Lamar Smith

House Committee Leadership Is Becoming a Game of Musical Chairs
Term limits, fundraising pressure and reduced clout are taking a toll on GOP chairmen

Reps. Lamar Smith and Robert W. Goodlatte, shown here in 2014, are two of at least eight committee chairmen who are leaving Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what happens in the November elections, the House of Representatives will be a body transformed.

At least eight of the chamber’s sitting committee chairmen are quitting Congress — and two additional chiefs have already given up their gavels. These exits come at a cost to the institution, as House Republicans will lose policy expertise, political savvy and procedural prowess.

Ratings Update: Texas Primaries Narrow Democratic Fields
Some top recruits fail to make runoffs

Texas Democrat Colin Allred finished first in the 32nd District primary and will face Lillian Salerno in the May runoff for the chance to take on GOP incumbent Pete Sessions (Courtesy Colin Allred for Congress)

After months of speculation, the 2018 midterm elections are officially underway with initial primaries in Texas.

There’s more evidence of a Democratic surge previously seen in Virginia and in special elections around the country, but also the reality that some of the swarm of Democratic candidates aren’t even going to make it to the general election.

Competitive Primaries in Texas Yield Few Outright Wins
Most are heading for May 22 runoff

Gina Ortiz Jones has made the Democratic primary runoff in Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tuesday’s elections in Texas were the first congressional primaries of the 2018 cycle. But many competitive intraparty contests in the Lone Star State are heading for runoffs, with no candidate clearing 50 percent. 

Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones advanced to the Democratic runoff in her quest to take on two-term Republican incumbent Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd District, one of the most competitive seats in the country.

Russians Meddled in Energy Policy, Science Committee GOP Says
Report reveals Russian agents used social media in attempt to influence the U.S. energy market

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Russian social media meddlers tried to influence U.S. energy markets and undercut the country’s emerging domestic natural gas production capabilities, according to a report released Thursday by the Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

The report written by GOP committee staff cited data provided by major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for activity that occurred from 2015 through 2017.

Maybe They’re Too Rich for Congress?
Seventeen members departing the Capitol are millionaires

California Rep. Darrell Issa is not running for a 10th term this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The wealthy are heading for the exits.

So far, 44 current lawmakers, or one in 12, have announced they are retiring at the end of the year or seeking new offices away from the Capitol. And collectively, they now account for nearly a third of the $2.43 billion in cumulative riches of the 115th Congress.

The ICE Man Cometh, Prompting a New Look at E-Verify
After high-profile federal raids, Congress is revisiting an employment verification system

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store on Jan. 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Chris Carlson/AP file photo)

When federal agents arrived at nearly 100 7-Eleven locations across the country last month to check the paperwork of store clerks selling Big Gulps and coffee, it was the clearest sign that President Donald Trump is serious about taking on employers who illegally hire undocumented immigrants.

Twenty-one arrests were made during the Jan. 10 raids at convenience stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia in what was the Trump administration’s strongest action yet targeting employers. Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said at the time that the raids sent “a strong message” to employers that “ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”

Texas Primaries: What to Watch in the First Contests of 2018
March 6 will see several competitive primary races in the Lone Star State

Gina Ortiz Jones is a Democratic candidate in Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. That includes congressional primaries.

The March 6 elections will be the first primary contests of 2018, and the initial tests of first-time candidates running for Congress — Democrats competing in newly targeted seats and Republicans vying to replace outgoing GOP lawmakers.

What's Next for Seats of Retiring Chairmen?

Why Pups Push Partisanship Aside on the Hill
‘These little animals here, they don’t care about political parties’

Riggins from Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s office attended the holiday party dressed as an elf. (Screenshot from Roll Call's Facebook Live)

It seems like Sen. Thom Tillis started a trend.

Office dogs have always been part of the culture on Capitol Hill, but the North Carolina Republican raised the bar when he hosted a Halloween party for dogs.

Opinion: Where Science Goes, So Goes Our Nation
Investing in research and innovation pays off big

A scientist tracking tornadoes in Oklahoma in May looks at radar on his smartphone as part of a project that gets funding from the National Science Foundation and other government programs. Rep. Paul Tonko  writes that federal funding has had a direct impact on technology such as Doppler radar, GPS and smartphones. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A recent opinion column “Science That Leads” by my colleague, House Science Chairman Lamar Smith, argued that certain kinds of science, especially social and behavioral sciences, are not worth public investment. As an engineer, I take special care when I say: The facts disagree.

In 2014, the world’s foremost doctors and medical experts were working furiously to manage the rapidly growing threat of Ebola. Anthropologists, representing a field of behavioral science, understood the funeral practices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and were able to act as mediators to intervene in ways that slowed the spread of the illness and saved countless lives. The full economic and public health value of this contribution is impossible to quantify but the lives and resources they saved are very real.