Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith


Government needs to get out of the way of small business


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.

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Open data and protecting privacy — we can do both


After EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he will implement a policy to make our government more accountable to the American people, we’ve seen massive media coverage misrepresenting the potential effects of such a policy.

Regrettably, the EPA is able to make rules and regulations based on data that not even rule-makers at the agency have seen. It’s time to change that.

We all want clean air and clean water, both today and for future generations. It is the EPA’s mission to ensure that happens. We all also agree that the best available science should underlie EPA’s rules and regulations.

I have long worked to implement a policy that requires the EPA to base its rules on science that is publicly available. Opponents disagree – they prefer to keep this data hidden. But if we do that, how could we – scientists, policymakers and American citizens – confirm that the regulations that dramatically impact our lives are based on the best available science? If all we can see are studies’ conclusions, we don’t know whether those conclusions are based on sound science.

Those who oppose making the data public claim it will expose personal information. But confidential patient data and other personal information should and can be kept private. Making data publicly available, as I’ve advocated in the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act), does not mean making confidential information available to anyone with a keyboard.

In fact, there are several ways to make data public without revealing any confidential information. Redacting personally identifying information is one option that agencies across the federal government have used for years. Where redaction would limit the quality of datasets for individuals who wish to see the data underlying a study, access could be granted after they agree to keep the data confidential.

Much of the data that is currently available already requires those requesting datasets to fulfill contractual obligations, preventing them from disseminating confidential patient information. While the HONEST Act’s opponents ignore these facts, others in the scientific community recognize the importance of access to data.

The Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) recently provided recommendations for agencies implementing the Obama administration’s public access requirements. The AAU and APLU highlight the “growing demand among scholars and the public to have broader access to each other’s data” and recommend that the minimum standard be “data that are essential to understanding and reproducing peer reviewed publications … to be accessible for re-analysis,” while adhering to rules protecting personal information.

Those in the scientific community who support disclosing data while protecting confidential information should also support the HONEST Act, which furthers the same goals.

Many opponents of open data have wrongly concluded that requiring new regulations to be based on “publicly available” data will disqualify studies from being considered. A recent article alleges that such a policy would “force the EPA to ignore” studies based on confidential health information. This argument is fraudulent. The reality is that the EPA will consider these studies when they adhere to the publicly available standard.

Open access to science is a goal that furthers public debate and benefits the American people. So the HONEST Act is receiving unfounded criticism from those who know that the data may not justify the regulations.

The American people have a right to understand why and how regulatory decisions are made.

Smith is chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

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Rep. Smith on Passing of Barbara Bush


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) issued the following statement on the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush.  

Rep. Smith: “Mrs. Bush and President George H.W. Bush have been long-time friends and were very helpful when I started my career in Congress. The family has done much for the state of Texas and our country. As first lady, Mrs. Bush focused on literacy and dyslexia, causes near to hearts of millions of Americans. Her efforts brought the gift of reading to countless children. The country rightfully celebrates her life and accomplishments.”

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Congressman Lamar Smith Statement on Tax Day


Washington, DC – Today, April 17, Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) gave the following statement on Tax Day.

Rep. Smith: “We’re celebrating Tax Day this year because April 17 marks the last time that taxpayers will ever have to deal with the old, broken tax code. The enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brought the biggest change to the tax code in more than 30 years. The bill reduces taxes, gives bigger paychecks to families and continues to create new jobs for Americans. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces taxes for 80 percent of all households and 90 percent of wage earners will take home more pay.

“The reforms are in full effect allowing for simpler tax filing and relief from Obamacare’s individual mandate for next year’s Tax Day.

“This week in the House, we’re also considering nine bills that redesign the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), enhance customer service, improve the IRS’s vastly outdated IT infrastructure, and modernize the appeals process. We are taking the biggest and boldest step in 20 years to reform the IRS with a singular mission: ‘Taxpayer First.’”

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Rep. Smith Votes to Balance Budget


Washington, DC – Today Congressman Smith voted for a balanced budget amendment (H.J. Res. 2) to the Constitution to restore fiscal responsibility and accountability to federal government spending. The proposal for a balanced budget amendment did not pass in the House with a vote of 233-184.

Congressman Lamar Smith: “American families balance their checkbooks and so should the government. I was a member of the Budget Committee when we achieved the last balanced budget. And I have co-sponsored other balanced budget amendments to the Constitution. I will continue to support legislation that reduces federal spending, the deficit, and the national debt.”

Background: This bill requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress annually. Congress is authorized to waive these requirements when a declaration of war is in effect or if the United States is engaged in military conflict that causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security.

Watch video of Congressman Smith speaking about the Balanced Budget Amendment on the House floor here.  

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Smith Statement on Speaker Ryan Not Seeking Re-Election


Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) gave the following statement on Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement that he will retire at the end of his term.

Congressman Smith: “It has been a great pleasure to serve with Speaker Paul Ryan in the People’s House for nearly 20 years. He is a real workhorse and I understand how after much time away on the job he is making this decision to be with his family.

“Speaker Ryan has provided conservative leadership needed to enact important legislation for the American people. His legacy in Congress will be that of fighting for taxpayers – last year the House passed and the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the biggest update to the tax code in more than 30 years. The bill reduced taxes, has given bigger paychecks to families and is continuing to result in new jobs for Americans.

“Also important to Texas’ 21st district, Speaker Ryan has prioritized rebuilding our country’s military by advancing legislation that makes the investments needed to get our troops ready to deploy, get our planes and pilots back in the air, and rebuild military infrastructure. I look forward to serving out the rest of this Congress with Speaker Ryan.”

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Smith: “Americans Deserve Right to Try”


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.”


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Climate change and the scientific method - we should welcome new research, not resist it


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.

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Smith Applauds New USCIS Mission Statement


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.

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Service Academy Day for H.S. Students March 3 at UTSA


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.


PDF iconAcademy Day 2018 Flyer.pdf

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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


John Carter


Pete Sessions


Brian Babin


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