WASHINGTON- U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement on the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision to suspend the lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.
Chairman Smith: “The D.C. Circuit Court made the right decision to suspend the ongoing litigation in the Clean Power Plan suit. President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have been committed to reviewing the costly and lawfully questionable Obama carbon regulation. Today’s announcement gives EPA the appropriate time to carry out a promise made to the American people. I am confident that EPA will determine that the massive cost of the rule and its questionable benefits require a better deal for the American people, who will bear all of its unnecessary burdens.”
WASHINGTON- U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to refer Platte River Networks Chief Executive Officer Treve Suazo for prosecution pursuant to federal laws pertaining to failing to produce documents and information demanded in Aug. 23, 2016 and Sept. 16, 2016 subpoenas, making false statements regarding not having custody or control of responsive documents, and for obstructing the committee’s investigation.
Chairman Smith: “Failure to comply with duly issued subpoenas and obstruction of a congressional investigation will not be tolerated. As a result, the Committee is referring Mr. Treve Suazo, CEO of Platte River Networks, to the Department of Justice for prosecution under federal laws pertaining to failing to produce subpoenaed documents, making false statements to Congress regarding possession of documents, and obstructing Congress. Platte River Networks, a company hired by former Secretary Hillary Clinton, has deliberately withheld requested materials from the Committee and refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. With a new administration in place, I am hopeful that the Department of Justice will appropriately respond to the referral. We cannot allow companies with valuable information to stonewall us in our oversight efforts.”
The referral letter can be found here.
On Jan. 8, 2016, the Committee held a hearing titled "Cybersecurity: What the Federal Government Can Learn from the Private Sector." At that hearing, industry experts raised concerns regarding the precautions taken to secure the Clinton private server and legality of such an email arrangement. The Science Committee has jurisdiction over the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sets standards pursuant to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). The materials subpoenaed by the Science Committee center exactly around the committee’s jurisdiction over cybersecurity standards in FISMA. Because former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose to forego using the Department of State’s official government computer systems, which are governed by strict FISMA compliant federal cybersecurity guidelines, the committee launched an investigation to determine whether the level of security of Secretary Clinton’s private server and email account was comparable to the cybersecurity standards prescribed by NIST and FISMA.
On Jan. 14, 2016, following this testimony, the Committee wrote Platte River Networks, Datto, and SECNAP, all companies that played a role in securing data stored on Secretary Clinton’s private server requesting their assistance in understanding the work each company performed to secure the server, and whether it was performed in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Framework.
On July 12, 2016, Chairman Ron Johnson of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Science Committee, together, wrote to Platte River Network’s CEO reiterating the Science Committee’s Jan. 14, 2016, request for documents, and additionally requested transcribed interviews of seven Platte River Network employees.
On Aug. 23, 2016, Smith issued a subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Suazo compelling the production of documents. Mr. Suazo and his counsel deliberately misinterpreted the language of the committee’s subpoena. Following the Aug. 23, 2016 subpoena the committee began receiving responsive materials from Datto, showing that Datto and Platte River Networks employees communicated regularly regarding the status of backups of the Clinton server. These communications show that Platte River Network purposefully withheld documents and materials responsive to the subpoena.
On Sept. 16, 2016, Smith issued a second subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Suazo.
On Sept. 28, 2016, the committee wrote Mr. Suazo’s counsel reiterating the committee’s demand for subpoenaed documents.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, today congratulated National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astronaut Peggy Whitson for breaking the U.S. record for most time spent in space.
Chairman Smith: “Congratulations to Astronaut Peggy Whitson for setting the 534-day American record for time spent in space. This morning’s call between President Trump and Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer is an important reminder of the great goals in space our country can achieve. I stand with President Trump in recognizing what our astronauts on the International Space Station and our scientists and engineers on the ground have accomplished. As a country, we must reach for future successes in space exploration. Research and Technology Chairwoman Barbara Comstock’s INSPIRE Women Act leaps toward that goal by directing NASA to put American women on a path to careers that will further our nation’s space program. This new public law takes strides in ensuring our young women have the resources and encouragement they need to pursue STEM careers. Astronaut Whitson’s accomplishment inspires Americans and furthers the United States as a pioneer in space exploration. I encourage students across the country to dream big, work hard, and follow in our great astronauts’ footsteps.”
Research and Technology Chairwoman Comstock: "The INSPIRE Women Act was designed to promote STEM and NASA careers so that the next generation of young women are mentored by women leaders like Astronaut Peggy Whitson, the American with the longest time spent in space. This legislation will provide resources to young girls and women who aspire to succeed as scientists, engineers, astronauts, mathematicians, and in many other STEM careers."
Watch President Trump’s call with the astronauts HERE. Read More
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, today released the following statement in response to the March for Science.
“I support the right of science supporters to gather and march this weekend. Opening new frontiers of scientific knowledge, on Earth and beyond, will pave the way to a better, more secure future for the next generation. I will continue to support scientific research that furthers our national interest and is of the highest intellectual merit. In the last few months, the Science Committee has enacted three bills that highlight this commitment: the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017, and the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017. The Committee also has worked to help ensure new opportunities for the next generation of scientists and engineers by enacting the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. I look forward to continuing to promote scientific integrity and a healthy, transparent and vibrant research and technology environment in the United States.” Read More
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) today led U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in introducing the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2105). This bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Research and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), and Reps. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Bill Posey (R-Fla.).
Chairman Smith: “This legislation is vital to ensuring our small businesses have the technical understanding they need to keep their confidential business and customer information secure. I’d like to thank Congressman Webster for his leadership on this important issue. Small businesses frequently don’t have the expertise to adequately monitor and protect their computer systems, making them especially susceptible to crippling cyber-attacks. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s unique position as a global leader in cybersecurity knowledge and readiness provides the impetus for a public-private cybersecurity partnership to generate simplified guidance that small businesses can implement to increase their cyber resilience across the board.
“We must do everything we can to ensure our small businesses, which make up a substantial portion of our economy and employ almost four and a half million workers in my home state of Texas, have the necessary capabilities to protect themselves. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this crucial legislation passed and sent to the president’s desk quickly.”
Rep. Webster: “America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, accounting for more than half of all American jobs and a critical part of the job market in my district. As an owner of a multi-generational small business, I understand the importance of equipping and empowering small businesses to tackle challenges so they can grow and prosper. This bill will provide small businesses in my district, state and across the country with the tools they need to meet the threats and challenges of the modern world.”
On Feb. 14, the Research and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Strengthening U.S. Cybersecurity Capabilities.” Witness testimony included a review and discussion of recommendations provided by two recent reports, including the Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy, published by the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in December 2016. The Commission’s report specifically recommends that a presidential administration “develop concrete efforts to support and strengthen the cybersecurity of small and medium-sized businesses.” The report further notes that for some small businesses, “the security of their information, systems, and networks either is not their highest priority or is something they do not have the resources to address.”
The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 (15 U.S.C. 7421 et seq.) calls on NIST to facilitate and support a voluntary public-private partnership to reduce cybersecurity risks to critical infrastructure, including that of medium and small businesses.
Small businesses play a vital role in the economy of the United States, accounting for 54 percent of all U.S. sales and 55 percent of U.S. jobs. They are also a major target of cyberattacks, which are particularly harmful to them as 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack are out of business within six months.
H.R. 2105 is the House companion bill to S.770, which was favorably reported by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on April 5.
The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017:
directs the NIST Director, in consultation with heads of other federal agencies, to disseminate clear and concise guidelines, tools, best practices, standards and methodologies, based on the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, to help small businesses identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks, within a year of the Act’s enactment;
clarifies that use of such guidance by small businesses is voluntary;
directs the NIST director and heads of federal agencies that so elect to make the guidance available on their government websites; and
specifies that funds to carry out this act are authorized out of existing spending.
Draft text of the bill can be found here.