“You can get bitten by a tick year-round,” said Patricia Smith, president of the Wall-based Lyme Disease Association. “Unfortunately, now we know the ticks can be active when it’s above freezing.”
The debate surrounding the most infamous tick-borne illness also doesn’t seem to be ending.
Lyme disease affects nearly 400,000 people per year in the U.S., and New Jersey has the second-most diagnosed cases (after Pennsylvania). For many who are diagnosed promptly, the standard month-long course of antibiotics mitigates the illness. But detection is difficult, and for thousands of folks, the symptoms can continue for months or years.
To date, the influential Infectious Diseases Society of America has declined to recognize chronic Lyme in its clinical practice guidelines. Chronic Lyme advocates say that omission has caused a domino effect of needless suffering.
Last winter, those advocates scored a victory when Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which established a national working group on Lyme disease. In June, however, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it does not recommend prolonged antibiotic therapy — treatment considered vital by the chronic Lyme community.
“This is completely outrageous,” said Smith, who helped author the language in the 21st Century Cures Act. “We thought we were making some progress and they come in slamming the doors. When the CDC says, ‘We do not recommend,’ that’s tantamount to the kiss of death for patients.”
Nearly 400,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Lyme disease (Photo: File photo)
Smith said the Lyme Disease Association — a national nonprofit that in May was commended by the New Jersey Legislature “for its outstanding dedication and commitment” — will be urging U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-4th) to push back against the CDC’s pronouncement.
Chris Smith (no relation to Patricia Smith) was the driving force behind Lyme disease’s inclusion in the 21st Century Cures Act.
“We’ll be asking for a congressional investigation into this,” Pat Smith said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is taking nominations for the Lyme working group. The window for nominations closes Aug. 16.
“We are very concerned,” Pat Smith said about the composition of the group, which is supposed to be a mix of patients, advocates, researchers and treating physicians. “We want to make sure that people who are knowledgeable about chronic Lyme disease get appointed.”
Once established, one issue for the group to address is the standard testing for Lyme disease as recommended by the CDC. Lyme is notoriously difficult to detect; Pat Smith calls the current testing “archaic” and “unreliable.”
Another concern, Pat Smith said, is the life-threatening tick-borne disease Powassan. Over the past decade, 75 cases have been reported in the U.S. and the frequency is rising. There is no treatment.
“It has a 10 percent or more fatality rate,” Smith said. “Even those who survive, 50 percent of them can have severe neurological complications that can be permanent. They are not huge numbers (of cases), but we’re seeing more, and with that kind of fatality rate it’s a significant concern.”
Rep. Chris Smith (right) at a Lyme disease press conference in Wall in 2013
Pat Smith’s 7 tips to Lyme disease prevention
1. Cover up: “You should be properly dressed when you’re going into areas where you think you’ll encounter a high amount of ticks. Long sleeves, long pants and always have your pants tucked into your socks. Ticks tend to climb up.”
2. Wear light-colored clothing: “This way you can see them. Ticks don’t get on you and immediately take a bite. They amble, looking for somewhere to bite.”
3. Spray yourself and your clothes: “There are DEET-based sprays for your skin. There are products for clothes that are Permethrin-based. Don’t put them on your clothes while your clothes are on you. Lay out your clothes and spray them. You can also buy clothes that are already pre-treated. If you’re a hiker or jogger, you can get clothes that are pre-treated for that. The military uses the same kinds of pre-treatment for their uniforms.”
5. Dry your clothes before washing: “If you’re somebody who gardens or hikes and is worried about bringing ticks in on your clothes, throw them in the dryer for 30 minutes. That will kill the ticks. Washing in the washing machine first doesn’t kill the ticks. Those suckers survive everything. Showering is OK, but if a tick has attached itself, that’s not going to wash the tick off.”
6. Manage your outdoor property: “If you keep a well-maintained lawn, most ticks are not going to be in that lawn for very long. Cut your lawn and rake it. They can’t stand to be out in the sun. They get dehydrated. If people have swing sets, they should put them in sunny areas. Do not put them in shady areas. If you get property treatment, get perimeter treatment. Don’t arbitrarily spray the lawn up. Spray along the edge. And leaf piles, get rid of those. Ticks definitely hide under there. That’s often where they winter. If you have wood piles or bird feeders, keep them further from your home.”
7. Remove ticks from your body with great care: “Never put a hot match to it or try to burn it off. No gasoline, Vaseline or nail polish remover, or any kind of substance. The reason being if you irritate the tick, it will inject into you anything that it has. If it gets irritated, it regurgitates. Take the tweezers as close to your skin as possible and pull the tick straight out. Don’t twist the tick, don’t squeeze the tick. This is very important. Improper tick removal can greatly increase the risk of infection.”
For more information on tick-borne diseases, visit Lyme Disease Association, Inc. at www.lymediseaseassociation.org or call 888-366-6611.
Here is a county-by-county breakdown of New Jersey’s Lyme disease cases reported by the CDC in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Burlington 258 tie
Somerset 258 tie
Cape May 27
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) released the following statement on the events that took place in Charlottesville, VA:
White supremacists, including the KKK and neo-Nazis, are consumed by racism, hate and bigotry and are extremely dangerous. History has shown us the horror that results when individuals and entire groups of people are dehumanized. We must commit to ensuring that hate-filled violence is never again ignored or tolerated. As the nation mourns the tragic loss of Heather Heyer, the white supremacist responsible for that heinous crime must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.### Read More
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, today praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for highlighting the ongoing genocide of Christians, Yezidis and minority Muslims at the hands of ISIS in the “International Religious Freedom Report.”
In the preface of the report, released this morning, Tillerson says, “ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled.”
“I want to commend Secretary Tillerson for focusing on those who have been victims of genocide,” said Smith. “These groups are looking for help and leadership, and I am proud that after eight years of denial and foot dragging, this report positions the United States to become a world leader in helping those who need it most.”
“The report rightly shows that China’s religious freedom conditions are among the world’s worst. The Chinese government is an equal opportunity abuser of the rights of Protestants, Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims and Falun Gong practitioners—all who face imprisonment and torture for practicing their faith.”
Smith added, “Through highlighting the atrocious state of religious freedom in places like Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria—with individuals who simply want to worship in peace being beaten, jailed, tortured or worse—this report is a step in the right direction. The more difficult step will be to place these countries or non-state actors like ISIS and Boko Haram on the U.S. blacklist of severe religious freedom violators. Such designations could include sanctions.”
Last Congress, Smith was the prime author of the bipartisan Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (P.L. 114-281), which was signed into law last December. Smith’s law gives the State Department more tools and training to address genocide and religious freedom abuses globally. The legislation also requires subsequent reports to be issued on May 1st each year, so that information about the previous year’s country conditions are up to date.
The legislation also requires annual designations of countries as “Countries of Particular Concern” for religious freedom abuses and created a new designation called the “Entity of Particular Concern” that targets non-state actors complicit in genocide or religious persecution. More information on the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act can be found here.
“The report is an important tool in identifying problems worldwide—but it is just a start. We must take action on what is found in the report,” said Smith. To that end, Smith authored H.R. 390, the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act—legislation that passed the House in June yet awaits action in the Senate.
“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to bring up and pass H.R. 390 without delay. The victims of genocide highlighted in this report depend on it,” said Smith.
Among other key provisions, H.R. 390 authorizes funds for entities that have proven to be effective in providing humanitarian aid on-the-ground to genocide survivors from religious and ethnic minorities, along with several other key provisions. More info on H.R. 390 can be found here.
The International Religious Freedom Report is a yearly report to highlight religious freedom issues worldwide and was created by the International Religious Freedom Act 1998. This year’s report can be found here.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), received the prestigious Wei Jingsheng Foundation’s Human Rights and Freedom Defender award for, “his decades-long devotion and effort to improve human rights and freedom all over the world, especially in China.”
In presenting the award, Wei, who spent 18 years in Chinese prisons for advancing democracy and human rights, described Smith as a, “very tough, very honest and very passionate politician.”
“We’ve talked openly and honestly and I am very sure he is a person who will support democracy and human rights in China,” Wei continued. Wei expressed the appreciation of the Chinese people for Smith’s work in assisting Chinese human rights defenders in their struggle to free the people from the oppressive Communist regime.
Smith first met Wei in Beijing in 1994.
“On a human rights trip to China in 1994, Wei Jingsheng and I met in Beijing. Despite gross mistreatment and torture, he was strong, resilient and tenacious,” said Smith.
“Wei was very blunt about the impact our voice had during his imprisonment,” Smith continued. “He said that when the U.S. agreed to China’s demands—when we were weak, timid, indifferent and kowtowing to the dictatorship—his jailers beat him and other political prisoners more. But when the U.S. took a firm and public stance, making human rights a priority, his jailers beat him and others less. He made it clear that human rights must be linked to trade.
“The message was clear: never be silent about abuses in China because silence equals more torture—even death—for prisoners of conscience.”
The event, co-sponsored by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation, the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress, Freedom House and others, also featured remarks from Maria José de Sousa Fialho, Minister Counsellor at the European Parliament Liaison Office U.S. Congress, as well as Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at the event.
“What an honor it is to be in the presence of Wei Jingsheng,” said Pelosi. “A hero to the world.”
“Chris Smith, for a long time, has persisted in his call for freedom and respect—and human rights in China. His most recent courage was seen in his fight to free Liu Xiaobo. He is relentless, he is creative. He uses every avenue at his disposal to demonstrate that he respects the dignity and worth of every person. I feel very honored to be able to sing his praises with all of you, in the presence of Wei,” Pelosi said.
“I won the award last year,” she concluded. “But for Chris Smith, there is a much bigger room.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) released the following statement concerning Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s July 28th comments on genocide:
“Thank you to Secretary Tillerson for designating the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis and other minorities genocide. He looked at the facts on the ground and had the intellectual honesty and compassion to tell it like it is.”
Tillerson's comments were first reported in the Washington Free Beacon.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), author of the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (P.L 113-150), introduced an innovative new bill that will automatically remove tariff benefits for countries that are found to be out of compliance in returning children home—the “Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017.”
“Bindu Philips fought valiantly in India for over eight years for the return of her abducted twin sons, only to be given the incessant delays in India’s courts and little support from the Obama Administration,” said Smith, Chair of the House panel on global human rights. “Just recently, she was finally granted a short visit with her children in India, but the children’s father marred the time with harassment and monitoring, refusing to let the children and mother leave a hotel for 7 days.
“Devon Davenport has had a return order for his daughter, Nadia, from Brazil since 2009. He has won every single one of the 24 appeals against the order—but Brazil still will not enforce its own return order.
“Shockingly, 11 of the 13 countries found to be non-compliant in the annual Goldman Report by the U.S. State Department in the return of abducted American children are still receiving billions of dollars in tariff exemptions under the Generalized System of Preferences. We must cease rewarding countries that aid abductors. When is enough finally enough?”
In 2016, 629 American children were taken from the United States by one parent without the consent of the other, often in direct violation of valid United States court orders, United States criminal law and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Obama Administration’s refusal to apply sanctions against countries that fail to return abducted children has led to a rate of return of only 16%.
“For years, the U.S. government response to abductions has been an engraved invitation to abductors,” said Smith. “Abductors have an 84% chance of no penalty for ripping their child from home and family in the United States. It is my hope and expectation that this year, the State Department will begin to act more decisively on behalf of American families so that more children come home.”
The new bill amends the Generalized System of Preferences, a trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world through duty free entry for some products, so that any country named as non-compliant in the prompted resolutions of abductions would lose trade benefits granted by the United States. The new legislation ensures that the loss of trade preference would be automatic and not dependent on the Executive Branch applying sanctions.
Abducted children in a foreign country are often blocked from any contact with the American parent, losing half of their family and heritage. Such children are also at grave risk of serious emotional and psychological problems. Many such children experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, aggressive behavior, resentment and fear. Every day the abduction continues only compounds these harms.
Today, the full House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance a resolution, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), highlighting the human rights violations of the Ethiopian government, and offering a blueprint to create a government better designed to serve the interests of the Ethiopian people.
The resolution, which passed without objection, also calls on the U.S. government to implement Magnitsky Act sanctions, targeting the individuals within the Ethiopian government who are the cause of the horrific abuses.
The State Department’s current human rights report on Ethiopia notes, “[t]he most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs.”
“H. Res. 128, is like a mirror held up to the Government of Ethiopia on how others see them, and it is intended to encourage them to move on the reforms they agree they need to enact,” said Smith, Chair of the House panel on Africa. “For the past 12 years, my staff and I have visited Ethiopia, spoken with Ethiopian officials, talked to a wide variety of members of the Ethiopia Diaspora and discussed the situation in Ethiopia with advocates and victims of government human rights violations. Our efforts are not a response merely to government critics, but rather a realistic assessment of the urgent need to end very damaging and in some cases inexcusable actions by the government or those who act as their agents.”
H. Res. 128, entitled “Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia,” condemns the human rights abuses of Ethiopia and calls on the Ethiopian government to:
“It is important to note that this resolution does not call for sanctions on the Government of Ethiopia, but it does call for the use of existing mechanisms to sanction individuals who torture or otherwise deny their countrymen their human and civil rights,” said Smith.
Smith has chaired three hearings on Ethiopia, the most recent of which looked into the deterioration of the human rights situation in Ethiopia and was titled “Ethiopia After Meles: The Future of Democracy and Human Rights.”
Today, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the House panel on global health, applauded the passage of legislation he co-sponsored, the “Medicare Part B Improvement Act” (H.R. 3178). The legislation, authored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), will now move to the Senate for further action.
“Last Congress we passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which expanded Medicare coverage to include home infusion therapy,” said Smith, who has supported expanded coverage of home infusion therapy in numerous congressional sessions. “This bill builds upon and strengthens those provisions. Infusion therapy is very demanding, with the course of treatment often lasting several hours per day over a six-to-eight week period. For those receiving treatment—who are often gravely ill—commuting on a daily basis to receive treatment can be incredibly cumbersome. Coverage of in-home service will ensure that Medicare best serves the needs of its beneficiaries and avoids unnecessary costs associated with institutional settings.”
H.R. 3178 has four main provisions. The legislation will:
· Improve provisions of home infusion therapy, closing a donut hole in coverage from 2017 to 2021 that may appear due to earlier changes;
· Improve patient access to dialysis services, specifically allowing access to an outside agency to participate in dialysis—a program currently available for most Medicare services;
· Improve application of Stark Rules, physician self-referral laws meant to prevent financial interests from interfering with clinical decisions;
· Ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to medically necessary prosthetics and orthotics.
Smith has a long history of fighting for Medicare improvements. In 2004 Smith successfully pressed to include three N.J. counties in the New York City Metropolitan Statistical Area, increasing funding by more than $110 million. More recently, in 2015, Smith’s HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act was introduced to provide Medicare coverage for a care planning session for patients newly-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Much of Smith’s legislation was adopted by Medicare.
Obama-era benchmarks for human rights progress are still missing
The announcement last week by the Trump administration that it is delaying the Obama administration’s order to ease sanctions on Sudan was a welcome decision. The three-month delay is not long enough to give the Sudanese the impression that we are not serious about this matter, but will be long enough to complete the needed and ongoing review of that government’s adherence to the requirements of sanctions-easing.
When the previous administration announced the plan to ease sanctions last year, it came without prior consultation with Congress, a body that has played a key role in U.S.-Sudan relations for more than three decades. In 1996, I co-chaired a hearing with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on slavery in Mauritania and Sudan. We both lamented that at that late date we were still examining the existence of slavery, an action that should have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Twadell described an appalling attempt by the government in Khartoum to “subjugate opposition wherever it is found” — including the taking of slaves by the army of Sudan or forces under its control. A few years later, the Sudan government and its forces were no longer enslaving Sudanese citizens, but continued to terrorize them.
Our government, led by Congress, has continued to play a role in supporting diplomatic efforts to end the long North-South civil war and set the stage for independence for South Sudan in 2011. Over the years, Congress has discussed with various administrations the prospect of easing sanctions as a reward for proven democratic progress by the Republic of Sudan.
Unfortunately, that government has met these efforts not with cooperation but with further provocations. For example, the Sudanese government facilitated attacks on the people of Darfur by the Janjaweed militias; the attacks were declared genocide by our government in 2004. Subsequent attacks on people in the Abyei area by Misseryia Arabs drove thousands to flee as refugees. Repeated bombings in the Nuba Mountains have prevented normal life for people there, and intimidation reportedly continues with overflights, if not actual bombing.
The Obama administration set five conditions for easing sanctions that would allow American companies to engage in commerce freely in Sudan: 1) rebuilding counterterrorism cooperation; 2) countering the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army; 3) ending “negative involvement” in South Sudan’s conflict; 4) sustaining a unilateral cessation of hostilities in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile Provinces; and 5) improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan.
The major missing point is the defense of human rights. The current Department of State human rights report describes Sudan as “a republic with power concentrated in the hands of authoritarian President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his inner circle.” The report went on to state that in the period before the April 2015 national elections, “security forces arrested many supporters, members and leaders of boycotting parties and confiscated numerous newspapers,” conditions creating a repressive environment not conducive to free and fair elections.
The State Department report further cited the National Intelligence and Security Service of perpetrating “a pattern of widespread disregard for rule of law, committing major abuses, such as extrajudicial and other unlawful killings; torture, beatings, rape and other cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment; arbitrary arrest and detention by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; incommunicado detention; prolonged pretrial detention; obstruction of humanitarian assistance; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion and movement and intimidation and closure of human rights and nongovernmental organizations.”
Former Secretary of State John Kerry has been a proponent of easing sanctions on Sudan since his days as a U.S. senator. Yet few observers are certain that the conditions he saw being met by the Sudan government have indeed fully been implemented. The current administration’s delay allows for further investigation and, hopefully, benchmarks for progress. This will benefit both the U.S. and Sudanese governments as both sides can quantify the status of progress.
Providing incentives for Sudan to make democratic progress is reasonable, but only if there is a framework to certify that Sudan is indeed making the promised reforms and that both sides can transparently track any progress being made. Otherwise, we are left with a vague process that will disappoint both governments, but most of all, the people of Sudan.
• Chris Smith is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey.
Today, with the support of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the U.S. House of Representatives passed a broad bill designed to sanction three key bad actors on the world stage. The legislation, entitled, “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (H.R. 3364), is an enhanced version of legislation that passed the Senate 98-2 last month, and gives the U.S. Congress more diplomatic tools to use against Iran, Russia and North Korea.
“When foreign nations are supplying arms to our enemies, egregiously abusing human rights and using nefarious digital attacks in an attempt to undermine democratic elections—including here in the United States—the stakes could hardly be higher,” said Smith, Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, on the House Floor. Click Here to Read Smith’s Full Statement.
“Iran possesses the largest ballistic missile program in the region and its medium-range ballistic missiles are already able to strike Israel, our allies and installations in the Gulf from deep within Iranian territory,” said Smith, a co-Sponsor of the bill. “Iran’s growing space launch program—a thinly-veiled testing scheme for intercontinental ballistic missiles—is cause for greater alarm still. This legislation provides crucial tools and I support it wholeheartedly.”
The legislation, which began as a sanctions bill against Iran before growing to encompass Russia and North Korea, was drafted in response to the Obama Administration’s failed nuclear deal, which gave Iran billions of dollars in sanction relief. Since receiving these funds, research from the House Foreign Affairs Committee has found that the Iranian government continues its support for Hezbollah, the Assad regime and other regional proxies.
In 2015, during the House debate on the Iran Nuclear deal, Smith noted the need for increased sanctions against Iran, calling on Congress to “[r]einstate comprehensive, robust sanctions.” Earlier this year, Smith praised the Trump Administration for implementing new sanctions, putting Iran on notice for their aggressive military actions.
“Putin’s government has moved from threats to aggressive action against our friends—including Ukraine, allies and innocent civilians abroad. And it did so long ago, when it invaded Georgia in 2008. I was there, in Tbilisi, several weeks after that invasion began, to work to secure the exit of two young children, constituents of mine, trapped behind Russian lines in South Ossetia. I will never forget the quiet courage of the Georgian people in Tbilisi—not entirely surprised by Putin’s invasion, they were too wise for that—uncertain whether the Russian army would proceed to Tbilisi, and determined to soldier on in defense of their country,” said Smith.
Smith also added, “I am glad to see sanctions against Russia, created in part for its aggressive actions in Ukraine, codified by the U.S. Congress.”
In documentation supporting the legislation, the Committee also noted that Russia has provided material and other support to the Assad regime, and indiscriminately bombed civilians in a civil war that has killed or displaced millions. In addition, the Russian state has repeatedly conducted cyberattacks against democratic states with designs to splinter the NATO alliance.
“North Korea is a gulag masquerading as a country; we must cut off all economic lifelines to Kim Jong-un and punish Pyongyang's clients and its enablers. With hundreds of thousands of North Korean laborers abroad—sending as much as $2 billion a year back to the regime in hard currency—we should look at targeting this expatriate labor and the governments and corporations that employ them. Loopholes in our sanctions on North Korea’s shipping and financial sectors must be closed. And when we discover that foreign banks have helped Kim Jong-un skirt sanctions—as those in China have repeatedly done—we must give those banks and businesses a stark choice: do business with Kim Jong-un or the U.S.,” said Smith.
CNN has reported that since the month of February the North Korean regime has launched 17 missiles, including its first successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with the range to strike the lower 48 states, with more tests likely to come soon. The sanctions in this bill will help cut off the funds used to design and build these missiles.
2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.
Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.
According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.
He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.
Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.
The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.
The violence triggered by the deplorable white nationalist rally is outrageous. We must recommit to peace, reconciliation and nonviolence
HR873 helps recognize the sacrifices of our vets who served in the War on Terror. Proud to co-sponsor and help it pass in the House.