Science, Space, and Technology

Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Subcommittee on Oversight Hearing - Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity: Assessing the Risk of Kaspersky Lab Products to the Federal Government

2017/10/25

Hearing charter Witnesses: Ms. Donna Dodson, associate director and chief cybersecurity advisor, Information Technology Laboratory; chief cybersecurity advisor, National Institute of Standards and Technology Mr. David Shive, chief information officer, U.S. General Services Administration Mr. James Norton, president, Play-Action Strategies LLC; adjunct professor, Johns Hopkins University Mr. Sean Kanuck, director, Future Conflict and Cyber Security, International Institute for Strategic Studies Read More

Subcommittee on Research & Technology and Subcommittee on Energy Hearing - American Leadership in Quantum Technology

2017/10/24

Hearing charter Witnesses: Panel 1: Dr. Carl J. Williams, acting director, Physical Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology Dr. Jim Kurose, assistant director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, National Science Foundation Dr. John Stephen Binkley, acting director of science, U.S. Department of Energy Panel 2: Dr. Scott Crowder, vice president and chief technology officer for quantum computing, IBM Systems Group Dr. Christopher Monroe, distinguished university professor & Bice Zorn Professor, Department of Physics, University of Maryland; founder and chief scientist, IonQ, Inc. Dr. Supratik Guha, director, Nanoscience and Technology Division, Argonne National Laboratory; professor, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago Read More

Smith Announces Departure of SST Committee Chief of Staff, Names Successor

2017/10/12

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today announced that Jennifer Y. Brown will depart as committee chief of staff, and that Mark Marin, the committee’s current deputy chief of staff, will succeed her. “For more than 28 years, Jennifer has helped me represent the residents of the 21st District of Texas and, more recently, helped the Science Committee enact numerous policies that benefit the American people,” Smith said. “Jennifer started working in my personal office after she graduated from the University of Colorado. She held five different positions, including chief of staff, in my personal office before serving jointly as the chief in both my personal office and on the Science Committee and then becoming the full-time Committee chief of staff in 2016. Her talents and skills are many. She has mastered the difficult art of multitasking – no one does it better.” Brown will remain in Washington and manage federal affairs for the Texas Tech University System. “Mark Marin is superbly qualified to take over the reins of the Science Committee,” Smith said. “He is a dedicated professional who brings a wealth of expertise to his new position.”  Read More

SST Committee Probes Scientific Integrity of EPA IRIS Program

2017/10/12

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Subcommittee on Environment Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting a briefing, documents and information on the operational and scientific integrity of the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program within the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. The letter states: The Committee is concerned about persistent issues regarding the difficulty to correct IRIS assessments that appear to use low-quality science to justify results.  Moreover, it appears a troubling pattern has emerged with regard to the IRIS program in which credible scientific evidence is disregarded when amendments and corrections are requested for assessments.  Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the merit of IRIS assessments completed prior to EPA adopting NAS-recommended reforms to its processes and science. Failing to grant reviews of IRIS assessments that clearly rely upon low-quality data is an indication that EPA has ignored the best available science.  As IRIS determinations are important markers for understanding the risk of chemicals in the natural environment, this practice is unacceptable for an agency that is entrusted to protect the health of the American people.  We are all committed to establishing the highest level of scientific integrity, in which review and reassessment are integral parts.  Unfortunately, it appears that the IRIS program does not live up to these scientific ideals. Background On September 6, 2017, the Subcommittee on Environment and the Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing to examine the operational and scientific integrity of the EPA IRIS program that examined issues raised in reports from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Read More

Chairmen Smith and Biggs letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt on the IRIS program

2017/10/12

The letter can be found here. Read More

House Approves the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017

2017/10/11

WASHINGTON – The U.S House of Representatives today unanimously approved the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017 (H.R. 2763), sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce for the House Committee on Small Business. The bill includes amendments by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and Clay Higgins (R-La.). This legislation updates and strengthens the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Rep. Knight: “H.R 2763 is one step closer towards a more transparent and safe government. This bill would give the opportunity for America’s small businesses to participate in the national security needs for innovation in our country. Small businesses are essential to America’s economic competitiveness and industrial base. Supporting programs like SBIR and STTR is important for the safety and economic stability of our nation. These programs sponsor developments that allow us to compete in the international marketplace and provide innovative tools supported and created by local entrepreneurs that contribute to American security.” Chairman Smith: “Innovation is a critical component of small business success. The SBIR and STTR programs, through their $3 billion in annual awards to small businesses, spur many innovations and create thousands of jobs. This legislation updates these crucial programs. I thank Congressman Knight for taking the initiative on this issue." Rep. Hultgren: “A thriving manufacturing sector is vital to our economy, putting people to work and driving growth. Manufacturing facilities employ more than 27,000 workers across the 14th Congressional District of Illinois, which I represent, and stands as the largest share of Illinois’ GDP at 12.4 percent. The United States must continue to innovate manufacturing operations, techniques and specialized products to remain globally competitive. Making manufacturing innovation a high priority in the SBIR and STTR programs is just one way that Congress can take action to spur the manufacturing sector. I am pleased my amendment which requires federal agencies to give a high priority in the SBIR and STTR programs to small businesses that conduct manufacturing operations in the United States was included in this bill, and I commend the committee for its work in getting this bill to the House floor.” Rep. Higgins: “Some of the most innovative ideas and products for cyber warfare originate from American startups and small businesses. We need to harness that expertise to prevent, mitigate, and defend against cyberattacks. That’s why I am encouraged to see my amendment, which identifies cybersecurity as a priority field for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, included in this bill. I want to thank Chairman Smith and Congressman Knight for their leadership and work to pass H.R. 2763.” Background: H.R. 2763 was approved unanimously by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on June 22. H.R. 2763 was approved by the House Committee on Small Business on June 15 by a vote of 19-0. Text of the bill can be found here. Read More

House Approves the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act

2017/10/11

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously approved the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act (H.R. 2105), sponsored by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The legislation calls on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide small businesses with guidance to help them identify, assess, manage and reduce their cybersecurity risks. Rep. Webster: “Small businesses are especially vulnerable, with some reports noting that 43 percent of cyber-attacks specifically target. These small businesses are more susceptible to attacks due to the limited access to the tools they need to prepare for such an event. As the owner of a multi-generational small business, I know what small businesses can accomplish when equipped and empowered with the right tools. Recently, when my own business was attacked, I experienced the havoc a hacker can cause and the importance of cybersecurity. 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.” Chairman Smith: “Small businesses account for more than half of all U.S. jobs, including nearly four and a half million in my home state of Texas. While many small businesses do not have the expertise to protect their computer systems and confidential information, it is crucial to our economy and our citizens’ security that these businesses secure their data. Congressman Webster’s NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act helps achieve this goal by using NIST’s global cybersecurity expertise and requiring NIST to provide small businesses with guidance on identifying risks of cyber-attacks. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and it is appropriate that Congress consider legislation to protect small businesses from cybersecurity attacks.” Background: H.R. 2105 was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on May 2. S.770, which was approved by the Senate on September 28, is the companion bill to H.R. 2105. H.R. 2015 does the following: Directs the NIST director, in consultation with heads of other federal agencies, to disseminate within a year of the act’s enactment 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 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 Specifies that funds to carry out this act are authorized out of existing spending Text of the bill can be found here. Read More

Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing - NIST’s Physical Security Vulnerabilities: A GAO Undercover Review

2017/10/11

Hearing charter Opening Statements: Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) Full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) Witnesses: Ms. Lisa Casias, deputy assistant secretary for administration, U.S. Department of Commerce [Truth in Testimony] Dr. Kent Rochford, acting director, National Institute of Standards and Technology [Truth in Testimony] Mr. Seto Bagdoyan, director, Audit Services, Forensic Audits & Investigative Service, U.S. Government Accountability Office [Truth in Testimony] Read More

Smith Statement on Repeal of Clean Power Plan

2017/10/10

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the formal repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Chairman Smith: “Today's repeal of the so-called Clean Power Plan marks the next crucial step in a new era of transparency based on sound science. Through several hearings and oversight of the former administration's overregulation, the Science Committee revealed the faulty, one-sided calculations that the Obama administration employed to justify its Clean Power Plan. We have repeatedly found that the costs imposed on the American people vastly outweigh the rule’s marginal benefits. President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have reviewed the data and chosen to unburden our citizens rather than perpetuate a politically motivated rule that would result in minimal environmental benefits. Our nation can now move forward and develop smart, transparent policies that carry out President Trump’s America First energy strategy and relieve the American people of undue burdens.” Background: On April 28, 2017, Chairman Smith issued a statement in support of the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision to suspend the lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan. On March 28, 2017, Chairman Smith praised President Trump’s American Energy Independence Executive Order that rescinded the Social Cost of Carbon, directed EPA to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, and repealed EPA’s methane rule. On February 28, 2017, the Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing titled At What Cost? Examining the Social Cost of Carbon to examine the previous administration’s use of the Social Cost of Carbon to inflate the benefits of rules such as the Clean Power Plan. On February 7, 2017, the Science Committee held a hearing titled Making EPA Great Again to hear from experts regarding how the Trump administration’s EPA could address issues with the lack of science in agency rulemaking, such as in the Clean Power Plan.  August 2, 2016: Chairman Smith: Dear EPA, stop acting like a bully and start following the rule of law (Fox News, Opinion) On June 22, 2016, the Science Committee held a hearing titled Ensuring Sound Science at EPA to examine the science behind EPA’s regulatory activities, including the Clean Power Plan. On June 14, 2016, House Republican leaders, including Chairman Smith, rolled out a plan for the economy that addressed how the Republican party can work together to reduce regulatory burdens at EPA and other federal agencies. On May 26, 2016, the Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing titled Impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on States. April 22, 2016: Chairman Smith: [President Obama’s] Climate-Change Agenda Will Cost American Families (National Review, Opinion) On February 23, 2016, Chairman Smith joined more than 200 colleagues in both the House and Senate to file an amicus brief supporting petitions filed by 27 states seeking to overturn the Clean Power Plan. On September 11, 2015, the Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing titled State Perspectives: How EPA’s Power Plan Will Shut Down Power Plants. On July 9, 2015, the Science Committee held a hearing titled Examining EPA’s Regulatory Overreach to receive testimony from former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the Obama-era EPA’s regulatory agenda. On June 24, 2015, the Science Committee held a hearing titled U.S. Energy Information Administration Report: Analysis of the Impacts of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to examine the EIA’s analysis, requested by Chairman Smith, of the Clean Power Plan’s impacts. On June 4, 2015, the Science Committee held a hearing titled EPA Regulatory Overreach: Impacts on American Competitiveness to examine the Obama-era EPA’s lack of scientific and technical justification for regulations, including the Clean Power Plan, and their impact on American competitiveness.  Read More

SST Committee Investigates Virginia Tech Professor’s Defrauding of NSF, DOE and Virginia Tech

2017/10/05

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands requesting documents and information related to the recent arrest of a Virginia Tech professor for defrauding the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the university itself. The committee asked Dr. Sands for information on federal grants or monetary awards to the professor, documents related to the FBI’s investigation of the matter, and any documents or communication related to the university’s response to the alleged criminal activity. The letter states in part: In light of the highly competitive nature of government funding, the Committee is interested in understanding all the facts surrounding this case, what steps the University has undertaken to uncover the extent of the wrongdoing, and what safeguards Virginia Tech has in place to mitigate similar cases in the future. Since February 2013, [the professor] and Cell-Free Bioinnovations Inc. (CFB), the company associated with the recipients of the federal funding, have received five awards totaling in excess of $1,100,000. The largest, a March 2016 award of $584,083, contained numerous “false statements [to NSF] concerning time and effort reporting.” Other awards were found to be in direct violation of requirements of the NSF and DOE small business funding programs… The Committee takes seriously violations of grant preconditions and any attempts to defraud the federal government and the American taxpayers. The committee’s letter to Virginia Tech can be found here. The committee has jurisdiction over environmental and scientific research and development programs, including specific legislative jurisdiction over the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer funding programs, which the professor is accused of defrauding. Read More

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Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

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