Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith


Rep. Smith Votes to Boost Resources for the Military


Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) voted to provide critical resources for our national security with his support for The National Defense Authorization Act. The bipartisan bill passed 344-81.

The 21st Congressional District is home to Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston and over 60,000 active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families. Congressman Smith gave the following statement on the bill.

Rep. Smith: “As we know in Texas, a state where military culture runs deep, the men and women who keep us safe are our country’s most valuable asset. Congress has the responsibility to provide them the resources, care and pay raise they need, earned, and deserve.

“After a decade and a half of cuts, we are providing the measures to rebuild and maintain our military. The 2.4 percent pay raise in the bill is the highest in eight years. The legislation also increases the number of troops, provides greater training opportunities, and prioritizes the restoration and modernization of our military facilities. I will continue to work for the servicemen and women who sacrifice so that all Americans can be free.”


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Smith Votes to Protect Americans with ‘No Sanctuary for Criminals Act’ and ‘Kate’s Law’


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) voted today in support of the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law – bills that strengthen immigration enforcement and crack down on the dangerous sanctuary policies have failed the American people and cost too many lives.

Rep. Smith: “These bills are a down payment on our pledge to protect innocent Americans from criminal immigrants who deserve to be jailed or sent back to their home countries.

“There is absolutely no excuse for local governments to ignore immigration laws at the expense of the safety and well-being of Americans like Kate Steinle. Kate’s Law protects public safety by enhancing penalties for deported felons who return to the United States. Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminal Act keep dangerous criminal immigrants off our streets and out of our neighborhoods, a goal that should be shared by all.”

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Smith Statement on President Signing VA Accountability Bill into Law


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement today following President Trump signing the bipartisan Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1094) into law.

Rep. Smith: “President Trump is honoring his promise to hold accountable VA employees 'who let our veterans down.' The legislation signed today allows the VA Secretary more flexibility to remove, demote or suspend employees who are engaged in unprofessional behavior and not providing the quality of service our veterans deserve. It’s unfair to veterans and the vast majority of dedicated staff at Texas VA facilities when the agency doesn’t hold employees accountable.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ arcane civil service rules have allowed for months of paid leave for an employee who was involved in an armed robbery, a nurse who took part in surgery while intoxicated and a manager responsible for hospital construction delays costing over $1 billion. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 creates a more efficient and streamlined removal process for poor performing employees while still protecting due process rights and the right to appeal. 

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Rep. Smith Statement on Trump Administration Ending Obama Executive Amnesty Program


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement today on the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.”

Rep. Smith: “The DAPA program is an unconstitutional action taken by President Obama that granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. I support the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind this illegal program and restore the rule of law.” 

Background compiled by the House Judiciary Committee:

  • Before taking executive action on immigration, President Obama stated 22 times that he does not have the authority to change immigration laws on his own. On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced unilateral changes to the nation’s immigration laws, allowing potentially millions of unlawful immigrants to stay in the United States without a vote of Congress.
  • In December 2014, 26 states – led by the State of Texas – filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration.
  • On February 17, 2015, a federal judge temporarily blocked President Obama’s unilateral immigration actions.
  • Following this decision, Chairman Goodlatte, Congressman Smith and other Members of Congress filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a continued injunction against President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration in the case of United States v. Texas.
  • On November 10, 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction preventing President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration from being implemented. Following this decision, the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the case.
  • On March 17, 2016, the House, approved H. Res. 639, a resolution allowing the Speaker to file a brief on behalf of the whole House of Representatives defending Congress’ Article I powers to write our nation’s laws. The House filed its brief on April 4, 2016.
  • On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court effectively blocked President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration from being implemented for the remainder of the Obama Administration, allowing a lower court ruling to stand.
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Smith Votes to Create a Culture of Accountability at the VA


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith voted today to support The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1094).

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ arcane civil service rules have allowed for months of paid leave for an employee who was involved in an armed robbery, a nurse who took part in surgery while intoxicated and a manager responsible for hospital construction delays costing over $1 billion. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 creates a more efficient and streamlined removal process for poor performing employees while still protecting due process rights and the right to appeal.

Rep. Smith: “This legislation allows the VA Secretary more flexibility to remove, demote or suspend employees who are engaged in unprofessional behavior and not providing the quality of service our veterans deserve. It’s unfair to veterans and the vast majority of dedicated employees at Texas VA facilities when the agency doesn’t hold employees accountable.”

In March, the House passed H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017. The Senate passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 on June 6, 2017. Because the Senate accountability bill passed today in the House, it will now go to the President Trump to be signed into law. 

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Rep. Smith: “Communities Across Texas Will be Well-Served by Financial CHOICE Bill”


Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) gave the following statement on his vote in support of the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), which passed in the House 233-186:

Rep. Smith: “The Dodd-Frank law over-regulates the financial services sector and has permanently closed the doors of hundreds of local banks across the country. Under Dodd-Frank it has become more expensive for families to buy a home, send a child to college, plan for retirement or to start a business.

“The Financial CHOICE Act removes burdens that discourage bank lending, decreases the cost of compliance, and improves access to credit. The CHOICE Act also ends Dodd-Frank’s taxpayer bailout of banks, called “Too Big To Fail.” Communities across Texas and America will be well-served by the accountability, opportunities and transparency in Chairman Hensarling’s bill.” 

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Let’s Put an End to One-Sided Science


Science plays a critical role in the lives of all Americans. Every day, people around the world devote their lives to science and strive to advance our understanding of such complex subjects as human health and the environment.

To uphold the highest professional standards means to support the scientific method. This model helps guarantee that theories undergo rigorous experimentation and that when results do not match the original hypothesis or when reproducibility is not possible, that scientists reconsider their theories.

The media often overlook the fact that many of these “scientific discoveries” cannot be reproduced, which is a basic tenet of the scientific method. In 2016, Nature conducted a survey of over 1,500 scientists, which found that 70 percent of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments.

Scientists should be held to the same level of scrutiny as professionals in all fields. They are not without fault and their work should not be exempt from inspection. In fact, because their work frequently leads to costly environmental regulations paid for by hardworking Americans, scientists should be held to the highest standards. It does a disservice to all scientists if some are dismissing basic principles of the scientific method and producing results that cannot be verified.

Scientists today are hesitant to consider contradictory viewpoints and change their hypotheses, even when presented with contradictory credible data. This comes as no surprise when the media are quick to publish what they call mainstream scientific findings and scientists are largely funded by those with a predetermined agenda.

In effect, the media are dictating what science is worth believing. This type of behavior is anti-science and should be shut down. Let science stand on its own merits, and let American citizens have access to all the science. We should also invite open and honest debate, not stifle differing scientific opinions. These basic scientific principles underpin commonsense legislation that I have sponsored such as the HONEST Act, which requires that Environmental Protection Agency regulations be based on data that is publicly available.

Those who claim to be on the side of science, yet reject scientific data that does not fit their worldview, appeared to be overwhelmingly represented at the “March for Science.” Marching for science should mean having the courage to consider all credible viewpoints, even those that could potentially disprove long-standing theories. Marching for science means accepting that science is never settled, and that new observations and discoveries cannot be ignored and should even be encouraged.

The Science Committee is committed to advancing science by upholding its core principles. Just last month, the committee held a hearing on climate science and the scientific method with notable and respected scientific scholars. Unfortunately, many chose not to focus on the remaining scientific uncertainties we face before meaningful action is considered. Scientific debate should continue to enhance our understanding of issues such as the world’s changing climate.

It is unfortunate that those who question what the media and others consider the scientific “status quo” are stigmatized as being “against science.” It is time to recognize that science is not a set of facts, but a path to discovery, with rapidly changing theories and persistent inquiry.

We as a society should welcome commentary from both sides of scientific debates. When it comes to science on which environmental regulations are based, for example, a holistic approach is the only way to move from “trust-me science” to science that has a strong foundation based on the scientific method.

Congressman Lamar Smith represents the 21st district of Texas in the House of Representatives and is the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

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U.S. Congress probes underlying costs of research


Rising fees for building upkeep, administration eat into federal grant funding

Overhead costs, such as fees for administrative support and building maintenance, are on a slow rise and becoming a larger share of federal research spending, a congressional investigator said May 24.

A study by the Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress, shows that some $1.3 billion out of NSF’s $6 billion annual research budget is consumed by payment of these indirect costs to universities and research institutions.

Similarly, in 2015, the National Institutes of Health spent some $6.3 billion on indirect costs, accounting for 27% of its $24 billion extramural research budget, notes John Neumann, director of natural resources & environment at GAO. He discussed GAO’s findings at a U.S. House or Representatives hearing.

Members of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee expressed concern about GAO’s findings.

“We must look at whether or not those overhead funds are being spent efficiently,” said Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), “particularly in a time of tough budgets, when only one out of five research grant proposals are funded.”

Comstock, who chairs the panel’s Subcommittee on Research & Technology, pointed out that since the 1960s, every institution negotiates its own indirect cost rate with the federal government. Indirect cost rates for universities and institutions vary widely from less than 1% to more than 60%.

This overhead, says Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas), “would pay for 2,000 more scientific research projects. It raises a question of whether or not we have inadvertently created a system of ‘haves and have nots,’ where wealthy institutions benefit the most.”

Overhead spending varies by region and research type, Duke University’s James Luther told lawmakers. Medical research’s high overhead costs, he said, stem from complex facilities and equipment. Public policy research, in contrast, calls for more computers and office space.

But, Luther stressed, direct costs, which cover the cost of researchers’ salaries and equipment, inseparable from indirect ones. “If direct costs are the gas for the research engine, facilities and administrative reimbursements are the oil. A research engine requires both.”

Lawmakers and hearing witnesses talked about possible reforms, including a ranking system that weighs overhead costs or a fixed overhead cap. Overall, however, they expressed concern along the lines of committee member Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who warned of “unintended consequences” in cutting science budgets or reducing overhead costs.

“Let’s be certain any changes we make keep the best scientists doing the most important work,” Beyer said. “Let’s make sure we are not initiating a race to the bottom, with prizes to the lowest bidder doing the least valuable research.”

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Smith Statement on President Trump’s Budget


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) released the following statement today after the Administration released the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Rep. Smith: “President Trump is keeping his promises to build a strong military, secure the border, cut taxes and lower deficits. The President’s plan balances budget and reins in federal spending programs that ballooned under the Obama administration.”

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Trump’s order to strengthen federal cybersecurity seen by House leaders as key to protecting nation


U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Fred Upton (R-MI) voiced support for an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Thursday to fortify the federal government’s computer security networks and bolster national defenses.

Under the executive order, agency heads will have 90 days to review cybersecurity capabilities, they will be “accountable for managing cybersecurity risk to their enterprises,” and they will be required to adopt the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity drafted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Blackburn, the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Upton, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, and Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, lauded the order as a key step in shoring up economic and national security.

“Given the importance cybersecurity plays in our daily lives, our economic well being, and its integral role in our nation’s infrastructure, we have to ensure that all federal agencies are adequately prepared and actively working to mitigate the actions of malicious actors across the country and around the globe,” Blackburn and Upton said in a joint statement. “We welcome this review and are looking forward to working with the administration to fortify the nation’s cyber infrastructure.”

Smith noted that cybersecurity is critical to national security, and that Trump’s order signals that he is taking the matter seriously.

“This executive order gives federal agencies the right direction, goals and priorities to keep America safe,” Smith said. “Requiring federal agencies to use the NIST Framework will help ensure cyber readiness across the government.”

Smith noted that his committee previously advanced legislation, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment and Auditing Act, H.R. 1224, that would help implement the executive order. The measure would require NIST to assist agencies in adopting the framework, assessing preparedness and evaluating effectiveness.

“I’m also pleased to see cyber-workforce development underscored in the executive order,” Smith said.

“To effectively manage cybersecurity, we need a talented and qualified workforce to protect our information and networks. Cyber-attacks are a growing threat to our country, to our economy, and to individuals’ privacy,” Smith added.

Trump’s executive order also said the government would prioritize more collaborative public-private partnerships in threat assessment, detection, protection and mitigation when it comes to protecting the nation’s infrastructure.

And the federal government will work to strengthen its deterrence posture as a nation and forge international coalitions to fight back against cyberattacks across the globe, the order said.

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Rep. Smith: Majority of Voters Back President's Travel Vetting

2017-07-12 21:33:28

The Proper Role of the Judiciary

2017-05-17 18:17:14

Rep. Smith speaks about the impact of environmental regulations

2017-04-06 14:02:47

Rep. Smith: Was Surveillance of Trump Illegal?

2017-04-05 01:30:30

Smith: Restoring Enforcement of our Nations Immigration Laws

2017-03-28 19:30:44

News 4 WOAI: Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

2017-03-16 19:28:44

President Hits Home Run

2017-03-01 20:57:03

Keep Americans Safe

2017-01-31 20:06:45

Rep. Smith: Has the Media Learned Any Lessons?

2016-11-15 18:15:52

Rep Smith and Sheriff Pamerleau discuss Oct. 19 Community Safety Event

2016-10-18 14:10:08

Rep. Smith: President's immigration policies put Americans at risk

2016-09-22 16:01:16

Smith: IRS conduct "abuse of office," "attack on freedom of speech"

2016-09-22 14:18:07

Media Fairness Caucus (MFC): Floor Speech - The Media Shows Their Bias

2016-09-13 21:11:58

Media Fairness Caucus (MFC): Poll - Americans Believe the Media is Biased

2016-09-13 21:05:29

Rep. Smith Speaks on FBI's notes from interviewing Hillary Clinton

2016-09-13 19:28:02

Media Fairness Caucus (MFC): Is Facebook Suppressing Conservative Views?

2016-07-15 21:01:49

Media Fairness Caucus (MFC): Networks' Coverage of Orlando Attack Biased

2016-07-15 20:40:23

Smith: Ginsburg Showed Bad Judgement

2016-07-15 20:33:11

Rep. Smith Questions FBI Director Comey at Homeland Security Hearing

2016-07-14 21:38:02

Administration's Immigration Policies Hurt Americans

2016-07-06 19:45:24

Contact Information

2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4236
Fax 202-225-8628

Committee Assignments

Science, Space, and Technology

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


John Ratcliffe


Jeb Hensarling


Joe Barton


John Culberson


Kevin Brady


Michael McCaul


Michael Conaway


Kay Granger


Mac Thornberry


Randy Weber


Bill Flores


Jodey Arrington


Pete Olson


Will Hurd


Kenny Marchant


Roger Williams


Michael Burgess


Blake Farenthold


John Carter


Pete Sessions


Brian Babin


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