Science, Space, and Technology

Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Joint Subcommittee on Research and Technology and Subcommittee on Space Hearing - The Great American Eclipse: To Totality and Beyond

2017/09/28

The Great American Eclipse: To Totality and Beyond Hearing Charter Witnesses: Dr. James Ulvestad, assistant director (acting), Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences, National Science Foundation Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Dr. Heidi Hammel, executive vice president, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy Dr. Matthew Penn, astronomer, National Solar Observatory Ms. Michelle Nichols-Yehling, director of public observing, Adler Planetarium Read More

Smith Statement on Nomination of Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology

2017/09/15

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after President Trump nominated Dr. Walter Copan to head the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the role of Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology. Chairman Smith: “I am pleased that President Trump has nominated Walter Copan to lead NIST. Because our federal systems are prime targets for cyber-attacks, it is crucial that we maintain and heighten cybersecurity. NIST has the expertise necessary to help protect our information systems and is the front line of defense against cyber-attacks on the federal government and private sector. Rep. Abraham’s NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act and Rep. Webster’s NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act capitalize on NIST’s standards and measures, which are vital to the global competitiveness of American manufacturing, information technology, telecommunications, energy, and other critical industries.  “In addition, during the former administration, the Science Committee investigated multiple shocking events involving the agency, including illicit drug manufacturing at a NIST facility, which led to the discovery of a culture of misconduct. I look forward to working with the Trump administration and with Dr. Copan upon his confirmation to ensure these critical issues are addressed going forward and to carry out the president’s order that all federal agencies implement and abide by NIST’s cybersecurity regime.” Background: On May 2, the committee approved H.R. 2105, the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017. On March 1, the committee approved H.R. 1224, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017. In September 2015, Chairman Smith sent a letter to former National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Willie May requesting documents and information after an explosion at a NIST facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland was caused by the manufacturing of the illegal drug methamphetamine. Read More

Smith, Gowdy Request Documents, Briefing from Equifax

2017/09/14

WASHINGTON - Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) sent a letter to Mr. Richard Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Equifax Inc., requesting documents and a briefing related to their recent data breach, affecting as many as 143 million Americans. The letter states: "While the sensitive data stored by Equifax is undoubtedly a target for hackers,  Congress has a responsibility to ensure the {personally identifiable information (PII)} of all Americans is properly protected."  "Equifax holds a wealth of PII for tens of millions of Americans, providing credit checks that are a crucial part of the decision making process for home loans, credit cards, and obtaining jobs." "...the federal government relies on major credit reporting agencies like Equifax to provide identity verification services. Now, the ability of Equifax to provide such services and secure PII has been called into question." "To better understand the ramifications of the breach for consumers and the federal government, the delay by Equifax in publicizing the breach, and any mitigating steps being taken by Equifax, the Committees request a briefing by Equifax no later than September 28, 2017." Click here for full text of the letter. Background: In 2015, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) disclosed a major data breach affecting over 22 million individuals. As a result, the Committees conducted oversight and held multiple hearings examining the OPM breach.  The magnitude of the Equifax breach could potentially surpass the amount of information compromised by the OPM breach.  Equifax reportedly first learned on July 29, 2017, hackers had been accessing the PII of as many as 143 million American consumers over the prior two months.  On September 7, 2017 - nearly six weeks later - Equifax notified the public of the breach. The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology jurisdiction includes the standards of use for securing PII. The Oversight Committee has jurisdiction over how data breaches impact the federal workforce and national security. Read More

Smith, Gowdy Letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith Requesting Documents and Briefing Related to Recent Data Breach

2017/09/14

The letter can be found HERE. Read More

SST Committee Probes Previous Administration DOE Officials’ Use of Taxpayer Funds on Employee Degree Unrelated to Official Position

2017/09/12

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Perry requesting documents and information regarding the Department’s funding, during the previous administration, of a former DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE) employee’s law degree. The degree was unrelated to his professional position. According to a DOE Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, Obama administration FE officials overrode DOE policies to provide the former employee a taxpayer-funded education worth $138,000. Smith’s letter requests documents and communications related to the former employee’s job, his training and expenses, and  FE’s annual training reports. “According to the OIG report, during the prior administration FE officials approved and paid $138,000 for a general engineer to obtain a law degree and other courses unrelated to his position. The Committee is concerned this could be an indication of a more widespread occurrence of inappropriate training authorizations and expenditures within DOE,” the letter states. “DOE regulations in place at the time . . . specified that for funds spent on training or academic courses to be considered allowable expenditures, the training or courses must be mission-oriented and related to the employee’s official duties and workplace responsibilities.” DOE regulations also require employees participating in training that exceeds 180 hours to sign a Continued Service Agreement (CSA). Not only did the former employee’s training amount to approximately 1,000 hours, but the OIG report indicates that the employee was permitted to leave his DOE position without a CSA shortly after completing his degree. The committee, which has jurisdiction over energy and environmental research, has an obligation to ensure that taxpayer funds are appropriately allocated at DOE. The documents and information requested today will assist the committee in determining why this former employee received preferential treatment during his tenure at DOE and whether other employees similarly benefited. The letter can be found here. Read More

Smith Letter to Secretary Perry Regarding Previous Administration DOE Officials’ Use of Taxpayer Funds on Employee Degree Unrelated to Official Position

2017/09/12

The letter can be found HERE. Read More

**POSTPONED** Committee Hearing - Resiliency: The Electric Grid’s Only Hope

2017/09/12

**POSTPONED** This hearing will no longer occur on Sept. 12.    Resiliency: The Electric Grid’s Only Hope Hearing Charter Read More

Subcommittee on Space Hearing - Private Sector Lunar Exploration

2017/09/07

Private Sector Lunar Exploration  Hearing Charter   Opening Statement: Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) Read More

Smith Statement on Appointment of Jim Bridenstine to NASA Administrator

2017/09/06

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after President Trump announced U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) will lead the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Chairman Smith: “Jim Bridenstine has the knowledge and experience to serve as a very capable NASA administrator. He has been an active member of the Science Committee's Space Subcommittee. His service as a Naval aviator, a current member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, a former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and his work in Congress provide the expertise necessary to lead our space program. The Science Committee has jurisdiction over NASA, and I look forward to supporting the administration's efforts to maintain U.S. leadership in space.” Read More

Joint Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Oversight Hearing - Examining the Scientific and Operational Integrity of EPA’s IRIS Program

2017/09/06

Examining the Scientific and Operational Integrity of EPA’s IRIS Program Hearing Charter   Opening Statements: Environment Subcommiteee Chairman Biggs (R-Ariz.) Oversight Subcommittee Chairman LaHood (R-Ill.) Read More

Contact Information

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Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6371
Fax 202-226-0113
science.house.gov


Membership

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

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