Lamar Smith

Opinion: Science That Leads
The National Science Foundation needs to get its priorities straight

This past summer, Chinese scientists used quantum technology to teleport a single photon from the Earth’s surface to an orbiting satellite. Although Star Trek fans will be disappointed that teleportation of human beings is a long way off, teleporting a photon into space is an amazing achievement — and an example of China’s all-out effort to dominate quantum information science and other emerging technologies.

China now has the world’s fastest supercomputer and has just passed the U.S. for the first time to lead the world in the number and total performance of supercomputers. As of this month, China has 202 supercomputers on the TOP500 ranking, its largest showing to date, compared to 143 for the U.S., an all-time low.

How to Stop Cyberattacks
It's time for decisive action against those who try to undermine our country

Foreign governments that sponsor cyberattacks intended to damage our national security and disrupt our upcoming elections pose very real, very serious threats. It’s long past time for the Obama administration to take decisive steps to defend our country against these attacks.   

Under our Constitution, the individual states have authority over voting and elections. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which I chair, held a hearing last month about cybersecurity threats to our voting and election system. Our witnesses described how state officials are working to defend against cyberattacks and attempted hacks of our election system.   

Prioritize Research in the National Interest | Letter to the Editor

In a recent article, “Obama’s Mind Control Plan,” (CQ Weekly, Sept. 21) the president’s science adviser, Dr. John Holdren, criticized members of Congress who want to restore the natural and physical sciences as priorities for federally supported basic scientific research.

Solving the Sanctuary Cities Problem | Commentary

Dangerous policies have deadly consequences. We were reminded of this recently when a young woman in San Francisco, Kathryn Steinle, was tragically murdered by an illegal immigrant. Every person who has weighed in on the recent killing of Steinle has described her death as tragic. And avoidable. Unfortunately, that is where agreement ends.

Fracking: Good Science Vs. Science Fiction | Commentary

The United States is now the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer, having recently overtaken both Saudi Arabia and Russia. Two decades ago, no one would have believed it. The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has fueled this energy boom. Fracking has unlocked vast amounts of what used to be considered economically inaccessible oil and gas. Increased domestic energy production has benefited the environment, the economy and hardworking families who now enjoy reduced energy prices.

STEM Fields: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow | Commentary

While Americans hear mostly about gridlock and partisan fighting in Congress, the issues with strong bipartisan support often get overlooked.

EPA Proposes Radical Regulatory Agenda | Commentary

The Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to expand its regulatory reach across the U.S. represents a regrettable trend. Under the Obama administration, the EPA has issued regulations that are far more costly and more intrusive than under any previous administration.

'Assault on Science' Tired Partisan Rhetoric | Commentary

A June 24 Roll Call op-ed, “The Far Right’s Assault on Science Won’t Help Economy” made numerous unfounded charges against Republicans on the House Science Committee. While the author attempts to come across as an independent observer, his allegations are tired partisan rhetoric.

A Bipartisan Solution to Improve American Innovation | Commentary

Contrary to popular belief, Congress could enact bipartisan legislation on behalf of American innovators and businesses — reforms to our patent system are one such example.

Should Illegal Immigrants Be Legalized? | Commentary

The president and some members of Congress are promoting immigration legislation that legalizes most of the 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country. But what’s the rush?

A Gallup poll last month found that less than 3 percent of Republicans, independents and Democrats consider immigration reform to be a top issue. And in a recent Pew poll, Hispanics ranked immigration next to last among five subjects. Jobs and the economy, health care and education were more important. Congress should focus on what the American people — not politicians — care about.

Republicans Need to Face the Facts on Immigration Reform | Commentary

America already admits 1 million legal immigrants every year, far more than any other nation. That generosity should continue. But in writing our immigration laws, we should put the interests of American workers and taxpayers first.

Others want to put illegal immigrants and foreign workers first. They seize on two numbers to club opponents into submission — 27 percent and 11 million. Both figures are used in deceptive ways.

Smith: Coordinate R&D to Prevent Cyberattacks

Perhaps the most important role of federal government, highlighted in the preamble of the Constitution, is to “provide for the common defense.” This role is generally thought of as military defense against missiles and bombs. But in the digital age, Americans are more frequently becoming the targets of high-tech cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks against U.S. government and private sector networks are on the rise. Hackers gain access to personal, banking and financial information, as well as to sensitive state secrets and intelligence reports.

Smith: Ensuring Science Investments Provide Strong Return

Inscribed on the wall of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing room is the quote “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This simple line from the Book of Proverbs is an appropriate message as we begin a new Congress. We must learn from the past, understand the present and have a vision for the future.

As chairman, I want the Science, Space, and Technology Committee to be a place where vision drives the dialogue and politics takes the back seat. The top priorities of the committee will be to promote legislation that encourages scientific discoveries, space exploration and the development of new technologies.

Smith: Obama’s Immigration Plan Is Bad for Nation

President Barack Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is a breach of faith with the American people, to say nothing of how it ignores our immigration laws.

Throughout the past three years, the president has continually placed illegal immigrants and partisan politics ahead of the American people by refusing to enforce the law.

Smith: Obama Administration Makes Unprecedented Power Grab

Our country’s founders limited the scope and power of the federal government for a reason. They feared centralized power would lead to the same type of tyranny from which they had just won independence.

And so the idea of a limited federal government with the vast majority of power in the hands of the people laid the foundation for our nation. Specific powers that belong to the federal government were outlined in the Constitution, and the states were given any remaining authority.

Smith: President Is Ignoring Immigration Laws

In a recent interview, President Barack Obama said he can’t just “wave away the laws that Congress put in place” and that “the president doesn’t have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say, ‘We’re not going to enforce the laws that you’ve passed.’”

But that is exactly what the president has done — ignored our immigration laws. Throughout the three years of his administration, Obama has waived applying several of our immigration rules and has refused to enforce other immigration laws.

Smith: E-Verify Puts American Workers First

A recent article, “Democrats Turn Up Volume on Immigration,” doesn’t tell the whole story about E-Verify. With record unemployment, we need to put American workers first, and that’s just what E-Verify does.

The Legal Workforce Act could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. This Web-based program quickly identifies individuals working illegally in the United States and opens up jobs for legal workers by checking the Social Security numbers of new hires. It’s free, quick and easy to use, and persons eligible to work here are immediately confirmed 99.5 percent of the time.

Smith: E-Verify Program Is Not Discriminatory

A recent Roll Call article, “Tequila Party Rallies Hispanics,” told only one side of the story.

Pro-enforcement views on immigration do not alienate Hispanic voters nor target ethnic minorities. Such claims are offensive and incorrect.

Smith: Patent Reform a Fair Result

The one-sided reporting in the June 15 article “Patent Carve-Out Finds Opponents Left and Right” on H.R. 1249 is unacceptable. The story extensively reports on the claims of a small group of opponents, without mentioning the large majority support for the House’s patent reform proposal.

The Senate passed patent reform by a vote of 95-5. And the House Judiciary Committee reported H.R. 1249 by a vote of 32-3. The bill enjoys broad support from industry leaders, independent inventors and more than 250 American universities.

Smith: Enforcing Immigration Laws Is Key to Success

Mort Kondracke draws unfounded conclusions in his recent column “‘Nativist Lobby’ is Winning on Immigration,” claiming that a rise in pro-enforcement policies is due to anti-immigrant sentiments. This often-used claim by amnesty supporters is both ignorant and insulting.

There has been a shift toward pro-enforcement policies in the U.S., but it is not mean-spirited. It is driven by the American people’s desire to see our immigration laws enforced.