Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith


Smith Statement on Changes to Cuba Policy


Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s announced policy changes regarding the U.S. and Cuba.     Congressman Smith:  “Alan Gross should never have been held prisoner by Cuba. I’m disappointed by the president’s announcement today. This continues a troubling trend of misguided foreign policy that does not make Americans safer, and that undermines our core values as an open and free democracy. The president’s policy rewards a dictator who has deprived the people of Cuba of their freedoms.” Read More

Smith Statement on Omnibus Appropriations Bill


Washington, D.C.  – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after voting against passage of a $1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill. Congressman Smith: “Like many of my colleagues, I would have preferred a bill that reduces spending, blocks the president’s unconstitutional executive orders granting amnesty, and increases border security. “Unfortunately, the bill before the House today did not meet these criteria and therefore I could not support it. “In the last election, the American people rejected the policies of this administration and the Democratic lock-down in the Senate. I look forward to the new Congress when we will be able to work on legislation that expands our economy, gets rid of the red tape that burdens American families, and secures our borders. I will continue working to put a stop to the president’s amnesty that punishes American workers and undermines our rule of law.” ### Read More

Chairman Smith Statement on Launch of Orion Spacecraft


House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released a statement following the launch of the Orion spacecraft from Cape Canaveral: Chairman Smith: “The Orion launch is a major milestone for U.S. space exploration and our efforts to travel further into our solar system than ever before. That is why I place the highest priority on ensuring NASA remains on budget and on schedule with the Space Launch System (SLS). “I’m extremely committed to the success of NASA’s Orion vehicle and SLS. The Science Committee will once more review the progress of these crucial systems at a hearing next week as part of ongoing oversight responsibilities.”  Read More

Smith Votes to Condemn President’s Executive Amnesty


Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after voting in support of H.R. 5759, Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act. Congressman Lamar Smith: “The president’s unilateral, unconstitutional executive actions granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants cannot go unanswered. Today’s vote represents the House’s condemnation of these actions. I urge Senate Majority Leader Reid to put aside his political considerations so that the legislative branch can respond in a unified way to the president’s blatant misuse of his executive authority.  “This is just the beginning of our commitment to restore the rule of law for all Americans. I remain committed to stopping these egregious actions from going into effect.” Read More

Smith Statement in Support of Texas-led Lawsuit Challenging Executive Amnesty


Washington, D.C.  – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released a statement of support today after Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect, Greg Abbott filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas that challenges President Obama’s recent immigration executive orders.  Congressman Smith: “The president’s unilateral, unconstitutional actions have real, negative impacts on Americans living in states like Texas. I commend Governor-elect Abbott and each of the 17 states bringing suit. They are taking serious steps to address the president’s serious misuse of executive branch authority. I also agree that the president’s actions will only serve to “exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border.” “The Constitution is not a technicality. It is the document that has preserved our freedoms for more than two centuries. In Congress, I remain committed to doing whatever is necessary to put a stop to these actions and restore our nation’s rule of law.” The 17 states bringing the suit include: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Read More

Smith Supports Tax Relief for Texans


Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after voting in support of a package of tax measures, H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act, that will prevent $45 Billion in tax increases from going into effect for the 2014 tax season. The package will mean relief for every one in six taxpayers. Congressman Smith: “As the steward of taxpayer dollars, Congress should always seek to return as much as possible to taxpayers’ pockets. This package will allow residents in states like Texas to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns. It will allow teachers to be reimbursed for expenses in their classrooms and encourage private sector industry to continue making crucial investments in research and development. These are common-sense measures that we will revisit in the next Congress when we address more permanent tax reform and simplification.”     Read More

Smith Hearing Shows Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Liquor, Lobbying and Parties


Congressman Lamar Smith, chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, today held a hearing to examine misuse of taxpayer dollars by the National Ecological Observatory Network Inc. (NEON), an environmental non-profit funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The group exploited lax NSF oversight to spend taxpayer dollars on unallowable expenses such as a $25,000 Christmas party, $1000 a month for premium coffee service, $112,000 for professional lobbying, as well as liquor for office happy hours and trips to a high-end resort in France.       Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Federal agencies must be held accountable for their waste and misuse of taxpayer funds.  And the NSF needs to be held accountable for how they spend taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. The basic responsibility of any government agency is to act in the national interest.  The NSF needs to meet that standard.” The NSF entered into a long-term agreement with NEON to develop and operate the project’s national network of fixed and mobile sensors. An audit by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) identified more than $150 million in unsupported or questionable costs in the NEON proposal.  It concluded that there was not a “fair and reasonable basis” for NSF to enter into a contract.  Nevertheless, NSF did not wait for the audit results.  It instead finalized an agreement based on NEON’s original cost proposal. Committee members questioned how the NSF managed to approve, without any change, a $433 million proposed construction budget for which the DCAA auditors found $150 million was unsupported or questionable. The NSF’s Inspector General testified that unallowable costs formed the basis for two fraud referrals that were ultimately sent to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for possible prosecution. But the DOJ declined to accept the case. Audits have also raised questions about cost proposals that were accepted by NSF for several major projects.  These include the Ocean Observatories Initiative, the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, NEON and, currently, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.  Read More

Smith to EPA: Scrap Outrageous Proposal


Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today submitted hundreds of pages of comments to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging the agency to scrap its costly rule to regulate emissions from existing electric power plants in the U.S. Today is the deadline to submit formal comments on the proposal. Chairman Smith: “This proposal is outrageous. Congress has not given the EPA the authority to re-write laws or discover new powers for the sake of expediency.  This proposal mocks our constitutional framework and subverts the rule of law. We have already spent too much time on a bad idea.  Scrap this proposal and come up with something workable.” The goal of the comments is to provide the EPA with critical information obtained by the Committee in exercising its jurisdictional responsibilities. Over the past few months, the Committee has held several hearings focused on the technical and scientific issues underpinning this proposal.  All regulations must have a sound scientific basis. The Science Committee’s comments highlight questions related to the technical, scientific and policy underpinnings of the proposal.  Chairman Smith’s letter states that until these deficiencies are addressed and adequate peer review is undertaken, the EPA stands in default.   The copy of Chairman Smith’s cover letter to the formal comments can be found here. Read More

Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers


Under the president’s new amnesty, businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare. President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges. Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover. The loophole was confirmed by congressional aides and drew condemnation from those who said it put illegal immigrants ahead of Americans in the job market. “If it is true that the president’s actions give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire those who came here illegally, he has added insult to injury,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican. “The president’s actions would have just moved those who came here illegally to the front of the line, ahead of unemployed and underemployed Americans.” A Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that the newly legalized immigrants won’t have access to Obamacare, which opens up the loophole for employers looking to avoid the penalty. The Health and Human Services Department, which oversees Obamacare, referred questions to the White House, which didn’t reply to a request for comment. But Mr. Obama, traveling in Chicago Tuesday to defend his immigration plans, said his moves would boost the economy and vowed they wouldn’t hurt American workers’ wages. “Immigrants are good for the economy. We keep on hearing that they’re bad, but a report by my Council of Economic Advisers put out last week shows how the actions we’re taking will grow our economy for everybody,” he said. This isn’t the first time the Obamacare loophole has popped up on immigration. The overhaul bill that passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote last year created the same situation, granting illegal immigrants a long probationary period where they could legally work but weren’t eligible for public benefits such as Obamacare. At the time, Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of the bill’s GOP authors, acknowledged the problem and vowed to change it before it became law. Despite passing the Senate, the bill has stalled, with Democratic leaders refusing to send it to the House for further action. Brian Rogers, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, said Tuesday the solution to the loophole is to get rid of Obamacare’s employer mandate, “which would eliminate the incentive to hire people who are ineligible for Obamacare subsidies.” Mr. Rogers said the Republican majority that takes control of Congress next year should vote on that proposal. Under Obamacare, businesses with 50 or more employees are supposed to provide insurance coverage to their full-time workers. If they refuse, they are assessed a penalty for every employee who receives subsidies to sign up for coverage on the health exchanges. But because the newly legalized illegal immigrants covered by Mr. Obama’s order can’t sign up for the exchanges or receive subsidies, employers aren’t penalized for hiring them. Employers take notice Some employers have already taken notice, and Dennis Michael Lynch, a documentary filmmaker, raised the issue on political strategist Dick Morris’s radio show in Philadelphia over the weekend. “The dimensions of this problem are enormous. One wonders if any of Obama’s crew spotted it during the run-up to his executive order. It is hard to imagine former President Clinton failing to notice such a conflict between his two major programs,” Mr. Morris said in an op-ed Tuesday in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. The Obama administration has delayed the employer mandate penalty for some businesses, but it is slated to take full effect in a year. The public is split on Mr. Obama’s latest immigration move. A new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday showed slightly more people opposed the president taking unilateral action than supported him. Just as striking, however, is that overall support for illegal immigrants in America is at an all-time low in the Quinnipiac survey, with 35 percent now saying they should all be pushed out of the country — up from 26 percent just a year ago. Mr. Obama created the Obamacare loophole incentive in a 2012 Homeland Security decision. Until August of that year, those granted “deferred action” — the power Mr. Obama also used in his new temporary amnesty — were eligible for public benefits, including Obamacare. But just two months earlier, Mr. Obama had announced a massive expansion of deferred action for hundreds of thousands of “dreamers,” or young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and in order to prevent them from getting public benefits, Homeland Security officials issued a new policy giving the dreamers a new category of legal status that left them outside of Obamacare. Immigrant rights groups protested the move at the time, arguing it left the newly legal dreamers without coverage. The National Immigration Law Center said excluding dreamers from Obamacare amounted to discrimination against tax-paying immigrants who are following the rules, and set up a new second-class status for some immigrants. The NILC didn’t respond to a request for comment on Mr. Obama’s latest move. Read More

Smith Congratulates Student Launch Challenge Teams


Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement congratulating students chosen from around the country to participate in the 2014-2015 NASA Student Launch Challenge: Chairman Smith: “Congratulations to the students chosen to participate in this competition. NASA’s education and public outreach is an important element of STEM education. These are the students we must inspire to pursue STEM careers so they can help us blaze the trail to the next frontier. NASA has selected eight teams from middle and high schools across the country to participate in the 2014-2015 NASA Student Launch Challenge, April 7-12, organized by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Student Launch Challenge engages students in a research-based, experiential exploration activity. Teams participating in the challenge must design, build and launch a reusable rocket, with a scientific or engineering payload, capable of reaching an altitude of one mile. The 2014-2015 middle and high school teams who will compete are: Durham Area Rocketry, Durham, North Carolina Krueger Middle School, San Antonio, Texas Madison West High School (Land Imaging), Madison, Wisconsin Madison West High School (Muons), Madison, Wisconsin Plantation High School, Plantation, Florida Spring Grove High School, Spring Grove, Pennsylvania St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Akron, Ohio Victory Christian Center School, Charlotte, North Carolina NASA Student Launch is open to middle and high school students, and university and college students. The program is intended to advance education in science, technology, engineering and math and expose students to careers in aeronautics and aerospace. ### Read More

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Contact Information

2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4236
Fax 202-225-8628

Lamar Smith represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas.

He serves as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over programs at NASA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Committee oversees agency budgets of $39 billion, where the primary focus is on research and development.

Congressman Smith continues to serve on both the Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee. He is a former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Ethics Committee.

In the last Congress, Congressman Smith was named Policymaker of the Year by POLITICO for his work on patent reform legislation.

A fifth generation Texan and native of San Antonio, Congressman Smith graduated from Yale University and Southern Methodist University School of Law. He and his wife, Beth, have an adult daughter and son.

The 21st Congressional District includes parts of Bexar, Travis, Comal and Hays Counties and all of Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr and Real Counties. The district’s population is about 700,000.  Congressman Smith maintains district offices in San Antonio, Austin and Kerrville.

Serving With

Louie Gohmert


Ted Poe


Sam Johnson


Ralph Hall


Jeb Hensarling


Joe Barton


John Culberson


Kevin Brady


Michael McCaul


Michael Conaway


Kay Granger


Mac Thornberry


Randy Weber


Bill Flores


Randy Neugebauer


Pete Olson


Kenny Marchant


Roger Williams


Michael Burgess


Blake Farenthold


John Carter


Pete Sessions


Steve Stockman


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