Washington, DC - Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s final budget proposal for fiscal year 2017.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “President Obama has now missed eight opportunities to balance the budget and address the real fiscal crisis facing our nation. Instead, he has delivered a tax-and-spend plan year after year that has grown our debt to $19 trillion. If this budget were to be implemented, it would more than double our national debt from what it was when the president took office.
“This year’s budget proposal alone would increase spending by $2.5 trillion and raise taxes by $3.4 trillion over the next decade. Just one of these proposals would tax oil at $10 per barrel, punishing domestic energy developers and raising prices at the pump by 24 cents a gallon.
“This unrealistic wishlist undermines any remaining credibility the president might have had for working with Congress on serious priorities this year. I will only support a budget that balances and that works for the American people.”Read More
Members of the congressional Border Security Caucus toured the Texas-Mexico border Friday in an effort to gain insight into the ongoing surge of border crossings.
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) formed the Border Security Caucus in 2014 and opened it to any member of Congress who believes the border needed increased enforcement. Friday's tour was the first time members of the caucus traveled together to the Rio Grande Valley.
"One of the figures that we heard today was that only a fraction of those who are coming across the border illegally are actually being apprehended," Smith said.
While members of the caucus praised law enforcement's dedication, they said the Obama Administration wasn't providing enough technology or personnel.
"We don't know who's coming over the border when these kinds of things happen and it's a national security issue," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee).
Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that border apprehensions in January dropped by 36 percent from the previous month.
Smith, however, argued that the dip is likely to be temporary and that immigration policies must be enforced to ensure a permanent decrease.
"They are asked 'what drove you to come up this far north? What made you want to come into this country illegally?' Seventy percent say 'it's the policies of the administration, it's their immigration policies, we know we will be given asylum; we know we will be able to stay.' That's why they're coming, not because of violence back home," Smith said.
Five members of the Border Security Caucus took part in the tour. The caucus consists of more than 100 members of Congress.Read More
Members of the Border Security Caucus bashed the Obama administration on Friday for dismantling immigration policies.
Five Republican representatives spent the day touring the Rio Grande Valley section of the U.S.-Mexico border. They said that in speaking with U.S. Border Patrol agents and the Texas Department of Public Safety, they had learned details about illegal immigration the White House has been reluctant to share.
"Despite the story the Obama administration is telling, illegal border crossings remain abnormally high," Caucus leader Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said in a press conference after the tour.
The Department of Homeland Security's latest numbers show a 150 percent increase in the number of migrant families apprehended from fiscal year 2014 to 2015.
Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee, and Michael Burgess, Blake Farenthold and Sam Johnson of Texas accompanied Smith on the trip, but it wasn't the first visit to the border for any of the members.
"While this certainly wasn't my first trip to Texas' southern border, the new surge of illegal aliens over the past few months is why I made this trip today. It's no secret that Obama's lawless executive amnesty is having devastating impacts not only on Texas border cities but across the country," Rep. Johnson said.
Some said they recommitted themselves to their constituents after relearning how border issues affect interior states.
"We've known all along that our border was not secure and that the Obama administration's immigration policies were failing to uphold the rule of law. Now, I have seen the impact of that with my own eyes," Rep. Black said. "Tennessee may not be a border state, but President Obama's unwillingness to combat the crisis of illegal immigration is felt throughout the country, including in states like my own."
The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has doubled since last year, an issue Rep. Burgess said is having an effect on his congressional district.
"As Texans know all too well, the haphazard opening of our borders has caused total chaos with the influx of unaccompanied minors and strained our local communities in a truly troubling way," Rep. Burgess said.
The caucus members added that the administration is ignoring all of these problems, but there was no disputing what they witnessed.
"We must take the situation at the border very seriously and the current administration is not doing that," said Rep. Farenthold. "To be here and see firsthand, to talk to the agents face-to-face, it is clear the administration is not giving agents the tools they need to do their job effectively and safely."Read More
WESLACO- A Texas congressman took a tour of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector on Friday.
Republican Congressman Lamar Smith said there is a different reason people are crossing the border.
Smith claims those coming into the U.S. are not fleeing from violence. CHANNEL 5 NEWS has reported on those claims of violence. The congressman said his source is a leaked Border Patrol report.
“Their own internal report said that when individuals from Central America were interviewed, 70 percent didn't say it was violence back home making them come to the United States illegally,” Smith said. “It was the administration’s policies because they knew they were going to be allowed to stay."
Smith said Border Patrol agents need more resources to better enforce immigration laws.Read More
McAllen, Texas –Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today led members of the Congressional Border Security Caucus on a tour of Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S.- Mexico border. Members released the following statements:
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “A country that has lost control of its border has lost control of its future. Despite the story the Obama administration is telling, illegal border crossings remain abnormally high. The Department of Homeland Security’s latest numbers show an increase of 30 percent over the last year’s crossings.
“Today we had the opportunity to see firsthand the challenges our border patrol agents and Texas Department of Public Safety officers face as they deal with the continuing surge of illegal immigrants on our Southern border. Their jobs have been made harder by this administration’s policies that have undermined our immigration laws and continue to encourage illegal immigrants.
“My colleagues and I with the Congressional Border Security Caucus have taken a strong stand- along with 26 states led by Texas – against the president’s executive amnesty orders. This year, the Supreme Court will hear that case. We will continue to stand with the American people. We will continue working to stop the surge of illegal immigrants.”
Congressman Diane Black (R-Tennessee): “We’ve known all along that our border was not secure and that the Obama Administration’s immigration policies were failing to uphold the rule of law. Now, I have seen the impact of that with my own eyes. Tennessee may not be a border state, but President Obama’s unwillingness to combat the crisis of illegal immigration is felt throughout the country, including in states like my own. This site visit with my Border Security Caucus colleagues has reaffirmed my belief that any future immigration reform must take place in a step-by-step process beginning with true enforcement of our existing laws and, at long last, real border security.”
Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Texas): “The flood of illegal immigrants on the Southern border has proven to be a mounting American crisis, greatly impacting Texas families. As Texans know all too well, the haphazard opening of our borders has caused total chaos with the influx of unaccompanied minors and strained our local communities in a truly troubling way. Today’s visit to the border has only reaffirmed my commitment to protecting and strengthening our borders, prioritizing the safety of American citizens above all. I join my fellow Republicans in calling on President Obama to halt his careless immigration policy before we reach a dangerous point of which we cannot return.”
Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas): “We must take the situation at the border very seriously and the current administration is not doing that. To be here and see firsthand, to talk to the agents face-to-face, it is clear the administration is not giving agents the tools they need to do their job effectively and safely. The Justice department isn't prosecuting people they should be prosecuting. Border security should be a top priority for this president, but is not. The president is not allowing our Border Patrol agents to do their job and that is putting every American at risk. ”
Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas): "While this certainly wasn't my first trip to Texas' southern border, the new surge of illegal aliens over the past few months is why I made this trip today. It's no secret that Obama's lawless executive amnesty is having devastating impacts not only on Texas border cities but across the country. That's why I've been hard at work to stop illegal immigration and Obama’s amnesty. As part of that effort I've introduced several pieces of legislation such as my bill - the No Amnesty Tax Refunds for Illegals Act - that was just signed into law. I and my fellow Border Caucus colleagues most sacred duty is to protect our homeland and every citizen in it. I spent 29 years as a fighter pilot and seven as a POW doing just that. And the House Border Caucus will continue to fight to keep America safe."
Washington, D.C. – House Republican leaders today named Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to a special taskforce that will address how the Republican party can work together to roll back regulatory burdens at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies.
Chairman Smith: “Under the Obama administration the number and cost of government regulations has skyrocketed, killing jobs and costing the American economy billions of dollars per year. Hardworking families want their leaders in Washington to cut regulatory red tape and put America back on a path to growth and prosperity. I am pleased the Speaker has selected the Science Committee to help lead a taskforce that will find ways to reduce the burden of costly and unnecessary regulations.
“Everyone agrees that we need to protect the environment, but we must do so in a way that is open and honest. Unfortunately, the EPA and other federal agencies bend the law and stretch the science to justify their own objectives. Despite heavy and growing public opposition to these proposals, the Obama administration is actively going around Congress to commit the U.S. to costly new regulations that will do nothing to improve the environment but will negatively impact economic growth. I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to come up with solutions to reduce regulatory burdens on hardworking American families.”
In their announcement, the Speaker’s Office said that the goal of the taskforce is to make it easier to invest, produce, and build things in America with a regulatory system that reduces bureaucracy and eases the burden on small businesses and job creators, while still protecting the environment, public safety, and consumer interests.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today cleared the way for the bipartisan Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act (READ Act) (H.R. 3033) to be signed into law. The READ Act, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), supports important research to further our understanding of dyslexia, including better methods for early detection and teacher training.
Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. The House passed the READ Act last October with unanimous support and today approved a Senate amendment, officially sending the bill to the president’s desk for his signature.
Chairman Smith: “Today we can help millions of Americans have a brighter and more prosperous future. Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work. We need to enable those with dyslexia to achieve their maximum potential. I am glad that the House and Senate were able to work together and send the president a good bipartisan bill to help accomplish this goal.”
The READ Act requires the president’s annual budget request to Congress to include the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). As amended, the bill requires the NSF to devote at least $2.5 million annually to 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 READ Act authorizes dyslexia research projects using funds appropriated for the National Science Foundation. The bill would also authorize $2.5 million for research focused on other learning disabilities, including those which are also associated with dyslexia.
Chairman Smith introduced the READ Act with Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), who are co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus. The Caucus is comprised of over 100 Members of Congress and is dedicated to increasing public awareness about dyslexia and ensuring that all students have equal educational opportunities.Read More
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX), along with U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Pete Olson (R-TX), led a broad Congressional coalition filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Texas HB 2, which establishes standards for abortion providers and facilities. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt later this Spring.
Rep. Smith: “States like Texas have both the right and the responsibility to ensure the highest health and safety standards for their citizens. This bill includes practical, common-sense measures that protect lives and prioritize women’s health. I hope that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of life and states’ rights to regulate within their own borders.”
Sen. Cruz: “Those who advocate for abortion often claim that it should be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ Unfortunately, abortion is not always ‘safe’ for women. Not long ago, we saw just how dangerous an unscrupulous abortionist can be. Kermit Gosnell, who ran a Philadelphia abortion mill, treated his women patients little better than the unborn babies he slaughtered. He subjected the women in his care to unsanitary, degrading, and inhumane treatment, undermining their dignity and health, and even taking one of their lives. In response to this horror, the Texas Legislature enacted H.B. 2, just like other state legislatures across the country, to ensure that abortion clinics are held to the same medical standards as other medical facilities. But even this commonsense regulation for the protection of women is too much for the abortion lobby, which has challenged the regulation all the way to the Supreme Court. For the most zealous abortion advocates, nothing—not even women’s health—can be allowed to stand in the way of abortion-on-demand. Today, a bipartisan group of 174 members of Congress have filed an amicus brief in defense of the right of legislatures across the country to enact medical protections for women. I am honored to have worked with my fellow senator from Texas, John Cornyn, and with Reps. Vicky Hartzler, Pete Olson, and Lamar Smith to bring this mighty coalition together.”
Sen. Cornyn: “By requiring abortion clinics to be held to the same standards as other medical facilities, the Texas law protects the health of both the mother and child. Upholding this law is important not just for the well-being of women and children in Texas, but to preserve the right of states to pass laws that are in the best interests of its citizens.”
Rep. Hartzler: “The potential impacts of this case are staggering. Upholding this law ensures that the abortion facilities don’t get a free pass on health and safety standards at the expense of women’s health, and it could serve as a template for other states. Overturning it endangers women’s health and could place other reasonable regulations on abortion in jeopardy. The infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell was not an outlier—we must protect women and children from other Gosnells.”
Rep. Olson: “Texas has a sacred duty to protect the health of our residents, which is why physicians performing abortions must practice the same safety standards as every other medical practitioner. Our Constitution gives states the autonomy to determine the best laws to protect public health. I was proud to join both of our Texas Senators, every Texas US House Republican and a bipartisan group of 147 other Senators and House members in urging the US Supreme Court to uphold this life saving Texas state law. Women seeking an abortion and the unborn babies who may survive an abortion attempt deserve quality care in the event of an emergency. The Supreme Court should give deference to states like Texas on matters of life and health.”
In total, 34 Senators and 140 Members of the House Representatives have signed onto the brief, which can be found here.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today held a hearing to examine the various scientific, economic and other policy issues surrounding President Obama’s recent pledge to the United Nations-led effort to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The president pledged that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade and by 80 percent or more by 2050.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The president’s Paris pledge will increase electricity costs, ration energy and slow economic growth. Congress has repeatedly rejected the president’s extreme climate agenda. The president’s climate pledge is a bad deal for the American economy, the American people and would produce no substantive environmental benefits.” A video of Chairman Smith’s full statement is available here.
Witnesses today questioned the legality of the agreement and stressed that the president’s pledge lacks constitutional legitimacy since it has not been ratified by the Senate. In addition to promised greenhouse gas reductions, the Paris agreement would require the United States to contribute billions of taxpayer dollars to developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions. Witnesses today questioned how the administration intends to honor this agreement without Congressional approval, since all public funds must be appropriated through Congress.
Witnesses were also critical of whether the agreement would have any significant impact on climate change. For example, the U.S. pledge to the U.N. is estimated to prevent only one-fiftieth of one degree Celsius temperature rise over the next 85 years. And EPA’s own data shows that the administration’s costly Clean Power Plan regulation that is the cornerstone of its pledge would reduce sea level rise by one one-hundredth of an inch, or the thickness of three sheets of paper.
In December, a majority of Congress disapproved of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulation through the Congressional Review Act. The governors of most states are also challenging the rule in court.
The following witness testified today:
Mr. Steve Eule, Vice President for Climate and Technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
Mr. Steven Groves, The Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation
For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the hearing webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.
Recent evidence that refugees are plotting with terrorists have renewed concerns about the Obama administration’s plans to admit tens of thousands of refugees from Syria. We should not be surprised if terrorists succeed in exploiting our refugee system.
ISIS has publicly stated its intentions to infiltrate our refugee system and take advantage of flawed security screening. This is why we must take all possible steps to close the security “gaps” that exist, keep Americans safe, and keep the enemy out.
Long before attacks in Paris and San Bernardino took place and before arrests of terrorist-aiding refugees in Houston and Sacramento made headlines, the Obama administration’s own officials raised concerns about bringing Syrian refugees into the U.S.
In response to my question during a hearing before Congress last October, FBI Director James Comey expressed his “concern” about “certain gaps … in the data available to us.” Nicholas Rasmussen, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, acknowledged: “The intelligence picture we’ve had of this conflict zone isn’t what we’d like it to be … you can only review against what you have.”
The subsequent attacks and arrests have raised even further reservations. The Obama administration’s insistence on moving forward with its plans to bring at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. this year and perhaps more next year is irresponsible, ignores the reality of security threats, and is out-of-touch with the American people. Worse still, the president threatened to veto legislation passed by the House that makes a good-faith attempt to start addressing weaknesses in our refugee screening.
It is no wonder that recent polls show national security at the top of the list of Americans’ priorities. Even with new attacks reported throughout the world every few days, the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge the threats we face or take the necessary steps to stop them.
This administration has failed to report on the “gaps” in security screening and actively obstructed congressional oversight. Under current law, The Department of Health and Human Services is required to submit an annual report on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, yet this report is more than a year late. The Obama administration repeatedly refused to respond to congressional inquiries on the immigration status of terrorists charged in plots in the United States, despite reports that at least 14 were admitted to the country as refugees.
And the administration has played fast and loose with our immigration laws and broadly granted asylum and refugee status to thousands who simply showed up at our Southern border. The administration has sought at every turn to tie the hands of governors and have forced resettlement of refugees on states, ignoring the concerns of citizens and their elected officials.
This is why I have joined with fellow Texans Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) to introduce legislation giving governors the right to refuse Syrian refugees and protect their constituents. I also have introduced legislation to temporarily halt the admission of all refugees until the Obama administration has provided Congress and the American people with the facts. The American people must continue to demand that President Obama and Senate Democrats get out of the way and get on board with measures to strengthen background checks of refugees.
National security is a top concern for Americans not only because they see the world becoming more dangerous but also because they see their government taking actions that make us less safe. They see an out-of-touch Washington elite more interested in protecting their political agenda than protecting Americans.
My hope is that we can escape the remaining months of the Obama administration without bearing the brunt of these harmful policies. The good news is the American people have the last word. All true reform starts with the voice of the people. I believe they will send another strong message for border security this November.
2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
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US Rep Lamar Smith on NASA budget: It "continues to tie our astronauts’ feet to the ground and makes a Mars mission all but impossible.
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Representative Lamar Smith, chair of the House's Space Committee, not too pleased with NASA's budget proposal https://t.co/AkO7TSD4z8
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TOMORROW @ 10AM ET: Committee to Examine Obama Administration “Midnight Regulations” https://t.co/Xvm0Ap3Kxv
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