The House Judiciary Committee receives 1,000 pieces of legislation every two years and has gotten more bills approved on the House floor than any other committee since he has become chairman, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith said Friday during a speech at Texas Tech University.
“I consider us to be the workhorse committee of Congress,” Smith said. “We may be not as well known as some other committees, but year in and year out, the Judiciary Committee processes as many bills as any other committee.”
Besides being chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Smith also serves on the Homeland Security Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, and was named the man of the year by Political Magazine due to his work on patents, Chancellor Kent Hance said while introducing him to the crowd.
Smith said he represents portions of Bexar and Travis Counties in the 21st Congressional District of Texas, and became the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congress’ second oldest committee, in 2011.
The House Judiciary Committee is comprised of five subcommittees, which include constitutional law, immigration, crime, intellectual property, and administrative law, the congressman said.
After becoming chairman, Smith said, his goal was to be active and work with members from both parties.
“I wanted to get off to, if I could, a bipartisan start,” Smith said. “I wanted to pass a lot of legislation and you can’t do that single handedly. Not one party has that much of a monopoly, and in the case of the last Congress, we had the House in control of one party and the Senate in control of another party. So if you’re going to get something enacted, you’re going to have to have some Democratic support.”
While discussing legislation the Judiciary Committee has processed, Congressman Smith said, he co-sponsored the long-overdue Patent Reform Act. The purpose of the bill was to create more jobs by getting more patents approved quickly, he said.
The Judiciary Committee has also attempted to make improvements on small businesses, Smith said. Although the bills haven’t been passed, Smith said, he has worked on six bills that would reduce regulations and red tape for business that harm job growth.
Michael Hanson, a second year law student from Lubbock, said the congressman introduced a lot of important bills, including the STEM bill, which increases green cards for the top foreign graduates of U.S. universities.
Smith has also secured a $1 million grant for specialized optometric equipment in the eastern side of San Antonio.
“It’s a very rough area,” Hanson said. “I did some community work there and all the help they can get is needed. When I heard about that, that’s something really awesome for them to have a program that will generate jobs.”
Smith’s presentation allows law students to get a good idea of what happens outside of their textbooks, Hanson said. It gives law students a reason to learn the political process.
During the presentation, Congressmen Smith said, anyone interested in politics should become involved. Smith said he plans on being very productive during Congress’ next session.
by Matt Dotray
Contributed to The Hub by Jour 3312