Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith


Smith Supports Plan to Balance the Budget


The House of Representatives today passed a plan to balance the budget by 2024 without raising taxes.  The Path to Prosperity cuts $5.1 trillion in government spending over the next decade and puts America on track toward paying off our national debt.  Congressman Smith issued the following statement in support of the plan. Congressman Smith: “Once again, House Republicans have passed a proposal that balances the budget, grows our economy, reins in red tape and reduces government spending. “The Path to Prosperity balances the budget in just ten years. The President’s plan never balances the budget – ever. “The Republican plan balances the budget without raising taxes.  The President’s plan includes one trillion in new taxes. “The Republican plan repeals Obamacare and clears the way for patient-centered reforms that we know lower health care costs.  It reduces government spending by reforming major entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. “Meanwhile, the President’s plan continues this administration’s reckless spending that is driving America deeper into debt. Under the Obama administration, the national debt has increased more than any previous administration—it now exceeds $17 trillion. No family, no community, no country can sustain that kind of excessive spending.  It’s the road to bankruptcy. “The Republican budget proposal is a step in the right direction, but more must be done.  We must continue to reduce government spending and spur economic growth to ensure that future generations of Americans are debt free.”   Read More

Rep. Smith: Media Does Not Tell the Whole Story on Obamacare Delay


Congressman Lamar Smith, chair of the Media Fairness Caucus, delivered the following remarks on the House floor regarding Obamacare. Congressman Smith: “Today may be April Fools’ Day, but Americans are not fooled about the damaging effects of Obamacare. “Millions of Americans continue to receive notice that their health insurance plans are being cancelled, while others see their premiums going up.  “The Administration has waived or delayed more than 30 provisions of the law.  When will they realize the law just will not work? “Articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times tried to cover for the Administration.  One headline read, ‘U.S. to extend sign-up period for insurance.’  The other headline states that the Administration is going to ‘allow more time to enroll in health care.’ “What these articles fail to mention is that just two weeks earlier, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress that the deadline was not going to be extended. “Also, it’s been over 130 days since ABC’s Nightline focused on Obamacare and the problems with the law. “The national media should give the American people the facts, not tell them what to think.  Only when they have all the facts can Americans make good decisions.” Read More

Chairman Smith: April Fools? National Science Foundation Funded $700,000 Climate Change Musical


Click HERE for a sneak peek of what your taxpayer dollars paid for. Washington, D.C. - The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded nearly $700,000 to The Civilians, Inc., a Brooklyn, NY theatre company, for a play that is described as “a thrilling and timely production” that is “a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: how can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?” Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “This may be April Fool’s Day, but NSF’s misuse of taxpayer dollars is no joke. I support basic research, which can lead to discoveries that change our world, expand our horizons and save lives. But spending taxpayer dollars to fund a climate change musical called The Great Immensity sounds more like an immense waste of taxpayer dollars - money that could have funded higher priority research.  All government employees and their agency heads need to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer who pays their salary and funds their projects. It is not the government's money; it is the people's money.” This is not the only questionable research grant funded by the NSF. For example, the agency awarded $220,000 in taxpayer dollars to study animal photos in National Geographic and nearly $350,000 to analyze early human-set fires in New Zealand. Other questionable grants include: Ancient Icelandic textile industry (A study exploring gender, textiles and society in Iceland from the Viking Age (ca. 874-1050) until the early 19th century), $487,049 Do Turkish women wear veils because they are fashionable?, $199,088 How local Indian politicians can improve their performance, $425,000 Lawsuits in Peru from 1600 - 1700, $50,000 Mayan architecture and the salt industry during the Maya Classic period (250-900 AD), $233,141 The Frontiers in Innovation Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act, which the Committee will consider in the coming weeks, prioritizes taxpayer investments in science. Recent reports have pointed to the U.S. falling behind other nations that make targeted investments in research. To remain globally competitive, the FIRST Act ensures priorities are funded and that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. The Act increases transparency and accountability by requiring the NSF to issue summaries of how each grant contributes to the national interest.  Read more: National Science Foundation funded climate change musical to tune of $700,000 Read More

Smith: Recent CIS Report Highlights Dangerous Catch and Release of Criminal Immigrants


Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today commented on the recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that revealed the Administration is releasing thousands more criminal illegal immigrants back into American communities than they are deporting. Representative Smith: “The Administration often speaks of its so-called historic record deportation numbers. However, a recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies found that Immigration officials released more criminal and illegal immigrants into our communities than they attempted to remove last year.  In fact, Immigration and Customs Enforcement only attempted to deport about one-fourth of the illegal immigrants they encountered in 2013. Approximately 68,000 of those encountered by the Administration have criminal convictions on their records. The Administration disregarded the safety and lives of the American people when they released these criminal illegal immigrants back into our neighborhoods. “When the government puts criminal and illegal immigrants back on the street, it can have tragic results.  Studies show that these criminal and illegal immigrants are likely to repeat their offenses.  In fact, in 2012, the Congressional Research Service determined that over 26,000 criminal and illegal immigrants were re-arrested almost 58,000 times.  Their crimes ranged from drug violations to major offenses, such as rape, kidnapping, and murder. “The result of this Administration’s conscious failure to enforce immigration law threatens innocent Americans. If the President cannot be trusted to enforce our current immigration laws, he cannot be trusted to enforce any changes to our immigration policies.” Read More

Smith Criticizes Democrats’ Petition to Force Immigration Vote


Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) today commented on the Democrats’ filing a discharge petition in an attempt to force a floor vote on their immigration legislation. Representative Smith: “The Democrats’ bill to give amnesty to almost 11 million illegal immigrants is insulting to those who have been playing by the rules and waiting their turn in line. Why should those who have broken our laws be treated better than those who are obeying our laws? “The Democrats are not serious about enacting immigration legislation. If they were, they would agree to secure the border first rather than pass legislation that encourages more illegal immigration.” Read More

Smith: EPA Bypassed Scientific Review of Overreaching Water Rule


Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21), who is Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, today released the following statement after EPA released its draft rule defining “Waters of the United States” that the agency can regulate under the Clean Water Act. Congressman Smith: “As expected, the EPA’s proposed water rule expands the agency’s control over natural and man-made streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands.  If approved, this rule could allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States. In preparing this proposal, the EPA failed to incorporate adequate peer-reviewed science in accordance with the agency’s own statutory obligations.  This could be the largest expansion ever of EPA’s authority to regulate private property.  It’s troubling that the Administration proposed this expansion before its independent science advisors have had the chance to complete its review of the underlying science. The Obama administration continues to sidestep scientific integrity in order to fast track an abusive regulatory agenda.”  Read More

Smith: EPA Scientific Review Panel Lacks Independence


Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21), who is Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy raising serious concerns about the agency’s scientific advisory processes. The letter highlights potential conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency within EPA’s supposedly independent scientific panel charged with reviewing what could be the most expensive regulation in history. By EPA’s own cost estimate, lowering ozone standards to the range being discussed by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Ozone Review Panel could cost nearly $100 billion per year. Congressman Smith: “The CASAC Ozone Review Panel appears to violate agency policies designed to ensure balance, independence and impartiality. Due to the substantial economic cost associated with finalizing a more stringent ozone standard, EPA should make every effort to ensure the transparency of the regulatory process. Additional transparency is necessary to assure Congress and the American people that EPA is basing its costly regulatory decisions on the best available science and not a predetermined regulatory agenda. In light of these serious concerns, it is unacceptable for EPA to move forward with new rules without first addressing potential conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency within a panel intended to provide the agency with independent scientific assessments.” Recent testimony before the Committee and the current makeup of the panel reveal a number of problems, including: panelists reviewing their own work; a lack of turnover among CASAC Ozone Review Panel members; and existing financial relationships between panelists and the EPA. Dr. Robert Phalen, a Co-Director of the Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory and a former member of the CASAC panel on fine particulate matter, stated in testimony that the current CASAC process “is seriously flawed, it is narrowly focused, and it is even ethically questionable.”  The letter requests EPA provide all communications between agency staff, CASAC staff and the CASAC Ozone Review Panel related to potential revisions to the ozone standards. The full letter can be found here. Read More

Subcommittee Approves FIRST Act with Bipartisan Support


The Subcommittee on Research and Technology today approved the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act (H.R. 4186) with bipartisan support. The bill reauthorizes and streamlines federal investments at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by funding research and development (R&D) to address national needs.  The bill also sets priorities to drive our nation’s investments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.  The Subcommittee adopted 9 Democratic amendments and favorably reported the bill by voice vote.   Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The FIRST Act keeps America first in areas of science and research that are crucial to economic growth. Our bill focuses taxpayer investments for basic research in critical areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering and mathematics.  Advances in these fields drive innovation, create jobs and keep our economy strong. The FIRST Act also eliminates red tape, accelerates technology transfer and bolsters STEM education. A well-educated and trained STEM workforce promotes our future economic prosperity.  But we must encourage our nation’s youth to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as the FIRST Act moves forward to the full Science Committee for consideration in the coming weeks.” Additional information about the bill can be found HERE. For more information on today’s markup, including amendments and recorded votes, visit the Science, Space, and Technology website. Read More

One-Minute Floor Statement by Congressman Lamar Smith: Voters Oppose Path to Citizenship


Congressman Lamar Smith: "The American people continue to oppose amnesty. And they are putting their Member of Congress on notice. "A Washington Post-ABC national survey released last week shows that 39% of registered voters are less likely and only 27% more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who supports a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. "There is even less support for amnesty among self-described Independents. 41% are less likely and only 28% more likely to back a candidate for Congress who favors a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. "Considering the media bias in favor of amnesty, these are astounding figures. "And according to the poll, a supermajority of Republicans, 60%, claim that they are less likely to support a candidate who favors amnesty. This stands in stark contrast to the meager 14% of GOP voters who want their candidate to confer citizenship on those here illegally. "We should listen to the voters, not amnesty proponents."   Read More

FIRST Act Prioritizes Science Investments to Keep America First


Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) introduced the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act (H.R. 4186). The bill reauthorizes and streamlines federal investments at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by funding research and development (R&D) to address national needs. The bill highlights manufacturing competitiveness as the primary role of NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) while providing greater flexibility to MEP centers. It also sets priorities for taxpayer-funded research and drives our nation’s investments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs. The FIRST Act broadens the definition of STEM education to include academic subjects like computer science that build on traditional STEM subjects. The bill also includes language allowing NSF to support student participation in nonprofit competitions, out-of-school activities and field experiences related to STEM. The legislation also encourages outcome-based evaluations of STEM programs. Chairman Smith: “To remain globally competitive, we need to make sure our priorities are funded and that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. The FIRST Act funds innovative science and STEM education programs at NSF. A well-educated and trained STEM workforce will promote our future economic prosperity.  But we must persuade our nation’s youth to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. The FIRST Act encourages NSF to support out of the box learning experiences that will inspire our future scientists and engineers. Unless we act swiftly, American researchers will continue to fall behind in supercomputing and particle physics. And we risk losing our lead in nano-technology, the health sciences, aerospace, lasers and other crucial areas. To reverse this trend, the FIRST Act increases investments for basic research in critical areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering and mathematics. Advances in these fields drive innovation, create jobs and keep our economy strong. “Unfortunately, NSF has misused taxpayer dollars and funded too many questionable research grants - money that could have gone to higher priorities. For example, how does the federal government justify spending over $220,000 to study animal photos in National Geographic? Or $50,000 to study lawsuits in Peru from 1600 - 1700? We all believe in academic freedom for scientists, but federal research agencies have an obligation to explain to American taxpayers why their money is being used on such research instead of on higher priorities. In a time of constrained federal spending, the FIRST Act protects NSF’s budget in order to keep America on the cutting edge of science.” Last year, the President’s Science Advisor testified that there is “room for improvement” in how the NSF prioritizes research initiatives based on potential value to the national interest. The National Science Foundation spends nearly $7 billion every year.  Under the FIRST Act, NSF will be held accountable for grants it awards taxpayer dollars. The bill requires that NSF provide clear justifications for why grants that receive taxpayer dollars are in the national interest.  The FIRST Act does not change NSF’s peer review process. It expands accountability and transparency requirements so that only high quality research receives taxpayer funds. The U.S. still leads the world in R&D spending. But despite the U.S. government’s spending more on R&D than any other country, American pre-eminence in several science and technology fields is slipping. Experts have projected the U.S. will fall behind China in R&D spending in about ten years. The FIRST Act encourages federal science agencies to use innovative funding models for research, such as prize competitions and crowd-sourcing, to solve big problems. It also strengthens advanced manufacturing R&D partnerships among universities, national laboratories and businesses. The Subcommittee on Research and Technology is scheduled to markup H.R. 4186 on Thursday March 13, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Read More

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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


Ralph Hall


Jeb Hensarling


Joe Barton


John Culberson


Kevin Brady


Michael McCaul


Michael Conaway


Kay Granger


Mac Thornberry


Randy Weber


Bill Flores


Randy Neugebauer


Pete Olson


Kenny Marchant


Roger Williams


Michael Burgess


Blake Farenthold


John Carter


Pete Sessions


Steve Stockman


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