The House Science, Space and Technology Committee and the House Small Business Committee recently approved legislation to accelerate technological innovation among small businesses.
HR 2763 was brought to the forefront of both committees in order to update two programs that help thousands of small businesses convert taxpayer-funded scientific research into breakthrough commercial products and processes. This legislation, however, is part of a larger agenda Congress must address to help small businesses and our economy recover from years of anemic growth.
HR 2763, introduced by Rep. Steve Knight, would improve the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Through these programs, nearly $3 billion in federal grants are awarded each year to about 5,000 small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to support technological innovation and development of new products and services.
The SBIR program was initially passed by Congress in 1982 and has grown from $45 million to more than $2.5 billion annually. The goal of the program is to conduct federal research using small businesses and to support the resulting science, technology and products’ potential for commercialization.
The STTR program requires collaboration between a small business and a nonprofit research institution to bridge the gap between fundamental science and commercialization. These programs are beneficial to federal research and technological innovation and help small businesses expand their products’ reach to government and private and nonprofit organizations.
Helping 5,000 U.S. companies put taxpayer-supported research to work is worthwhile. But there are 23 million U.S. small businesses. These enterprises employ nearly one-half of all private sector workers.
The risk-taking American entrepreneurs who built these businesses are our country’s competitive edge in the global economy. These small business owners don’t want federal grants; they need the federal government to get out of their way.
What stands in the way of 23 million small businesses? U.S. business tax rates are the highest in the developed world, a huge disadvantage for every U.S. business that faces intense competition from China, Europe and other nations. High taxes eat up profits and deprive businesses of capital that could be invested in productivity and growth — developing new products and markets and hiring more people.
Just as damaging as high rates is the overwhelming complexity of our tax system. Federal tax regulations now total 75,000 pages. Obamacare alone added about 5,000 pages of IRS regulations and guidance.
The nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation estimates the U.S. tax code is now more than two times the length of the King James Bible and the entire works of Shakespeare combined. Small business owners have no choice but to spend tens of billions of dollars each year on outside tax experts.
Federal overregulation of every aspect of operating a business hits small companies especially hard. According to the National Small Business Administration, regulatory costs for a new startup business average $83,000 per year.
A study released in 2010 by the U.S. Small Business Administration estimated total annual regulatory costs for small businesses to be $1.75 trillion. (Not surprisingly, the Obama administration buried that study.) At best, overregulation is a big drag on small business growth. At worst, inflexible federal rules force businesses to close.
For the first time in many years, the White House and Congress are working together to overhaul the tax code and relieve regulatory burdens. Rewriting the tax code is a huge job, but we hope to vote on comprehensive, pro-growth reforms by the end of this year.
Congress has already used its authority to repeal more than a dozen regulations, with more in the works. And the president has ordered federal agencies to peel back two existing regulations for every new one issued.
A decade of huge mistakes made in Washington, D.C., has slowed down America’s small businesses. It is time for the federal government to get out of the way and allow our dynamic small businesses to lead a renewal of U.S. economic growth.
Rep. Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, represents the 25th Congressional District, which includes Simi Valley. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.Read More
Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith voted in support of the Right to Try Act of 2018, which expands terminal patients’ access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives. H.R. 5247, formally the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2018, passed by a vote of 267-149.
Rep. Smith: “Americans deserve the right to try and save their lives. I am disappointed that Democrats voted down this fair and compassionate bill last week. And I’m glad we are considering it again this week.
“Today a majority of members of congress supported the Right-to-Try legislation. It creates an alternative path for patients who do not qualify for formal clinical trials. It allows patients to have greater access to unapproved therapies and treatments while ensuring proper patient protections are in place. Expediting the process for treatment will give patients more hope for a successful recovery.”
Climate alarmism has become the chant of the media and liberals who favor more government regulations. As Chairman of the House Science Committee, I have challenged the alarmist rhetoric and pursued the facts about climate change.
The Committee follows the scientific method, which welcomes critiques, avoids exaggerated predictions, and relies on unbiased data. Unfortunately, alarmists ignore all these principles.
Those of us who subscribe to the scientific method by questioning assertions are wrongly labeled “climate denier.” So much for welcoming critiques.
While I have never denied that the climate is changing, I have asked tough questions about how much the climate has changed and how much of an impact humans have had on the climate. Furthermore, I have supported technological innovation, rather than costly federal regulations and mandates, as the solution to a changing climate.
On the other hand, climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider has said, “…we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.” His message is clear: never express doubt and never accept any critiques. And the Los Angeles Times refuses to publish opinion pieces from anyone the paper deems a “denier.” The paper should present both sides of controversial issues, not just their side.
Climate alarmists seek to silence those whose research raises doubts. Instead of claiming that “the science is settled,” alarmists should welcome new research that furthers the science of climate change.
Alarmists also violate the second tenant of the scientific method, avoiding exaggerated predictions.
Since the late 1970s, climate scientists have told the American people that global temperatures would increase more than one degree Celsius by 2020. However, actual satellite temperature observations do not support these predictions. Observed temperatures were less than half as high as the climate models’ predictions. When the predictions are so far off, we should not make policy decisions based on them. Much more research into the complexity of changing temperatures is needed.
Furthermore, the idea that anyone can make precise predictions of what kind of climate will exist 85 or more years from now is laughable. There is simply no way to take into consideration climate variables or technological breakthroughs.
Commenting on the recent hurricanes, many climate scientists have tried to link these storms and climate change. But the historical record disproves them. Hurricane landfalls in the United States since 1900 are on a steady decline. The cost of damages from these storms, as a percentage of gross domestic product, is also shrinking. Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has affirmed that they have “low confidence” in climate change contributing to extreme weather.
Examination of patterns of other extreme weather events in the United States shows that a changing climate does not increase the frequency of these events. For example, U.S. wildland fires are decreasing in frequency. The number of recorded fires in recent years is nearly one-fourth the number of fires observed in the 1970s. Climate alarmists just won’t let the facts get in the way of their science fiction.
The third tenant of the scientific method, reliance on unbiased data, is violated by climate alarmists who present the American people with suspect data to advance a political agenda.
For example, some claim that the Paris Climate Accord will reduce global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius. They have barraged the American people with this falsehood to garner support for the deal. But MIT data shows that the agreement would decrease warming only 0.16 degree Celsius by 2100 – over 80 years from now – and only if all 195 countries completely abided by the agreement.
While I am sure that the alarmists will continue to shout fire when there is none, I believe the American people will call their bluff and insist that the scientific method be followed. The way to address climate change is not by increasing regulations and taxes. The future lies with research and development. Forget the alarmists’ hysteria and look to technology and innovation to solve climate change challenges.Read More
Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) updated mission statement. Last year the House Judiciary Committee approved a similar revised mission statement as part of legislation to reauthorize USCIS.
Rep. Smith: “The updated USCIS mission statement demonstrates the agency’s commitment to protect American workers and taxpayers first. By safeguarding the integrity of the immigration process and preventing fraud, USCIS executes it duties as required by law. USCIS leadership should be thanked for carrying out this important mission on behalf of the American people.”
USCIS Mission Statement:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation's lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.Read More
San Antonio – On Saturday, March 3, at 2:00 p.m. at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the office of Congressman Lamar Smith will host an information session for Central and South Texas students, parents, counselors and educators regarding the five service academies: the United States Military Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Air Force Academy.
Service Academy and ROTC representatives will speak and then be available along with Congressman Smith’s staff to answer attendees’ questions from 3:00-4:00 p.m. Attendees will learn about the nomination process. This event is open to all area residents, not just those in the 21st District of Texas. No RSVP is necessary.
What: Service Academy Day
Who: For students, parents and family, counselors and educators interested in hearing more about the U.S. Service Academies and the nomination process
When: Saturday, March 3, 2018 – 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: UTSA Campus – One UTSA Circle Main Building, Ground Floor, 0.104. Parking is available off Bauerle Rd. in Lot 3.
Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) gave the following statement on the House Intelligence Committee’s FISA memo.
Rep. Smith: “The implications of the memo are devastating to democracy. A major law enforcement division of the U.S. government wrongly involved themselves in a presidential campaign. It would be understandable if the President and Attorney General wanted to clean house and fire anyone who used a political file compiled by the Clinton campaign as a reason to spy on American citizens.”
Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement in response to President Trump’s first State of the Union Address.
Rep. Smith: “President Trump has succeeded in carrying out many of his policy goals he laid out a year ago in his joint address to Congress. Americans are better off – millions of jobs have been created, unemployment is at a 17 year low, consumer confidence is high and the stock market is breaking records. The president’s policies are helping Americans get back to work, pay less in taxes, and build their retirement and savings accounts.
“I look forward to continuing work with President Trump to build a safe, strong and proud America.”Read More
Technology has advanced civilizations throughout history. Even in ancient civilizations, such as during the Bronze Age, technological innovation improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world. More recently, innovations have continued at increased speed. For instance, important technologies have led to lifesaving medical cures and affordable energy through hydraulic fracturing.
Technological innovation takes many forms in many fields of science. One area that needs more focus is climate change. As the climate continues to change, as it always has, we should look to technology to solve possible problems. These technologies could help us both mitigate challenges and adapt to our ever-evolving world.
This opinion is shared by some of the world’s brightest minds. The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute recently wrote, “Technology and innovation, rather than sweeping federal mandates, offer the best approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change.” Likewise, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, one of the most successful technology companies in history, has pushed for a greater focus on technology solutions. In 2016, Mr. Gates launched a new private sector technology fund with an initial investment of $1 billion.
We should celebrate this type of thinking and these actions. For too long, the government has tried to use mandatory regulations to address climate change. The previous administration proposed extensive climate regulations like the Clean Power Plan, which would have driven up basic living costs for all Americans. And its impact on climate change was negligible. The plan would have reduced global temperatures by only 0.03 degrees Celsius and reduced sea level rise by the thickness of three sheets of paper.
The Paris Climate Accord, which incorporated environmental pledges from countries around the world, failed to meet any type of arbitrary climate goal. An analysis by Bjorn Lomborg, the former director of Denmark’s Environmental Assessment Institute and advocate for long-term climate solutions, found that the Accord would only reduce global temps up to 0.17 degrees Celsius by 2100!
Another area of research that has been overlooked for too long is geoengineering. This concept involves using technology to make positive changes in our atmosphere. While this subject is at the basic research phase, many concepts are groundbreaking and warrant further investigation. One such area of research is solar radiation management, which involves slightly altering the amount of sunlight that penetrates and warms the earth. Another concept, greenhouse gas reduction, involves altering the makeup of gases in our atmosphere to ensure that levels remain safe.
In November, the Science Committee held a hearing on the topic of geoengineering with government, academic, think tank, and industry witnesses. During the hearing, experts commented on the potential power of these innovative concepts and advocated further research. While we do not yet know if these concepts will work, we should explore them further and encourage the innovative minds that are using technology to find solutions.
By focusing our resources on basic research, we can find solutions that meet our needs. America is home to some of the best scientists and greatest scientific facilities in the world. Supporting our scientists with adequate resources for technology innovation will unlock ideas and concepts that can be employed by private industry. Broad, burdensome, ineffective government regulations are not, and never will be, the solution.
As in the past, by letting technology lead the way, Americans will reap the benefits and enjoy a better quality of life.Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) issued the following statement in response to the framework on immigration reform released by the White House.
Congressman Smith: “I am disappointed in the administration’s immigration proposal. There is not much interior enforcement and it doesn’t include workforce verification, which would protect jobs for American workers. This proposal grants amnesty today and delays legal immigration reforms until a distant tomorrow. It is not a good deal for the American people. Immigration policy should put the interests of American workers and taxpayers first.”
Representative Smith is the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and its immigration subcommittee.
Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement on the Senate Democrats' vote to shut down the federal government.
Rep. Smith: “The American people can count.
“Forty-four Senate Democrats voted to shut down the government. Only four Senate Republicans wanted to do the same.
“So ten times as many Democrats as Republicans supported denying funds to our military, to children’s healthcare, and to everyday Americans.
“The Senate Democrats must be held accountable. Their actions halted government services. They can’t blame anyone else.
“The numbers don’t lie and the American people can count. Forty-four Senate Democrats voted to shut down the government.
“Let’s hope they change their mind and vote to get back to work. We have much to do to make America great.”Read More
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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Americans deserve the right to try to save their lives - my statement on the passage of the Right to Try Act of 201… https://t.co/k9IyDCRcA6
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H.R. 5247 was Passed - 267 Yeas, 149 Nays https://t.co/vt8WuvDl3b
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APD is asking the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious. If you come across ANYTHING that looks… https://t.co/KxT1Mxwlwd
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Officials continue to stress safety over worrying about your packages arriving on time. https://t.co/8heKvMRmOb