Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) today praised a private space company’s successful test of a reusable rocket at a test facility in West Texas. The company, Blue Origin, was the first ever to successfully launch and vertically land a rocket, which enables reuse.
Chairman Lamar Smith: “We are living in historic and exciting times. Congratulations to Blue Origin on the successful launch and landing of the New Shepard rocket yesterday in West Texas. Reusable rockets could revolutionize the space industry and promise to make future space exploration more affordable. This is one of many firsts for American space innovators and it is the reason why the SPACE Act that Congress recently passed is so important. Texas continues to play a leading role in America’s space story, just as we have for the last 50 years.”
Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin: "Blue Origin’s successful flight is a significant step in making space tourism a reality in Texas and the United States. Congratulations to the entire team for their vision, ingenuity and tireless efforts in ensuring the United States is the home of commercial space.”
The test comes on the heels of passage of the SPACE Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that encourages private American space companies to continue investing in crucial research, development, and testing without the threat of new and overbearing government regulations. Chairman Smith partnered with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), lead sponsor of the bill, to see it through to final passage in the House and Senate. It now awaits the president’s signature.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing today entitled, “The Administration’s Empty Promises for the International Climate Treaty” to examine how the administration will have difficulty meeting its commitments to the United Nations based on recent Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon emissions regulations.
Video is available on YouTube.
Chairman Smith: Over the last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released some of the most expensive and burdensome regulations in its history.
Today’s hearing will examine how the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent regulations will do little to meet the administration’s pledge at the upcoming Paris talks to reduce global carbon emissions.
The so-called Clean Power Plan will cost billions of dollars, cause financial hardship for American families, and diminish the competitiveness of American industry around the world, all with no significant benefit to climate change. It is well documented that the Clean Power Plan will shut down power plants across the country, increase electricity prices and cost thousands of Americans their jobs.
New analysis by NERA Economic Consulting shows that this final rule will impose a tremendous cost on the American people. This includes $29 billion to $39 billion in annual compliance costs and annual double-digit electricity price increases in most states.
My home state of Texas would be one of the hardest hit. According to a recent report by the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), energy costs for customers in Texas may increase by up to 16 percent per year due to the Clean Power Plan alone.
Read Chairman Smith’s full statement here.
Texan Bill Magness, Senior Vice President, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) echoed the Chairman’s concern over rising energy costs resulting from the Clean Power Plan.
Video is available on YouTube.
Mr. Bill Magness: The CPP will also result in increased wholesale and retail energy costs in the ERCOT Region. Based on ERCOT’s analysis, energy costs for customers may increase by up to 16% by 2030 due to the CPP alone, without accounting for the associated costs of transmission upgrades, higher natural gas prices caused by increased gas demand, procurement of additional ancillary services, and other costs associated with the retirement or decreased operation of coal-fired capacity in the ERCOT Region. Consideration of these factors would result in even higher energy costs for customers.
Read Magness’ full testimony here.Read More
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 4038, the American SAFE Act, with an almost veto-proof majority. Smith has called for halting and defunding the relocation of Syrian refugees, sponsored legislation to allow governors to refuse to accept Syrian refugees, and is working on legislation to address issues with refugee services for “special interest aliens” who are crossing our Southern border, as well as Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “The president’s insistence that we move forward with his refugee plans is irresponsible, tone-deaf to the reality of security threats, and out-of-touch with the American people. Americans feel that bringing Syrian refugees into our country jeopardizes our security. I agree. I’ve questioned numerous Obama administration officials, including at this morning’s Immigration Subcommittee hearing, and none have been able to tell me that we have the ability to thoroughly screen these refugees. We must halt all refugee resettlement and fill in the gaps in our refugee resettlement programs.”
Smith’s announcement of other legislation comes as DHS officials this week confirmed that 8 Syrians have been arrested after attempting to cross the Texas border.
A recent Bloomberg poll showed that 53% of U.S. adults say the U.S. should stop taking in refugees and a NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll shows 56% of Americans oppose letting Syrian refugees into the country.
At least one of the men involved in the latest ISIS attacks recently came to France as a refugee from Syria, and the terrorist group has said it will seek to infiltrate the U.S. using the refugee program. The Obama administration has said it will not change its plans to bring at least 10,000 Syrians to the U.S. in this year alone.
At a Thursday morning House Judiciary hearing, Smith questioned State Department official Anne Richard, who admitted that Syrian refugees are “treated pretty much like ordinary Americans and they are not tracked.” Video from the exchange can be found below.
Click here or on the photo above for video of Congressman Smith’s exchange with a State Department official about security screening for Syrian refugees.Read More
Washington, DC - Representatives Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), and Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) are calling for a temporary suspension of Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) resettlement funding for all refugees, as well as individuals not in a legitimate lawful status. The lawmakers’ approach includes but also extends beyond refugee services for Syrian, Iraqi and other refugees and reflects the need to examine the resettlement of potential “special interest aliens” who are crossing our Southern border. The lawmakers are currently crafting language to address the issue for inclusion in an omnibus spending bill.
The Members argue that congressional action to protect American citizens from Islamic State terrorists must acknowledge vulnerabilities in our overseas vetting process as well as our domestic security vulnerabilities. Islamic State terrorists can just as easily pose as illegal aliens crossing our southern border as they can refugees fleeing a war torn country overseas.
The Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety was recently asked whether Islamic State terrorists had infiltrated the Southern border. He responded, “Individuals that come across the Texas/Mexican border from countries with a known terrorism presence and the answer to that is yes.”1 In April, a Judicial Watch report cited a Mexican Army officer and police inspector who asserted that ISIS was operating training bases in close proximity of the U.S. Southern border.2 Another report from August 2014 advised that social media traffic indicated ISIS was planning to “infiltrate” the Southern border in order to carry out a terrorist attack.3
ORR has failed to submit annual reports in a timely manner as required by section 413(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, despite being directly involved in the resettlement of thousands of illegal aliens who have crossed our Southern border over the past few years. Further, ORR’s budget has grown exponentially from approximately $750 million in FY2012 funding to over $1.5 billion currently. Repeated attempts by Members of Congress to conduct legitimate oversight of this entity have been met by delays, obstruction and a failure to produce information.
The vetting and resettlement processes associated with services for refugees and aliens not in a legitimate lawful status must be re-examined in order to address threats from all potential access points. Accordingly, all resettlement services should be temporarily suspended. If Congress funds ORR without such restrictions, Congress will be providing the President the funds to carry out his refugee resettlement efforts in full – both from countries overseas as well as through the resettlement of illegal aliens at the Southern border.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was established by the Refugee Act of 1980. It operates within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to ORR’s FY2013 Annual Report, its “mission is to link these newly-arrived populations to key resources to maximize their potential in the U.S., and to become integrated and successful members of American society.” ORR has settled more than three million refugees from seventy different countries since it was established.
1. Kellan Howell, Texas top cop: Islamic State terrorist might cross southern border. Washington Times, October 6, 2015. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/6/steven-mccraw-texas-top-cop-islamic-state-terroris/
2. Edmund DeMarche, ISIS operating base few miles from Texas border, group warns. Fox News, April 16, 2015. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/04/16/isis-reportedly-operating-base-few-miles-from-texas-border/
3. Jana Winter, Online Posts Show ISIS Eyeing Mexican Border, says law enforcement bulletin. FoxNews, August 29, 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/29/online-posts-show-isis-eyeing-mexican-border-says-law-enforcment-bulletin/
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today cosponsored legislation intended to give governors the ability to protect their states by refusing to accept Syrian refugees. The bill, H.R.4032, The States’ Right of Refugee Refusal Act, was introduced by Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas).
Congressman Lamar Smith: “We are not going to simply sit back and allow this administration to endanger American lives. Congress should defund and halt the relocation of Syrian refugees to the U.S. I fully support this legislation and the actions of governors like Texas Governor Abbott to protect the residents and the interests of their states.”
The bill will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ensure that States have the right to refuse to participate in the Refugee Resettlement program if their Governor chooses to opt out. Right now, the Refugee Resettlement Act only permits consultation with the States, but it does not clearly give the States the right to refuse.
At least one of the men involved in the latest ISIS attacks recently came to France as a refugee from Syria, and the terrorist group has said it will seek to infiltrate the U.S. using the refugee program. The Obama administration has said it will not change its plans to bring at least 10,000 Syrians to the U.S. in this year alone.Read More
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement calling for a halt in Syrian refugees in light of known security issues and the most recent attacks in Paris. At least one of the men involved in the latest ISIS attacks recently came to France as a refugee from Syria.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “Even before the latest brutal attacks in Paris, Americans have had grave concerns about the Obama administration’s plan to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to our shores. In recent congressional hearings, I asked both FBI Director Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Johnson about the security risk these refugees pose. Both have admitted they do not currently have the ability to properly screen and conduct sufficient background checks on these individuals. Yet the president continues to insist we bring Syrian refugees to the United States. We know that at least one of the ISIS attackers emigrated to France in recent weeks as part of their refugee program. At a time when we are on high alert, all plans for relocating Syrian refugees should come to a screeching halt. We should not allow Syrian refugees into our country until this administration can guarantee that they pose no danger to the American people.”
DHS Secretary Johnson and FBI Director Comey were both present at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on October 21st when Smith asked about the risks posed by Syrian refugees. In that hearing, Secretary Johnson said only that interviews were being conducted and acknowledged that “there is no risk-free process.” In a House Judiciary Committee hearing later the same week, Director Comey admitted that determining which refugees could pose a threat would be “challenging.”
San Antonio, Texas— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement in response to reports of multiple terrorist attacks throughout Paris.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “Our hearts are deeply grieved to learn of multiple attacks throughout Paris that have taken the lives of many innocent people. These are cowardly, senseless, brutal acts of terrorism. Tonight we mourn with the people of France, and we strengthen our resolve to stand against this evil.”Read More
Boerne, Texas— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement in observance of Veterans Day.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “In observation of Veterans Day, we honor all the veterans, past and present, who have served our country and defended our nation’s freedoms. America is a stronger country today because of the sacrifices our veterans have made. The debt that we owe our brave servicemen and women can never fully be repaid.
“Our commitment to our men and women in uniform should be more than a symbolic gesture. I have supported and the House of Representatives has passed numerous bills in the 114th Congress to uphold our promises to our veterans. These bills that increase accountability at the VA, provide jobs for servicemen and servicewomen, and ensure that all veterans receive the benefits and care they deserve.
“Our commitment to our veterans is not something to remember only one day a year, but a commitment which lasts a lifetime. The 21st Congressional District is home to over 60,000 veterans, current members of the military and their families. If my office can ever be of assistance with questions or concerns regarding veterans' benefits, please contact my San Antonio, Austin or Kerrville District Offices. We stand ready to assist you.”
Smith is attending a Veterans Day program Boerne, a ceremony recognizing eight living and four deceased local World War II veterans by the French Order of the Legion of Honor in Fredericksburg, and the Kerr County Veterans Day Parade. The program in Boerne will include the dedication of a new highway sign renaming a stretch of I-10 in honor of Vietnam War veteran PFC Milton A. Lee, who posthumously earned the Medal of Honor for actions in combat that cost him his life in 1968 while saving lives of others. Smith led legislation and worked with local VFW Post 688 in Boerne in a yearlong effort that resulted in Smith’s bill being signed into law in August 2015.
Rep. Smith also recently partnered with the National Association of Broadcasters as part of a public service campaign showing support for our troops. The video can be viewed below.
Supporting our Troops
Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith today released the following statement after President Obama announced he is rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
Chairman Smith: “The president’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline is a win for environmental extremists, but a loss for Americans. Years of independent analysis have clearly shown the project would not exacerbate carbon pollution. This administration routinely dismisses sound science in favor of its extreme environmental agenda. In rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, the president said no to 40,000 new energy jobs. Americans are paying attention. This administration would rather pander to its allies than approve a project that creates thousands of jobs and promotes American energy independence.”
The Committee has held hearings to review the extensive science supporting the safety and environmental features of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The project submitted a Presidential Permit six years ago and has undergone extensive review since then.
Despite claims from the president and those who oppose the project, the president’s own State Department has stated that the pipeline would “have a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline” and concluded it would have minimal impact to resources along the proposed route. This analysis includes thousands of pages of environmental impact assessment, hundreds of thousands of public comments and extensive public and interagency dialogue.Read More
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after voting once more in support of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016. If passed by the Senate the bill would be sent to President Obama, who vetoed a previous version of the bill.
Congressman Lamar Smith: “Today I voted once more to support those who go to work every day to protect America. It is time for the president to put away his political agenda and stand with us in support of our troops. They have waited long enough for this legislation. In the House we will continue to pass this defense bill as many times as it takes to provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need and the benefits they have earned.”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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The rarest of beasts - a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right, can look easy. Check out video: https://t.co/9OypFoxZk3