House Republicans were busy last week determining who will lead the chamber’s twenty-five committees in the next Congress. Although some chairmen will retain their positions, changes are in store for at least one committee with jurisdiction over science.
Notably, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will have a new leader next year. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) won a three-way race for the spot that will be vacated by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), who is facing a term limit as chairman under his party’s rules. Smith currently chairs the Judiciary Committee, but is also facing a term limit. Smith has served on the science panel since he was first elected to Congress in 1986. The committee oversees non-defense federal research and development, including the National Science Foundation.
“As Chairman of the Science Committee, I will be an advocate for America’s innovators by promoting legislation that encourages scientific discoveries, space exploration, and the application of new technologies to expand our economy and create jobs for American workers,” said Rep. Smith in a statement. The congressman has been active in patent reform and space policy.
Among the committee leaders who will retain their posts is Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY). Rogers chairs the Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for allocating federal funding on an annual basis. In a statement, Rogers highlighted the committee’s efforts to reduce spending by almost $100 billion during his tenure over the last two years: “I look forward to continuing this important work on behalf of the American people, making the necessary strides to get the nation’s finances on track, reducing unnecessary government spending, and investing in important programs that will benefit the nation both now and in the future.”
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) will also retain his position as chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation that addresses energy production, management of oceans and public lands, and conservation of fish and wildlife. “By protecting and unlocking access to our public lands and resources, we can keep and create jobs here in America, create new sources of revenue, and protect the livelihoods of millions of Americans,” said Hastings. “We’ll continue to advance policies that boost offshore and onshore energy production; promote a balanced, multi-use approach to public land management; protect hydropower; expand water storage and supplies; encourage economic growth on tribal lands; protect wildlife and cut government red tape.”
Leadership of the Agriculture and Energy and Commerce Committees will also stay the same in the new Congress. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) will serve a second term as chairman of the Agriculture Committee. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) will also continue to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee.
House Democrats have not yet selected their committee leadership.
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