.  This vast deficit is astonishing, and further discredits the claim made by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that only one out of her 5,000 text messages was an official record according to EPA.  A better process for maintaining this type of official correspondence to provide for congressional requests and Freedom of Information Act practices is lacking and needs to be addressed.  I look forward to hearing how EPA specifically plans to address the deficits outlined by the IG report.” Background: The chairman requested this report In November 2014 in response to learning that high ranking officials within EPA were using text messaging for official business, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy To view the full report, click here. Read More

Committee Releases Report on Department of Energy Misconduct

2016/12/20

WASHINGTON – The Majority Staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today released a report, U.S. Department of Energy Misconduct Related to the Low Dose Radiation Research Program. The report includes findings from the majority staff’s investigation that senior Department of Energy officials deliberately withheld information from Congress and removed an agency scientist from federal service for providing complete answers to committee staff.  The report also covers an overview of the Low Dose Radiation Research Program and H.R. 5544, the Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2014.  Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Instead of providing the type of scientific information needed by Congress to legislate effectively, senior departmental officials sought to hide information, lobbied against legislation, and retaliated against a scientist for being forthcoming.  In this staff report based on lengthy record before the committee, much has been revealed about how senior level agency officials under the Obama administration retaliated against a scientist who did not follow the party line.  Moving forward, the department needs to overhaul its management practices to ensure that Congress is provided the information it requires to legislate and that federal employees and scientists who provide that information do so without fear of retribution.” Background: Findings from the Report: DOE management developed a scheme to withhold information from congressional staff. Dr. Noelle Metting was directed to omit information from a presentation to congressional staff given during the briefing. DOE management avoided critical information pertinent to the continuance of the LDRRP. DOE management worked to kill the LDRRP because it did not further the administration’s goals to advance climate research. With regard to H.R. 5544, DOE management sought to manipulate congressional staff – both republican and democratic staff. DOE management and senior employees gave intentionally misleading statements to Congress. Dr. Julie Carruthers and Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax both made inconsistent statements at different points during the Committee’s investigation. Management quickly took steps to remove Dr. Metting from federal service. Dr. Metting was removed for providing Congress with candid testimony without regard to the potential chilling effect on other scientists. Dr. Metting was the DOE’s sole expert on LDRR and her opinion was silenced to further political interests. Conclusions and Recommendations in the Report: The DOE exhibited a complete disregard for the legislative process and Constitutional separation of powers at an institutional level.  The DOE must overhaul its management practices to ensure that the Department carries out its Constitutional responsibilities to be truthful with Congress and respects the legislative process. To view the full report, click here. Read More

House Clears Smith-Gardner American Innovation and Competitiveness Bill for Enactment

2016/12/16

WASHINGTON -  House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today applauds passage of the American Innovation and Competiveness Act (S. 3084). The Senate approved this legislation last week. Today’s House action will send the bill to the president’s desk for his signature. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act is the result of a four-year effort to strengthen and reform the agencies and programs that administer taxpayer-supported basic research. This bill maximizes the nation’s investment in basic research, and helps boost U.S. competitiveness, creates jobs and spurs new business and industries. It improves accountability and transparency, reduces administrative burden on researchers, enhances agency oversight, which improves research coordination, and reforms federal science agency programs to increase the impact of taxpayer-funded research. “I thank Sens. John Thune and Cory Gardner for their leadership and persistence in getting us to the point of passage. I would also like to thank House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for his tireless effort in helping to shepherd this ‘Innovation Initiative’ bill across the finish line. I look forward to seeing this bill signed by the president and enacted into law for the betterment of our country.” Background: This bill represents a bicameral, bipartisan agreement between legislation that recently passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and nine House Science Committee bills that passed the full House over the last two years, including H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015.  The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act maximizes basic research by improving transparency and accountability, reducing administrative burdens for researchers, and reforming federal science agencies to increase the impact of taxpayer-funded research. This legislation incorporates Chairman Smith’s national interest criterion as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) merit review process, which ensures transparency and accountability by requiring a non-technical justification of all federal funded research projects. S. 3084 also reforms NSF major research facility construction to prevent future nine-figure cost overruns and prohibit use of taxpayer funds for liquor, lobbyists and foreign travel. In addition, this legislation strengthens cybersecurity research and IT coordination at all federal agencies, and imposes new penalties for research falsification. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act authorizes and encourages private-public science prizes to solve important science and technology problems. It also encourages broader participation in STEM studies and careers. This legislation incorporates House-passed provisions from the following bills: H.R. 1806, America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith H.R. 1119, Research and Development Efficiency Act introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) H.R. 1156, International Science and Technology Cooperation Act introduced by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) H.R. 1162, Science Prize Competition Act introduced by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) H.R. 1764, United States Chief Technology Officer Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) H.R. 1924, Hispanic Opportunity Program in Education and Science Act introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) H.R. 3293, Scientific Research in the National Interest Act introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith H.R. 5049, NSF Major Facility Research Reform Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk H.R. 5312, Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Modernization Act of 2016 introduced by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) H.R. 5636, National Institute of Standards and Technology Campus Security Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk H.R. 5639, National Institute of Standards and Technology Improvement Act introduced by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) For a general summary of each title of S. 3084, click here. Read More

Smith Statement on Appointment of Rick Perry to Secretary of Energy

2016/12/14

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after President-elect Donald J. Trump announced former Texas Governor Rick Perry will lead the Department of Energy. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Rick Perry is an excellent choice to lead our nation’s Energy Department. He is a champion of energy development. As a former governor of Texas, Rick Perry has in-depth experience running a state with an economy that ranks 11th in the world.  Texas is an ‘all of the above’ energy state and is the largest producer of oil and gas in the country as well as the largest producer of wind energy.  The Science Committee that I chair has jurisdiction over the Energy Department’s research and development budget of $10 billion. I look forward to working with the former governor and the Trump administration to develop less costly energy for the American people and to advance the Department’s core scientific missions.” Read More

Contact Information

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Fax 202-226-0113
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Membership

Brian Babin

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Barbara Comstock

VIRGINIA's 10th DISTRICT

Randy Hultgren

ILLINOIS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Johnson

OHIO's 6th DISTRICT

Steve Knight

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

John Moolenaar

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Dan Newhouse

WASHINGTON's 4th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Gary Palmer

ALABAMA's 6th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Jim Sensenbrenner

WISCONSIN's 5th DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bruce Westerman

ARKANSAS' 4th DISTRICT

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