Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith


Rep. Smith on DOJ's IG Report: “Sad Day for a Respected Institution”


WASHINGTON – Congressman Smith issued the following response to the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FBI action ahead of the 2016 election and their handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State:

Rep. Smith: “It is a sad day for a very respected institution. Many at the FBI, including former director James Comey, did not act professionally. It is clear that many of their actions were politically motivated, including inexcusable leaks to media that were undoubtedly intended to damage then-candidate Trump. It’s regrettable that Hillary Clinton received favorable treatment that would not have been given to any usual citizen. It’s possible she violated criminal laws and was not held accountable.”


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Rep. Smith Votes to Boost Military Resources, Authorize Pay Raise


Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) voted to provide critical resources for our national security with his support for the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan bill passed 351-66.

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: “This bill is a commitment to rebuild our military. The authorization legislation gives our troops their biggest pay raise in 9 years, provides training for all branches, updates infrastructure and supports new technology development."

Read more about NDAA here.

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Reinforcements in the media bias battle


The media are trying to destroy President Trump, discredit Republicans and elect Democrats.

What to do? With less than six months until the November election, every day counts. To ignore the media’s nonstop attacks is to condone their goals.

The liberal media bias is the overriding campaign issue. It trumps any legislation Congress could pass. It tops any action the Republican Party could take. And that’s because the media prevents Republican officeholders and candidates from getting their message to the voters. So unless media bias is confronted, it almost doesn’t matter what Republicans do.

Consider the good news: Consumer confidence, economic growth, the unemployment rate and the stock market are all setting multiyear records. If Mr. Trump were a Democrat, he would be praised loudly and hourly by the media. Instead, the media criticizes him and his administration in every way possible.

The media may want their readers and viewers to believe that all is chaos in the White House, but Americans are signaling their disagreement in two ways. First, as of April their confidence in the direction of the country was at an 18-year high. And second, two-thirds of Americans perceive the media as slanted.

Still, the media’s bias takes a toll. When Americans only hear one side of a story, it inevitably has an impact. One investigation found that the media’s bias has cost Republican presidential candidates 5 percent of the vote. In other words, without the pervasive bias, we would have had a President McCain, a President Romney and an overwhelmingly victorious President Trump. Without doubt, many more Republicans would have been elected to Congress, too.

Given the media’s obvious efforts to help determine the outcome of elections, it is inexplicable that Republican leaders choose to ignore the media’s devastating influence. Maybe they feel their message on issues is getting through to the people — it’s not. Maybe they feel the media will eventually play nice — they won’t. They seek more government control, higher taxes and more regulations, and Republicans stand in the way.

Some Republicans say the variety and number of news outlets counters the liberal bias. That is unfounded wishful thinking. For instance, the three network news stations attract 10 times the viewers of Fox News, which is not reliably conservative. National Public Radio, on the left, has more listeners than any radio talk show on the right. And some social media platforms use algorithms that suppress conservative views.

The media have decided to promote a political agenda, not report the news objectively. They tell the American people what to think rather than give them the facts. They have sacrificed their credibility on an altar of partisanship. They can no longer claim to be the neutral guardians of democracy.

If it’s not too late, what should motivated Republican leaders and their supporters do? Assuming they recognize the dire threat posed by the media, three initiatives are necessary to offset the bias:

  • Back up Mr. Trump when he points out “fake” news and catches the media off-base. He is leading the charge, but he needs troops behind him. Republicans have been waiting decades for a president who would take on media bias. There is strength in numbers; he deserves our help.
  • Educate the voters. They realize the media detest Mr. Trump. They know news stories have become opinion pieces. No other president has received 90 percent negative coverage. And it’s relentless. Voters need to be reminded they are only getting the anti- Trump, liberal angle.
  • All Republicans can take action. Speak up. Demand that Republican leaders challenge media bias. Write letters to news directors. Gather information from media watch organizations like the Daily Caller and the Media Research Center. Expose the media as being an appendage of the Democratic Party. They are nearly one and the same — “mediacrats.”

We cannot delay. Every minute that goes by is an opportunity lost. Republican leaders should lace every speech with examples of media bias. Republican stalwarts should contact the media and insist on balanced reporting. And voters should register their complaints by the way they cast their ballots on Election Day.

Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, serves as chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and is founder and chairman of the House Media Fairness Caucus.


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Opinion: The Special Counsel Probe Is Tainted


It’s time for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to be restrained. The process is tainted, which should limit, if not end, the investigation.

There is a legal term called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” If the evidence, or tree, is tainted, then anything gained from the evidence — the fruit — is tainted as well.

The evidence that triggered the special counsel’s Russia investigation was the 35-page opposition research document known as the “Steele dossier.” Democratic campaign operatives funded the dossier — it was not an independent intelligence report. And it was later shared with the FBI, whose former director, James Comey, has acknowledged that allegations in the document could have been made up.

Another reason given for the investigation: the contents of Comey’s questionable personal memos. The former FBI director intentionally leaked these classified memos recounting his version of conversations he had with President Donald Trump, hoping they would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.

Comey admitted this at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last year, testifying, “I needed to get that out into the public square. And … I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

He got exactly what he wanted, even if it was unfair to the president, possibly illegal, and tarnished the reputation of the FBI. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel days after the Comey memos were made public.

Under the poisonous tree doctrine, if the premise is faulty, the conclusion must also be faulty. Since the evidence for a special counsel was tainted, so too was his appointment.

The process has also been poisoned. To continue the expansive investigation violates a legal principle and dishonors our system of justice.

Despite the investigation’s faulty premise, the probe continues. Here’s how it is being carried out.

The scope of the special counsel is limited to “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the [2016] campaign.” But the special counsel has far exceeded his authority.

For example, he indicted several Russians in February for a web-based operation targeting the United States. The individuals used stolen American identities as part of a sophisticated plot to wage “information warfare” against the U.S. Their effort spanned four years and began before Donald Trump even entered the presidential race.

Rosenstein said in a news conference at the time, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Recent reports indicate that individuals have been questioned about President Trump’s business activities before he entered the 2016 campaign. And even the private business decisions of his sons and daughter are being scrutinized by the special counsel. But there is no evidence that their personal business is related to the campaign or election.

So why is the special counsel taking such actions? Dozens of attorneys have been hired, many with partisan Democratic leanings. To justify their time and efforts, they likely feel they have to collect scalps.

It appears more and more that the special counsel has run out of bounds and is body-slamming innocent bystanders. These investigations clearly violate the scope of his probe. They have pushed far beyond their authorized directive.

In the interest of justice, the investigation at least must be limited. An inquiry that has gone rogue should not be allowed to continue. The deputy attorney general should immediately restrict the actions of the special counsel to issues involving the 2016 election, as originally required.

If the deputy attorney general won’t narrow the scope of the investigation to its original purpose, then he should be replaced by an official who will.

Rep. Lamar Smith is a Republican representing Texas’ 21st District. He serves as chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee and is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.


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Fusion Energy Could Bring the Stars' Power to Earth


Harnessing the power of the stars here on Earth could supply our future energy needs. If we replicate the same nuclear reactions that occur in a star within a fusion reactor, the heat from these reactions could be converted into abundant renewable and reliable electricity. 

The potential benefits from a fusion reactor are incalculable; the fuel is abundant and widely accessible and the carbon footprint is zero. When commercial fusion becomes available, it will revolutionize the energy market and significantly reduce global carbon emissions. This technology will lead the way to addressing climate change.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which I chair, oversees the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, which includes its Fusion Energy Sciences program. Earlier this year, we heard from researchersabout innovative approaches to solving the challenges of fusion science and the next steps for the U.S. fusion research program. In short, fusion is a safe, reliable, and clean source of energy. While we cannot predict when fusion will become a viable part of our energy portfolio, future generations will benefit greatly when it is developed. 

A critical step on the path to achieving commercial fusion energy is the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. The ITER project is a major scientific collaboration between the European Union, Japan, South Korea, China, India, Russia, and the United States. It will design, build, and operate what will be the world’s largest magnetic fusion reactor. 

The U.S. has agreed to supply personnel, deliver hardware, and provide funding for the ITER project. With the United States contributing 9 percent of construction costs and 13 percent of the total for operations, deactivation, and decommissioning of ITER, our scientists will be able to access 100 percent of the discoveries achieved through this first-of-a-kind facility. That’s a good deal for the American people. 

Though located in France, ITER is truly an American research project. More than 80 percent of total U.S. awards and obligations to ITER fund researchers and facilities here in the United States. As of December 2017, the U.S. ITER organization has awarded more than $975 million in research and engineering funding to approximately 600 U.S. laboratories, companies, and universities. 

The head of ITER, Dr. Bernard Bigot, was here in Washington, D.C. last week with President Macron to convey the French government’s commitment to the project. According to Bigot, the ITER Organization is making progress in project construction. Since March 2015, 32 ITER Council milestones have been achieved on schedule and on budget and the project schedule remains on track for the launch of ITER research operations in 2025. Today, the project component manufacturing and worksite construction is more than halfway complete. 

According to the research community, a minimum of $163 million in-kind contributions and $50 million cash contributions in fiscal year 2019 are necessary to maintain the scheduled U.S. contribution to this project. The $122 million in funding included for ITER in the recent omnibus is a step in the right direction, but more must be done to ensure that the U.S. will be able to meet its long-term commitments. Reduced annual funding will cause construction delays that will increase overall project costs.

If Congress underfunds the ITER project, it will jeopardize American leadership in fusion science. With China and Russia collaborating through ITER to produce and share fusion research, we cannot afford to lose our seat at the table. Nor can we expect to receive international support for our domestically built projects if we do not honor our international obligations. 

It is imperative that the United States uphold its commitment to ITER and fully fund the fusion research program at DOE. To maintain America’s global standing as the leader in science, we must meet our international commitments and support this basic research that will lead to transformative clean energy technologies. Let’s bring the power of the stars to Earth! 

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is chairman of the House Science 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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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 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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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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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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