US Republican leaders announced on 27 November their recommendation of Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, as the new chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith’s nomination is expected to be ratified by the House Republican Conference on 28 November.
Smith would take the reins from fellow Texan Ralph Hall, who is stepping down at the end of this year in accordance with Republican term limits. A Republican steering committee led by House Speaker John Boehner tapped Smith over rivals Dana Rohrabacher of California and James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin — both outspoken sceptics of climate-change science.
On the issue of global warming, Smith has not been as vocal as his competitors, but he has previously lamented the lack of representation of dissenting views in media coverage on global warming.
As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Smith has spearheaded the patent-reform legislation known as the America Invents Act (see ‘US legislation aims to simplify rules for inventors’). He has also worked to increase opportunities for foreign graduates with science and engineering degrees to remain in the United States.