Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Happy Reunion for Rep. Smith and Captain Wilke

2017/04/27

Washington, DC – On Thursday, Captain Chase Wilke of the U.S. Air Force reunited with someone he had not seen in quite a while but could never forget. In 2006, while Wilke was a student at Canyon High School, Congressman Lamar Smith nominated him to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Wilke played football at the Academy in Colorado Springs and graduated near the top of his class, earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has served in the Air Force since 2011. Wilke has completed multiple tours overseas serving in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. This week he visited Washington, D.C. to meet with Rep. Smith. Captain Wilke has decided to end his active duty military service and this fall will begin business school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rep. Smith: “I have long maintained that nominating young men and women to service academies is one of the most enjoyable jobs I have. After nominating Chase 11 years ago, it is rewarding to witness his personal and professional achievements. I want to thank him for his patriotism and service to our country.”

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NASA Find Ingredients For Life On Two Ocean Worlds Beyond Earth

2017/04/13

The Cassini space probe detected hydrogen coming from Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, which suggests alien life could develop there, according to NASA.

NASA said Enceladus has “almost all of the ingredients needed to support life as we know it on Earth,” but admitted they found no living organisms. Hydrogen is an excellent source of chemical energy that supports life near deep sea hydrothermal vents on Earth. Scientists think this kind of chemical reaction could have been the origin of life on Earth.

NASA also announced similar activity may be occurring on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The Hubble Space Telescope spotted plumes on Europa, suggesting powerful thermal sources on the moon’s surface.

Enceladus and Europa are protected by an ice shell which maintains a liquid water ocean. Both of these moons are fairly similar and are judged as the two of the most likely places in our solar system to find alien life.  Life on Earth may have emerged from similar deep-ocean hydrothermal vents.

“Here on Earth there are a number of things that protect life. With this research, we are making a big step forward towards answering the question, ‘Is there life out there?'” associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen said during the NASA press conference announcing the discovery.

Enceladus and Europa probably have watery and salty oceans similar to those of Earth’s below the ice, likely kept warm by complex gravitational interactions and the planet’s core.

“The search for life beyond Earth has enthralled humans for ages,” Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 directs NASA to continue to search for life and advance the science of astronomy, astrophysics and astrobiology. NASA’s effort to search for life on ocean worlds is an important step in these efforts.”

The Europa Clipper is a NASA robotic probe intended to launch sometime in the early 2020s. The probe will investigate the icy moon’s potential for human colonization and alien life.

Geologists announced in September that earthquakes on Earth can produce hydrogen. They concluded that the same kind of “Marsquakes” could also produce hydrogen on Mars, removing a major barrier to life. The Red Planet’s atmosphere is rich in oxygen, so an ample supply of hydrogen may indicate that water is more common on Mars than generally believed.

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Rep. Smith visits Memorial Early College High School

2017/04/12

Lamar Smith, the U.S. Representative for Texas’ 21st congressional district, which includes most of the Austin-San Antonio corridor, visited Memorial Early College High School on April 10 for a question and answer session with students.

Smith, a U.S. Congressman since 1987, is the Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over the EPA, NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Admin-istration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Smith spoke to the school’s juniors and seniors, as well as the Robotics and CyberPatriot teams.

“I love talking to students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education,” Smith told a group of about 200 Early College High School students. “The U.S. needs to do a lot better in these fields, especially in math, where we’re ranked 31st out of the top 35 countries worldwide, and science, where we’re ranked 19th. If we don’t get students to educate themselves in STEM fields in high school and college, we’re not going to be able to compete in the future.”

Smith said computer science is now considered part of the STEM curriculum as well.

During the question and answer session, Mercedes Castro asked Smith, “Do you see a future for women in STEM?”

Smith said that longstanding stereotypes, although not accurate, stand in the way of some women pursuing 

careers STEM fields so they have to be ready to break down some barriers.

“I absolutely see a future for women in STEM fields, but you have to be proactive,” Smith said. “Although women test equally as well as men do in STEM fields, only 25 percent of women pursue degrees in STEM fields in college, so some of the old stereotypes exist. Your generation can break those stereotypes down.”

Sebastian Coronado asked Smith what the future held for NASA.

“We’re planning on going into deep space and we’re hopeful we’ll find a planet that can sustain life like earth can,” Smith said. “Within the next two years we’ll likely have trips into space that people can pay about $250,000 for that will leave the earth’s atmosphere and return the same day.”

Those comments excited Shylynne Curry, a student on the Robotics team.

“Hearing about the space program and learning that one day we might be able to find a future planet like Earth is very exciting,” Curry said. “Also learning that in my lifetime I might have the chance to travel into space is amazing.”

Dannette Young, College and Career Readiness advisor, said Smith delivered some powerful messages.

“I think the message Congressman Smith delivered on STEM was so important,” Young said. “He told our students exactly what they can expect when they get out in the real-world economy as adults in the future and that’s an invaluable lesson.”

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Rep. Smith Statement on Military Strikes in Syria

2017/04/07

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to U.S. military strikes in Syria:

Rep. Smith: “All Americans can appreciate the President's strong leadership in responding to Syria’s government launching a chemical attack on their own people.” 

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Rep. Lamar Smith: New EPA Bill 'Prevents Regulation That Can't Be Justified' by Science

2017/04/06

New legislation that restricts the Environmental Protection Agency from initiating some scientific studies will rein in frivolous research that was backed by the Obama administration, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, told Newsmax TV.

"The intent . . . is to scrutinize regulations that have been promoted in the past by the previous administration," Smith, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, told Bill Tucker, guest host of Thursday's "The Steve Malzberg Show." "A lot of these regulations were not based upon good science. Sometimes the underlined so-called data that justifies these regulations didn't even exist.

Sometimes the data was cherry picked and often the individuals writing the regulations were just trying to implement their sort of predetermined outcomes. I think all these regulations need to be scrutinized."

The bill passed in the House last week — The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act — is "good government, open honest government, transparent government" that will "prevent regulations that cannot be justified by good science by being forced on the American people," Smith told Tucker.

Democrats opposed the bill as having the potential to be abused and for it being anti-science. Also, condemning it were The American Lung Association, National Medical Association, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

But Smith insisted that is not the case.

"We oftentimes get accused of being anti-science when all we're in favor of is good science, not politically correct science or sometimes even science fiction." He said.

"We're trying to get back to good science, we're trying to practice the scientific method and to the extent we can do that, we'll be doing a benefit to the American people.

"Because the only regulations that they will be subjected to are regulations that really will help the environment, that really will help keep the water clean and the air clean . . . We don't need unnecessary regulations that are costly and ineffective."

He said the economic savings the bill will provide are also a plus.

"It's easy to spend other people's money when you're in the federal government . . . [but] to the extent that you impose regulations on the American people or on small businesses, they cost billions and billions and billions of dollars," Smith said.

"That's not only an expense to those direct individuals involved but those expenses are going to be passed on in the way of higher cost – whether it be higher energy cost or food cost or any other cost."

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Congress passes bill to help future of weather forecasting

2017/04/06

Thursday, April 6, 2017, 3:14 - With bipartisan support, both houses of Congress have passed the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, H.R. 353.

The bill aims at improving the quality of both short and long range high impact weather events and their effects.

It also gives National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service the go-ahead to establish a number of programs to enhance forecasting and alerts.

"This bill will help the nation's weather and climate enterprise by focusing research and computing resources on improved weather forecasting, quantitative observing data planning, next generation modeling, an emphasis on research-to-operations technology transfer, an urban weather research effort, and the codification of an advisory group to NOAA on environmental information services," Dr. Kevin Petty, Chief Science Officer of Vaisala Inc. said in a statement. "The legislation will also establish policies that will encourage public-private partnerships for integrating the myriad of data sources into more timely and accurate weather predictions."
 

The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act is the first major weather legislation enacted in more than a decade if signed by President Trump. 

Officials say improving short and long-term weather predictions will have major implications for public safety and the economy. 

"Severe weather routinely affects large portions of the United States," House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) presented to Congress. "Nearly every year, we witness the devastating effects of tornadoes and intense storms across our country. This bill will ensure that Americans are more protected from severe weather because of accurate supercomputing forecasts and earlier warnings." 

According to the Washington Post, the bill will also offer guidance on which programs should get the more than $170-million already budgeted by the President and Congress.

The bill was developed in a bipartisan fashion led by Representatives Lamar Smith and Eddie Bernice Johnson (both from Texas) and Representative Bridenstine and Representative Frank Lucas, both from Oklahoma, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon. In the Senate the effort was led by Senator John Thune from South Dakota, Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii, Senator Cory Gardner from Colorado, and Senator Bill Nelson from Florida, all members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

For a complete summery of H.R. 353: Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, click here.

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Honor Veterans Now feeds hungry veterans

2017/04/06

Honor Veterans Now has the single-minded mission of making sure that every veteran has at least one hot, nutritious meal a day. There are a number of safety nets for veterans and seniors who are at least 60 years old. But younger veterans have fewer resources available to them – especially those who live in rural areas.
Have you ever been in a restaurant and picked up the tab for soldiers sitting nearby? It’s a generous act that benefits all parties involved – the “giver” and the “receiver.” Tom Holubik, CEO for Honor Veterans Now shares this example as a way of underscoring the challenge of picking up the tab for honorable veterans who cannot afford to feed themselves – because you will not find them in restaurants.
Honor Veterans Now currently provides the financial support to feed 280 veterans one hot meal every day, a small fraction of the number of hungry veterans that would qualify for the program. HVN partners with a range of service organizations around the state including Silver Sage Community Center in Bandera, Meals on Wheels and Jewish Community Centers to prepare and distribute the meals. 
Congressman Lamar Smith visited the headquarters of Honor Veterans Now in Fredericksburg last Friday, March 31, to get a better feel for the nonprofit organization’s mission and to see how he and his staff could help. Congressman Smith wound up offering the encouragement and support that accompanies a well-drafted letter of recommendation to a grant committee. And , with complimentary t-shirt in hand, the congressman said, “I don’t mind being a walking billboard for this organization!” He also promised to look into the possibility of federal funding for the organization.
“We’re in the age of great budget constraints,” Smith said. But, he went on to describe, that doesn’t mean there isn’t ‘money left on the table” every year. By way of example, Smith said that every year there is more student loan money available than borrowed. Smith emphasized that it is always worth checking on the availability of federal funding. 
It’s no small wonder that Congressman Smith would take an interest in Honor Veterans Now. Congressional District 21 includes approximately 700,000 constituents. Of those constituents approximately 65,000 — close to 10 percent —are veterans. 
To learn more about Honor Veterans Now or to make a donation, visit their website at https://honorveteransnow.org.

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Rep. Smith: “Senate Democrats Put Politics Above the Will of the Voters”

2017/04/05

Washington, DC – On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to move Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate chamber.

Democrats have threatened to filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation, a process that enables a single senator to stop all action on a bill or a Supreme Court judicial nominee. The filibuster is only constrained by the Senate’s cloture rule, which places time limits on debate and requires a 60-vote threshold to advance legislation or a nominee to the Supreme Court. In light of the potential filibuster of Judge Gorsuch, some senators have argued in favor of the more democratic option, to lower the cloture vote threshold to a simple majority for Supreme Court confirmations – just as the Senate amended its rules in 2013 for nominees other than Supreme Court justices.

Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) gave the following statement on the Judge Gorsuch confirmation process:

Rep. Smith: “The Senate filibuster and the 60-vote requirement is a threat to democracy. This arcane rule has evolved from its original intent to protect individual senators’ right to debate to a partisan tactic that has paralyzed the legislative process in the United States Senate.

“The will of the American people is ignored when Senate Democrats shut down votes despite a Supreme Court nominee having the support of the majority of the Senate. Senate Republicans have the responsibility to exercise the democratic option and use their 52 seat majority to confirm Judge Gorsuch.”

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ICYMI - Rep. Smith: “Was Surveillance of Trump Illegal?”

2017/04/05

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the House floor Tuesday evening, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) spoke about the legality of surveillance of candidate and then President-elect Trump. See link to speech video and text as delivered below.

Was Surveillance of Trump Illegal?

Criminal laws may well have been broken when the Obama administration conducted surveillance of candidate and then President-elect Trump and those close to him, including his family members.

It is reported that a former national security advisor under President Obama ordered the names of Trump associates be revealed rather than kept confidential, as would normally be the case with any American citizen.

This exposing and disseminating personal information may well have been a criminal act.

A serious question is, “Who authorized the surveillance in the first place?”

To direct intelligence or law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance of political opponents is a violation of the Constitution and a threat to our democracy.

But the Obama administration wrongfully asked the IRS to target conservative organizations, so anything is possible.

One thing is for sure – the American people need to learn a lot more about what the Obama administration did, and who did it.

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Congress passes comprehensive weather forecasting and research bill

2017/04/04

A sweeping piece of legislation that aims to improve forecasts for everything from Category 5 hurricanes to El Nino has passed both houses of Congress.

Years in the making, it will become the first major weather legislation enacted since the early 1990s if signed by President Trump.

The 97-page bill, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, H.R. 353, gained bipartisan support in Congress. It passed the Senate on Thursday and the House on Tuesday afternoon.

“The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act is a major step toward more accurate and timely weather predictions, and I am eager to see these lifesaving policies signed into law soon,” Rep. Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla.) said.

The bill places a great deal of emphasis on research that will improve forecasts for extreme weather events from the short-range to the long-term.

“Research into the atmosphere provides an enormous return on investment,” said Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which supported the bill. “Weather affects all of us, and being able to make plans based on forecasts of likely weather conditions is literally worth many billions of dollars to households and businesses.”

An entire section of the bill, championed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), is devoted to improving weather forecasts between two weeks and two years into future, which would prove tremendously valuable for farmers and utilities.

Another section of the bill focuses on stimulating the private sector to generate weather data that the government can use to improve forecasts. “With this bipartisan effort, we will improve forecasting by looking to the private sector for new technologies and weather solutions,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said. “This bill gives NOAA a clear vision and allows them the flexibility to buy new, affordable, and potentially better sources of data.”

The bill earned endorsement from broad segments of academic and private sectors of the weather community.

“I am very pleased to see the Congress pass this bill,” said David Titley, professor of meteorology at Penn State. “Improving weather-related safety of our people and our assets is not political — it’s just common sense.”

Containing scores of provisions, the bill would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to:

  • Establish a program to improve tornado warnings.
  • Protect the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program, whose funding was previously slashed.
  • Develop a formal plan for weather research.
  • Develop an annual report on the state of its weather models.
  • Develop forecasts on the subseasonal (two weeks to three months), seasonal (three months to one year) and interannual (up to two years) time scales.
  • Consider options to buy commercially provided weather satellite data rather than launch expensive government satellites.
  • Improve its watch-and-warning system based on recommendations from social and behavioral scientists.
  • Conduct a study of gaps in weather radar coverage around the nation
  • Acquire backup for hurricane hunter aircraft.
  • Modernize the U.S. tsunami warning system, improve tsunami research and strengthen education efforts.

The bill sets priorities and authorizes funding for many of these initiatives, but does not necessarily signal new or increased funding for NOAA.

“NOAA and the Weather Service will require adequate resources to pursue these improvements,” Titley said. “I believe the Congress will continue to show leadership on our nation’s weather capabilities and appropriate the resources needed by the NOAA professionals.”

Programs not protected by this legislation could be jeopardized if NOAA’s overall funding is slashed, as proposed in Trump’s budget.

The bill was introduced by Thune and Lucas in the Senate and House. Bill co-sponsors include Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Reps. Smith, Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore), and Del. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa).

 

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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


Smith Questions Feds on Immigrant Visa Overstays

2016-06-15 20:11:50


Rep. Smith's Memorial Day Message

2016-06-01 16:43:00


Contact Information

2409 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4236
Fax 202-225-8628
lamarsmith.house.gov

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

TEXAS' 1st DISTRICT

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

John Ratcliffe

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Jeb Hensarling

TEXAS' 5th DISTRICT

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

John Culberson

TEXAS' 7th DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Kay Granger

TEXAS' 12th DISTRICT

Mac Thornberry

TEXAS' 13th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Jodey Arrington

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Will Hurd

TEXAS' 23rd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Roger Williams

TEXAS' 25th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

Blake Farenthold

TEXAS' 27th DISTRICT

John Carter

TEXAS' 31st DISTRICT

Pete Sessions

TEXAS' 32nd DISTRICT

Brian Babin

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

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