Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Smith: Not a Funding Problem, an Enforcement Problem

2014/07/08

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s request for $3.7 billion additional taxpayer dollars for immigration efforts. Congressman Smith: “This isn’t a funding problem, it’s an enforcement problem. Rather than enforce our nation’s immigration laws, the President has chosen to ignore them. Instead, he continues to call for massive amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. “The President has no one to blame but himself for the current crisis on the Southern border. He granted amnesty to illegal immigrant minors by promising not to deport those brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. As a result, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are now flooding across the border. “I’d be happy to give the President $3.7 billion to secure the border if I thought he’d actually do it. But time and again President Obama has shown that he cares more about the interests of illegal immigrants than of law abiding citizens. “Congress shouldn’t give President Obama a single penny until we see him use the current resources to secure the border, increase interior enforcement, and reduce illegal immigration.” Read More

Smith: Amnesty is Not the Answer

2014/06/30

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s decision to pursue amnesty by executive action. Congressman Smith: “When it comes to the crisis on the border, President Obama has no one to blame but himself.  He is the one who promised amnesty to illegal immigrant minors already in the U.S.  As a result, tens of thousands of illegal immigrant minors are now flooding across the border.  Why are they coming? Because of the promise of legalization and amnesty that President Obama advocates. “It is laughable that President Obama now is trying to point the finger at House Republicans.  We’re the ones who have been calling for border security rather than amnesty.  The President insists that the Senate amnesty bill will improve our immigration system.  But amnesty is not the answer.  “As we’ve seen in the past, amnesty only encourages more illegal immigration.  We saw it after the ’86 amnesty.  Congress legalized three million illegal immigrants.  And what happened?  More illegal immigrants came to the U.S.  There are now 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., and an estimated seven million working here illegally.  “The Founders in Constitution gave Congress the right to establish immigration laws – not the President.  His job is to enforce the laws enacted by Congress.  We don’t need amnesty.  We need border security.  And we need a President who will enforce all of our nation’s immigration laws, not just a select few.  “If the President insists on enacting amnesty by executive order, he will undoubtedly face a lawsuit and will find himself, once again, on the wrong side of the Constitution and the law.” Read More

Smith: Hobby Lobby Decision a Victory for Religious Freedom

2014/06/30

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the Obamacare contraceptives mandate. Congressman Smith: “Today is a victory for religious freedom across America. The Supreme Court rightly affirmed that the Obama administration cannot require family-owned companies to provide a product or service in violation of their religious beliefs.  It upholds the idea that companies can have a conscience.  “There are many reasons to oppose Obamacare, but the contraceptives mandate strikes at the core of our constitutional rights – freedom of religion. The President believes that universal health care is a right; and he places it above the rights of employers to freely exercise their religious beliefs.  “But only one of these is a right guaranteed by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution.  The First Amendment prevents the government from establishing laws that prohibit the free exercise of religion.  This decision rejects the President’s overreach of authority and restores religious rights to the people.”  Under Obamacare, employers providing health insurance to employees must cover 20 forms of birth control, including the morning after pill, on their insurance plans. In 2012, Hobby Lobby challenged the regulation because of concerns regarding the morning after pill.  While Hobby Lobby already covers 16 forms of contraception in their health insurance plans, they decline to cover those that can destroy an embryo, which violates some churches’ doctrine on the sanctity of life. Hobby Lobby is not alone in its concerns.  More than 90 cases were filed representing 300 plaintiffs challenging Obamacare’s “contraceptives mandate.”  Congressman Smith joined in several amicus briefs supporting the company’s right to exercise freedom of religion. Read More

Smith Commends Supreme Court’s Ruling

2014/06/26

Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) issued the following statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling that President Obama violated the U.S. Constitution by appointing  individuals to the National Labor Relations Board without the Senate’s approval. Rep. Smith: “Today the Supreme Court rightly reined in President Obama's abuse of executive authority. The Court affirmed that the President's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unprecedented and unconstitutional. "The founders established a system of government with checks and balances, so that no branch of government could unilaterally impose its will on the American people. The Constitution grants the Senate the power to provide advice and consent on certain executive branch nominees. In its attempt to circumvent Senate approval process, the Obama administration disregarded the Constitution. "But all government officials are bound by the limits of the Constitution and the rule of law, including the President of the United States.  And today the Court provided a much needed check against the President’s abuse of power.” Read More

Smith: Technologies Can Prevent Infections at VA Hospitals

2014/06/26

The Research & Technology and Oversight subcommittees today held a joint hearing to assess the potential benefits of new technologies to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). There have been high percentages of HAI and mortality rates among patients at some Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals. Congressman Smith, who chairs the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, attended today’s subcommittee hearing and issued the following statement. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Americans are rightly outraged about the long delays and unacceptable quality of VA health care for tens of thousands of our veterans. Following up on a series of letters to the VA Inspector General and others, I recently met with Acting VA Secretary Gibson at the Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital in my district in San Antonio. I was reassured that he sincerely wants to fix the problems facing our veterans. But we need swift action and strong resolve to fix such a broken system at the VA.   “Hospital-acquired infections are a serious public health problem that affects patients in hospitals all across the country. A number of VA hospitals are among the worst in the United States in terms of inflicting preventable infections on their patients. American veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms. Veterans who live in the 21st Congressional District of Texas and across our country should have the best health care America can provide, as soon as possible.”   Hospital acquired infections are the most common complication of hospital care. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1.7 million HAIs per year in the U.S. causing or contributing to up to 99,000 deaths annually. Research supported by the National Science Foundation in robotics, nanotechnology, and other areas of the biological sciences has helped to bring about technological innovations to prevent HAIs.   For more information about today’s hearing, please visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website. Read More

What Is the EPA Hiding From the Public?

2014/06/23

By Lamar Smith The climate is changing and, yes, humans play a role. But that does not mean, as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy would have us believe, that the debate—over how much the climate is changing, how big a role humans play, and what can reasonably done about it—is over. Still less does it mean that anyone who questions her agency's actions, particularly the confidential research it uses to justify multimillion and billion-dollar air rules, is a denier at war with science. The EPA's regulatory process today is a closed loop. The agency funds the scientific research it uses to support its regulations, and it picks the supposedly independent (but usually agency-funded) scientists to review it. When the regulations are challenged, the courts defer to the agency on scientific issues. But the agency refuses to make public the scientific research it uses. The House Science Committee will vote Tuesday on legislation to open up this closed loop. The Secret Science Reform Act, which I co-sponsored, has a simple goal: EPA regulations should be based on legitimate science and data that are open to the public. Scientific journals in a variety of disciplines have moved toward data transparency. Ms. McCarthy sees this effort as a threat. Speaking before the National Academy of Sciences in late April, she defended her agency's need to protect data "from those who are not qualified to analyze it." The EPA essentially decides who is or is not allowed access to the scientific research they use—research that is paid for with public funds, appropriated by Congress, on behalf of American taxpayers. This is wholly improper. I recently received a letter of support for the Secret Science Reform Act that was signed by more than 80 scientists, including physicians, and professors of environmental science, physics, statistics, economics and engineering. The signatories included George Wolff, former chair of the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee in the Clinton administration and Forrest J. Remick, former commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the George H.W. Bush administration. They wrote that the bill would "make the agency's regulations more accountable, credible, and enforceable" and that its transparency requirements "can be accomplished without imposing unnecessary burdens, discouraging research, or raising confidentiality concerns." Costly environmental regulations must be based on publicly available data that independent scientists can verify. For example, take the administration's recently proposed plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants—regulations that could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and spike electricity rates. In the announcement of her agency's 645-page Clean Power Plan, Ms. McCarthy claimed "The science is clear. The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate inaction keep piling up." Yet any reporter willing to read beyond the EPA press release would find that the reality doesn't match the rhetoric. Monday's Supreme Court decision (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA) underscores the need for scrutiny of agency claims. The court called EPA's rewriting of the Clean Air Act "outrageous," and said that "When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate 'a significant portion of the American economy,' we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism." Such skepticism is well deserved. Virtually all of the EPA's health claims for its latest power-plant rules, including that they would save thousands of lives a year, are based on data that haven't been made public. In any event, for most of the EPA's 2030 projections, a majority of the health benefits claimed have nothing to do with carbon dioxide. They come from reductions in air pollutants already regulated by the EPA such as particulate matter and ozone. The EPA also claims that its Clean Power Plan will yield climate benefits, such as lower sea levels, which the agency calculates using its "social cost of carbon." But a recent analysis by Ted Gayer, vice president and director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution, found that most of these alleged benefits take place outside the U.S. Even using the EPA's own numbers, the costs of this regulation may exceed the direct, domestic benefits. The EPA, like every other government institution, should be accountable to the American people. We need to protect our environment, but this should be done on the basis of open and honest information. That is the goal of the Secret Science Reform Act. Mr. Smith, a Republican from Texas, is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. http://online.wsj.com/articles/lamar-smith-what-is-the-epa-hiding-from-the-public-1403563536   Read More

Smith Supports Veterans Access to Care Act

2014/06/10

The House of Representatives today passed the Veterans Access to Care Act (H.R. 4810) to address current delays facing tens-of-thousands of veterans seeking care through the VA. Congressman Smith supported the bill, which allows enrolled veterans to obtain non-VA care when they cannot get an appointment within the VA’s 14-day wait time window. The bill provides the same benefit to veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility. The Act also bans bonuses for VA employees for two years, and requires the VA to submit quarterly reports to Congress on the Department’s efforts to improve veterans’ access to care. Rep. Smith: “Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are outraged by the recent VA scandal, which has left over 57,000 veterans across the country waiting for care. In San Antonio alone, 837 veterans are stuck in a wait list limbo. This is inexcusable.  America’s veterans deserve the best care possible, as soon as possible. “The Veterans Access to Care Act gives veterans immediate access to the health care. The bill ensures that if a veteran cannot get an appointment with the VA, they are able to access care outside the VA system at no additional cost to themselves. “This is a good, bipartisan bill that provides immediate relief to the tens-of-thousands of veterans currently waiting for care. America’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms.  The least we can do is make sure that they have timely access to the medical treatment they need and deserve.” Yesterday, the Department of Veterans Affairs released the results of a nationwide audit that examined problems surrounding access to care for millions of America’s veterans.  According to the report, schedulers at 76% of VA facilities had engaged in the practice of misreporting appointment requests to hide long waitlists for veterans seeking care. Thirteen percent of scheduling staff interviewed said that they had received direct instruction from supervisors or others to falsify medical appointment records.  The audit flagged certain VA facilities for further investigation and review, including Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital in the 21st District of Texas.  Last week, Congressman Smith met with Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson to discuss recent allegations of misconduct at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital.  On June 4, Congressman Smith sent a letter to VA Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin regarding reports from employees at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital that senior managers had directed schedulers to hide evidence of delays for veterans seeking care.  Rep. Smith raised concerns about the independence and integrity of the IG investigation in light of reports that investigators were only interviewing schedulers who were hand-picked and coached by senior management. Read More

Smith Responds to VA Audit

2014/06/09

The Department of Veterans Affairs today released the results of a nationwide audit that examined problems surrounding access to care for millions of America’s veterans.  According to the report, schedulers at 76% of VA facilities had engaged in the practice of misreporting appointment requests to hide long waitlists for veterans seeking care. Thirteen percent of scheduling staff interviewed said that they had received direct instruction from supervisors or others to falsify medical appointment records.  The audit flagged certain VA facilities for further investigation and review, including Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital in the 21st District of Texas.  Last week, Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) met with Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson to discuss recent allegations of misconduct at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital.  Congressman Smith issued the following statement in response to today’s audit. Rep. Smith: “According to the VA audit, more than 800 San Antonio veterans are waiting for care. Last week, I met with a veteran who has been waiting more than two years for oral surgery.  This is inexcusable.  America’s veterans deserve the best care possible, as soon as possible. “Today’s audit confirms the Inspector General’s reports that the VA’s scheduling schemes are systemic. According to the audit, misreporting practices took place in 76% of VA facilities across the country.  In San Antonio alone, 837 veterans are waiting to receive care. “I recently met with Secretary Gibson to discuss what the VA is doing to help San Antonio veterans who are stuck on long waitlists. I was reassured that he sincerely wants to fix the problem. And I appreciate that he is taking seriously the new allegations of misconduct at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital in my district.  Further review at Audie Murphy Hospital is needed to help make sure that San Antonio veterans get the care they need and deserve. “America’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms. They deserve the best health care, not delayed health care. I am committed to continuing to fight to ensure that San Antonio veterans have the best care that our nation can provide.”  On June 4, Congressman Smith sent a letter to VA Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin regarding reports from employees at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital that senior managers had directed schedulers to hide evidence of delays for veterans seeking care.  In the June 4 letter, Rep. Smith raised concerns about the independence and integrity of the IG investigation in light of reports that investigators were only interviewing schedulers who were hand-picked and coached by senior management. Last month, Rep. Smith sent a letter to IG Griffin calling on him to immediately initiate an investigation into allegations of misconduct at three VA facilities in Texas. According to media reports, employees at the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center were instructed by supervisors to ensure that wait times for veterans were as “close to zero days as possible.”  An employee of Veterans Affairs who recently worked at all three clinics claims that staffers falsely logged patients’ desired appointment dates to closely coincide with appointment openings. But in reality, veterans were left waiting for months.     On May 27, IG Griffin responded to Rep. Smith confirming that his office is investigating allegations of misconduct at the three Central Texas VA facilities.   Read More

Smith Meets with Acting VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson

2014/06/06

Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) today met with Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson regarding new allegations of misconduct and long wait lists at local VA facilities.  Rep. Smith met with Secretary Gibson at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital and pressed the Secretary on what the VA is doing today to help San Antonio veterans seeking care. Rep. Smith: “The national crisis at the VA has millions of Americans rightfully outraged. Unfortunately, the serious problems at the VA have hit too close to home.  There have been reports of misconduct, long wait lists and delayed care at several Central Texas VA facilities, including Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital in my district. “Earlier today, I met with a veteran who has been waiting more than two years for oral surgery.  This is inexcusable.  America’s veterans deserve the best care possible, as soon as possible. “I appreciate Secretary Gibson being in San Antonio today. During our meeting, I was reassured that he sincerely wants to help correct the problems facing our veterans.  We need swift action and strong resolve to fix the broken system at the VA. “America’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms. They deserve the best health care, not delayed health care. I am committed to continuing to fight to ensure that San Antonio veterans have the best care that our nation can provide.”  Earlier this week, Congressman Smith sent a letter to VA Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin regarding new reports from employees at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital that senior managers at the hospital had directed schedulers to hide evidence of delays for veterans seeking care.  In the June 4 letter, Rep. Smith raised concerns about the independence and integrity of the IG investigation in light of reports that investigators were only interviewing schedulers who were hand-picked and coached by senior management. Last month, Rep. Smith sent a letter to IG Griffin calling on him to immediately initiate an investigation into allegations of misconduct at three VA facilities in Texas. Smith was joined by 23 members of the Texas delegation in sending the letter. According to media reports, employees at the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center were instructed by supervisors to ensure that wait times for veterans were as “close to zero days as possible.”  An employee of Veterans Affairs who recently worked at all three clinics claims that staffers falsely logged patients’ desired appointment dates to closely coincide with appointment openings. But in reality, veterans were left waiting for months.     On May 27, IG Griffin responded to Rep. Smith confirming that his office is investigating allegations of misconduct at three Central Texas VA facilities: the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.   Read More

Smith Questions VA IG about Integrity of Investigation

2014/06/04

Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) today sent a new letter to Acting Inspector General of Veterans Affairs Richard Griffin requesting additional information regarding the investigation into allegations of misconduct at local VA facilities.  Specifically, Rep. Smith pressed the IG on new reports from employees at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital that senior managers at the hospital had directed schedulers to hide evidence of delays for veterans seeking care.  In his letter, Rep. Smith raised concerns about the independence and integrity of the IG investigation in light of reports that investigators were only interviewing schedulers who were hand-picked and coached by senior management. Congressman Smith pressed the IG on specifics regarding the investigation, including how many IG investigators are on the ground in San Antonio, as well as whether the interviews are taking place in person or over the phone. Rep. Smith raised concerns that “managers sit in on these interviews and instruct employees not to be forthcoming with OIG staff.” “If this is true,” Rep. Smith questioned, “how can you claim that your investigation is an independent and comprehensive review?” A full copy of the letter to the IG can be found here. Last month, Rep. Smith sent a letter to IG Griffin calling on him to immediately initiate an investigation into allegations of misconduct at three VA facilities in Texas. According to media reports, employees at the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center were instructed by supervisors to ensure that wait times for veterans were as “close to zero days as possible.”  An employee of Veterans Affairs who recently worked at all three clinics claims that staffers falsely logged patients’ desired appointment dates to closely coincide with appointment openings. But in reality, veterans were left waiting for months.     On May 27, IG Griffin responded to Rep. Smith confirming that his office is investigating allegations of misconduct at three Central Texas VA facilities: the North Central Federal Clinic in San Antonio, the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.   Read More

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Contact Information

2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4236
Fax 202-225-8628
lamarsmith.house.gov

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

TEXAS' 1st DISTRICT

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

Ralph Hall

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Jeb Hensarling

TEXAS' 5th DISTRICT

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

John Culberson

TEXAS' 7th DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Kay Granger

TEXAS' 12th DISTRICT

Mac Thornberry

TEXAS' 13th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Roger Williams

TEXAS' 25th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

Blake Farenthold

TEXAS' 27th DISTRICT

John Carter

TEXAS' 31st DISTRICT

Pete Sessions

TEXAS' 32nd DISTRICT

Steve Stockman

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

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