Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith


Smith’s STEM Education Act Signed Into Law


Washington, D.C. - The president this week signed into law the STEM Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 1020), a bipartisan bill introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The bill strengthens science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts and expands the definition of STEM to include computer science. The bill recently was approved unanimously by both the House and the Senate.

Chairman Smith: “We must prepare our students for degrees in STEM subjects to ensure that they have the ability to thrive in today’s technology-based economy. This means motivating more American students to study STEM subjects, including computer science. Unfortunately, America lags behind many other nations when it comes to STEM education. American students rank 21st in science and 26th in math.

“The STEM Education Act expands the definition of STEM, encourages students to study these subjects and trains more teachers. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their work getting this important bipartisan bill on the president’s desk.”

The STEM Education Act of 2015 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to award competitive merit-reviewed grants to support informal STEM education.  Informal education is work that takes place outside of the classroom at places like museums, science centers and afterschool programs. These types of efforts engage students in STEM subjects and fields in ways that formal classroom training often does not.

The bill amends the NSF Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program to allow teachers in pursuit of Master’s degrees to participate in the program. This would allow more teachers the opportunity to compete for the grants. Computer science is also added as a subject for the scholarship program. No new or additional spending is authorized in the bill. 

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Smith: Defending America is a Sacred Responsibility


Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after voting in support of the final conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense.

Congressman Smith: “National security is a top concern for many Americans. In today’s world, we are constantly reminded of the need to maintain a strong military in the hopes that we will never have to use it. Congress has a sacred responsibility to provide for our nation’s defense. We must never forget the sacrifices those who serve make to protect our freedom. Today I voted to ensure our men and women in uniform have the resources they need.”  

The funding in the bill is consistent with the House Budget Resolution that balances the federal budget and ensures troop readiness through rigorous training, adequate facilities and well-maintained equipment. It supports a 1.3% percent pay raise for the military and includes a new retirement benefit for 83 percent of troops that currently receive nothing. The bill also supports the transition of troops from active-duty into veteran status by directing DoD and the VA to work in cooperation on pain management and other health issues of the 21st century. It also provides for lethal assistance to Ukraine and a plan to address Russia’s unconventional warfare methods.

In March, Rep. Smith attested to Fort Sam Houston’s importance to the San Antonio community before a public Army Listening Session.

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Bipartisan STEM Education Act Clears House and Senate


Washington, D.C. - The House of Representatives today unanimously cleared the STEM Education Act (H.R. 1020), a bipartisan bill introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The bill strengthens ongoing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts at federal science agencies and ensures computer science is included in these efforts as a subject that builds on the traditional STEM subjects. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for signature and enactment.

Chairman Smith: “A well-educated and trained STEM workforce ensures our future economic prosperity. This means motivating more American students to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. A healthy STEM workforce that is literate in all STEM subjects, including computer science, is critical to America’s ability to create jobs and compete in the world. This important bipartisan legislation that will help prepare our students to thrive in a technology-based economy.”

Summary of Major Provisions in the STEM Education Act of 2015:

  • Expands existing federal grants and programs related to STEM education to include computer science education.
  • Supports competitive merit-reviewed grants for informal STEM education, which is learning outside of the classroom at places like museums, science centers, and afterschool programs.
  • Amends the National Science Foundation Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program to allow teachers in pursuit of a master’s degree to apply for the grant and explicitly include computer science teachers. The STEM Education Act would allow more teachers the opportunity to compete for the grant, better reflecting the current reality facing our schools, especially in high-need areas.
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Smith Opposes Continuing Resolution


Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after voting against a continuing resolution that would have provided taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, which is under congressional investigation as a result of recent controversial videos.  

Congressman Lamar Smith: “The House has been entrusted with the power of the purse. To the best of our ability, we must ensure that every dime of taxpayer’s dollars is used in a manner consistent with the values and views of the American people. I have heard from many constituents who are as disturbed as I am by the gruesome Planned Parenthood videos. I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of funding that continues to support this controversial organization, which appears to have engaged in trafficking of unborn baby body parts and performed procedures similar to partial-birth abortions, both of which are illegal.”  

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Bipartisan Support for Smith’s READ Act


Washington, D.C. - The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today held a hearing to examine the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act  (H.R. 3033), a bipartisan bill introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to prioritize research and development to overcome dyslexia. Dr. Rachel Robillard, who oversees the Austin Independent School District’s Dyslexia Services program, was among witnesses testifying at today’s hearing. She is also a member of the College of Education faculty at both the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University in San Marcos. Video of Chairman Smith’s opening statement can be found here, and Dr. Robillard’s testimony can be found here.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) with Texas-based dyslexia advocates Robbi Cooper and Dr. Rachel Robillard of Austin, and Lyn Pollard of Dallas.


Chairman Smith:  “Dyslexia is the most common reading disability yet those who suffer from it often have normal or above-average intelligence. Many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work. If you can’t read, it is hard to achieve. The READ Act is a step in the right direction. I have to end with a little bit of a plug for the state of Texas because I think we’re a little bit ahead of the curve—we’re certainly ahead of a number of other states because of legislation that has been passed.”

Dr. Rachel Robillard: “I strongly encourage support for the READ act. Having specified annual funds devoted to dyslexia research that focuses on best practices in early identification, professional development for teachers and administrators, and curriculum development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia can only improve the opportunities of all students to have access to an education that allows each of them to learn to read.

“We are fortunate in the state of Texas to have a strong support for our dyslexic students. The State Dyslexia Handbook is the guide for public schools in Texas as to how to identify and teach dyslexic students. Texas has a long history of supporting the teaching of reading that includes a focus on early identification and intervention for children who experience reading difficulties. We do not want to wait until students need the intervention in order to not fail and drop out. What we want for our students in Texas, and all of the United States, is the ability to identify and intervene with these students early and well.”

Dyslexia is a difficulty to read fluently and with accurate comprehension. Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. Many children undiagnosed with dyslexia have difficulties in the classroom. October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month.

Smith serves as a bipartisan co-chair of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus. In July, Smith introduced the READ Act. While the READ Act does not increase federal spending, it authorizes multi-directorate, merit-reviewed, and competitively awarded dyslexia research projects using existing funds appropriated for the NSF Research and Related Activities account and the Education and Human Resources Directorate. It also requires the NSF to conduct dyslexia research which would focus on best practices in the following areas:

  • Early identification of children and students with dyslexia
  • Professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators
  • Curricula development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia

The following witnesses testified:

Ms. Barbara Wilson, Co-Founder and President, Wilson Language Training

Dr. Paula Tallal, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Human Development, University of California, San Diego; Adjunct Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies; Founder and Director, Scientific Learning Corporation

Dr. Rachel Robillard, Assistant Director, 504 Services and Response to Intervention, Austin Independent School District

For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.

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Smith Welcomes Texans for Papal Visit to U.S. Capitol


Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement as he welcomed Texans to the U.S. Capitol for the visit of Pope Francis.   

Congressman Lamar Smith: “Today I welcomed dozens of Texans to Washington for Pope Francis’ visit and address to Congress. His message of hope and love is one that resonates with many people across different faiths. It is appropriate the pope’s visit occurs at a time when our country faces crucial moral questions about the sanctity of life and the kind of society we want to leave to our children.”  

Smith was joined by several dozen Texans who responded to an open invitation to join him in Washington for the Pope’s visit.

Rev. Father Jimmy Drennan of Saint Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in San Antonio prays a blessing over attendees at a lunch hosted by Rep. Lamar Smith following Pope Francis’ address.

Robin and Sam Cowsar of Fredericksburg speak with San Antonio reporter Annette Garcia at a lunch hosted by Rep. Lamar Smith following Pope Francis’ address.

Rep. Smith speaks to constituents who traveled to Washington from Texas to hear Pope Francis’ address.



Congressman Smith represents the 21st District of Texas. He serves as chairman of the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee, and is a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and the House Judiciary Committee, on which he also served as chairman. He is also founder and chairman of the House Border Security Caucus and has previously been named the most effective lawmaker in Congress.

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Smith Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood


Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today voted to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood and instead fund community health clinics that offer women’s health services but not abortions.  Smith also voted in favor of legislation providing protection and care for survivors of abortions. He is a cosponsor of both bills. 

Congressman Lamar Smith: “Last year, Planned Parenthood received half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding. Several videos have brought to light multiple questionable and gruesome practices.  No organization that may have taken illegal actions should receive hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The funds should go instead to community health clinics that do not perform abortions.  

“This week, the House Judiciary Committee, on which I serve, also heard testimony from several witnesses who miraculously survived abortions. The Born Alive Infant Protection Act ensures that children born alive after an abortion attempt receive the same care as any other child born under different circumstances.”

Videos of Planned Parenthood executives that surfaced over the past few months raised questions of whether the tax-exempt group has been engaging in illegal activity: trafficking fetal body parts, and performing abortion procedures similar to outlawed partial-birth abortions in order to harvest organs.

In addition to the ongoing congressional investigation, Smith has joined 133 House colleagues in calling for a formal Department of Justice investigation into the questionable Planned Parenthood activities.  

A long-time opponent of federal funding being used for abortions, Smith has received recognition from the National Right to Life for his pro-life record and support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban all abortions after 20 weeks.

A map released this week showed the dramatic difference funding more than 13,000 community health clinics could make, as opposed to just the 665 Planned Parenthood locations; there are currently 20 comprehensive clinics where women can receive care for every one Planned Parenthood.

In 2012, Texas stopped funding abortion-providers like Planned Parenthood. Instead, in 2013 it created the Women’s Health Program, which provides low-income women with family planning services, health screenings and birth control. According to a study by George Washington University, this resulted in community clinics increasing their women’s health care services by an average of 81 percent.

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Members Call for Senate “Nuclear” Option to Stop Iran Nuclear Deal


Washington, DC — Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) was joined by 56 House colleagues today in sending a letter to Senate leadership asking to dispense with the 60-vote threshold that has thus far prevented Senate disapproval of President Obama’s Iran Deal.

The letter reads: “As Members of the House of Representatives, we respectfully urge the Senate to modify its rules to a majority vote threshold of 51 senators to approve some legislation. Some pieces of legislation, like the Iran nuclear deal, are simply so consequential that they demand revisions to the Senate’s procedures. …

“Our request to eliminate the filibuster for some votes simply underscores that in a democracy the majority should decide. The super-majority now required to advance legislation is 60 votes, which is not serving our country well.”

A recent Pew Research Center poll indicates that only 21 percent of the public supports the Iran deal. Last week, the House passed legislation asserting that the deal should not go forward due to President Obama’s failure to comply with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 which required that all details be submitted to Congress. Although details of secret side deals have not been submitted to Congress, the Obama administration is treating today as the end of a 60-day congressional review deadline.

In addition to Smith, the following Members signed onto the letter:

Blake Farenthold (TX-27)

Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)

Brian Babin (TX-36)

Pete Sessions (TX-32)

Morgan Griffith (VA-9)

Roger Williams (TX-25)

Bruce Westerman (AR-4)

Randy Weber (TX-14)

Bill Flores (TX-17)

John Carter (TX-31)

Mo Brooks (AL-5)

Michael Burgess (TX-26)

Matt Salmon (AZ-5)

Leonard Lance (NJ-7)

Mick Mulvaney (SC-5)

Vicki Hartzler (MO-4)

John Culberson (TX-7)

Louie Gohmert (TX-1)

Doug Collins (GA-9)

Jeff Duncan (SC-3)

Tom Reed (NY-23)

Mike McCaul (TX-10)

Steve Pearce (NM-2)

Daniel Webster (FL-10)

Bill Shuster (PA-9)

Chris Stewart (UT-2)

Trent Franks (AZ-8)

John Ratcliffe (TX-4)

Raul Labrador (ID-1)

Paul Gosar (AZ-4)

Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large)

Joe Wilson (SC-2)

Mark Amodei (NV-2)

Steven Palazzo (MS-4)

Ralph Abraham (LA-5)

Luke Messer (IN-6)

Doug Lamborn (CO-5)

Bob Goodlatte (VA-6)

Kevin Brady (TX-8)

Sam Johnson (TX-3)

Ted Poe (TX-2)

Mike Bishop (MI-8)

Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5)

Steve Chabot (OH-1)

Tom Marino (PA-10)

Barry Loudermilk (GA-11)

Kenny Marchant (TX-24)

Steve King (IA-4)

Jeb Hensarling (TX-5)

Robert Aderholt (AL-4)

Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1)

Robert Pittenger (NC-9)

Andy Harris (MD-1)

Marlin Stutzman (IN-3)

Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2)

Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large)

Full text of Smith’s letter can be found here.

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House Passes Smith’s Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act


The House of Representatives today passed legislation authored by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) H.R. 758, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) by a vote of 241-185. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) joined Smith in praising the legislation that will reduce frivolous lawsuits in the United States. The bill imposes mandatory sanctions on attorneys who file baseless lawsuits in federal courts.

Congressman Smith: “Frivolous lawsuits have become too common. Lawyers who bring these cases have everything to gain and nothing to lose under current rules, which permit plaintiffs’ lawyers to file frivolous suits, no matter how absurd the claims, without any penalty. Meanwhile defendants are often faced with years of litigation and substantial attorneys’ fees. LARA restores accountability to our legal system by reinstating mandatory sanctions for attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits.”

Chairman Goodlatte: “Frivolous lawsuits have no place in the American courtroom, and current loopholes allow too many lawyers to take advantage of innocent victims. Current laws allow lawyers to file baseless claims, and pass legal costs on to the victims who have no guarantee of compensation for the injury they suffered. That’s why the passage of LARA is essential to end lawsuit abuse. LARA guarantees that victims are fully compensated for harm done by filers of frivolous lawsuits in federal courts.

“Today Congress took a stand against attorneys who prey on weak victims just for the satisfaction of making a quick dollar in our judicial system.”


LARA restores accountability to our legal system by penalizing lawyers for filing baseless lawsuits. The bill specifically ensures that judges impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, including the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the victim of the frivolous lawsuit; and reverses the 1993 amendments to Rule 11 that allow attorneys to make frivolous claims without penalty by withdrawing them within 21 days.

LARA supports innocent Americans who are victims of frivolous lawsuits: LARA makes mandatory that victims of frivolous lawsuits be compensated for harm done to them by filers of frivolous lawsuits.

LARA is even-handed: LARA applies to cases brought by individuals as well as businesses both large and small. The bill also applies to both plaintiffs and defendants.

LARA ends the “free pass” for lawyers: The bill eliminates the 21-day “free pass” for lawyers to file frivolous pleadings. Current federal rules allow lawyers to file frivolous pleadings without any sanctions as long as they withdraw those pleadings within 21 days, even if the victims of the frivolous lawsuit had to spend time and money responding to the frivolous pleadings.

LARA protects states’ rights: LARA only applies to federal court and does not change state court rules.

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Smith Condemns Administration’s Space Exploration Delays


Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to an announcement that NASA will be forced to delay the development of the Orion crew vehicle. Last year the administration also delayed the development of the Space Launch System. Both of these systems are being developed for deep space human exploration.  

Chairman Lamar Smith: “Once again, the Obama administration is choosing to delay deep space exploration priorities such as Orion and the Space Launch System that will take U.S. astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.  While this administration has consistently cut funding for these programs and delayed their development, Congress has consistently restored funding as part of our commitment to maintaining American leadership in space. We must chart a compelling course for our nation’s space program so that we can continue to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.  I urge this administration to follow the lead of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s NASA Authorization Act to fully fund NASA’s exploration programs.” 

In April, Smith hosted Apollo astronaut and Kerrville resident Gene Cernan at the U.S. Capitol to address fellow lawmakers about the importance of American leadership in space exploration and show a screening of a documentary on Cernan’s life. Cernan was the last person to walk on the Moon more than forty years ago.

NASA announced today that its schedule for the first crewed mission of SLS and Orion will slip to 2023; this represents a two year slip from previous plans for the first mission by 2021. The agency announced similar delays last fall. Smith has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for failure to request adequate funding for Orion and the Space Launch System; the administration’s FY16 budget request proposed cuts of more than $440 million for the programs while earth science accounts have increased by 63 percent during the past eight years. Thirteen agencies do climate research, but only one conducts space exploration.

The House Science Committee’s NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 provided NASA with a balanced, budget-neutral plan that prioritized crucial programs being developed to return U.S. astronauts to deep space destinations such as the Moon and Mars. 

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Smith Asks for Majority Vote on Iran Deal in the Senate

2015-09-17 13:04:42

Smith: Iran Deal Emboldens Our Enemies

2015-09-11 13:58:26

Smith Warns of Consequences of Iran Deal on House Floor

2015-09-08 21:22:36

Smith Discusses Toxic EPA Spill on Varney & Co

2015-08-12 19:27:05

Smith Speaks Out Against Iran Deal

2015-07-24 17:57:32

Smith Speaks in Support of Bill to Hold Sanctuary Cities Accountable

2015-07-23 19:10:50

Rep. Smith at Judiciary Hearing on Sanctuary Cities: “These victims are innocent Americans”

2015-07-23 17:38:56

Smith: Obama administration releasing criminal illegal immigrants by “tens of thousands”

2015-07-16 20:12:28

Smith ‘Appalled’ DHS Head Can’t Say Whether Sanctuary Cities Violate Federal Law

2015-07-14 19:15:43

Chairman Smith Questions EPA Administrator on Previously Requested Documents

2015-07-10 20:08:12

Smith Amendment Combats EPA Obstruction with Budget Cuts

2015-07-07 22:33:34

Smith Speaks Out Against Sanctuary Cities

2015-07-07 18:30:26

Smith Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on ObamaCare

2015-06-25 15:11:09

Chairman Smith Speaks on Devastating Impacts of Obama Administration’s Extreme Power Regulations

2015-06-24 15:16:41

Smith Bill Renames Stretch of Highway in Memory of Vietnam-era Veteran

2015-06-15 21:09:03

Opening Remarks from Rep. Smith and Chairman Miller

2015-06-05 15:29:19

Smith Advocates for Weather Forecasting Improvements

2015-06-02 22:05:55

Smith Discusses Devastation from Texas Flooding

2015-05-27 17:45:04

Smith Questions Experts at Hearing on President’s UN Climate Pledge

2015-04-15 19:54:41

Smith Statement at Hearing on President’s UN Climate Pledge

2015-04-15 19:11:23

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


John Ratcliffe


Jeb Hensarling


Joe Barton


John Culberson


Kevin Brady


Michael McCaul


Michael Conaway


Kay Granger


Mac Thornberry


Randy Weber


Bill Flores


Randy Neugebauer


Pete Olson


Will Hurd


Kenny Marchant


Roger Williams


Michael Burgess


Blake Farenthold


John Carter


Pete Sessions


Brian Babin


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