Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Smith Touts Texas Influence in New Congress

Six of 18 House committees in the 114th Congress now have chairmen from Texas.  Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, observed that no state may ever have had that kind of leadership in the House, and that it bodes well for Texas.

Smith is chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, which oversees budgets of $40 billion, 60 percent of which is spent on research and development.

The committee has oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Smith said he was committed to ensure that the EPA can scientifically justify new regulations that will cost $100 billion, and he will subpoena the relevant data from the EPA.  The public deserves to see that data, Smith said.

Smith still sits on the Judiciary Committee.  On the thorny issue of immigration, Smith has authored a bill to expand and make mandatory use of the E-Verify system, which verifies the eligibility of workers.  "Scarce jobs ought to go to Americans first," Smith said.

Smith identified two areas where Republicans and Democrats have a good opportunity to work together this session.  Republicans are willing to work with President Obama on tax reform, though there is strong disagreement over the president's proposal to increase the capital gains tax.  And with some information about trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Republicans would be willing to grant President Obama fast-track authority.

Watch his presentation below.

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