Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, will take over as chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology when the new Congress convenes in January. He will replace Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who was term limited under House rules.
Smith, who had seniority on the committee, beat out Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-California.
Smith has been a vocal critic of the Obama Administration’s space policy, which has focused heavily on commercializing access to low Earth orbit. He also is a skeptic about global warming, positions he share with Sensenbrenner and Rohrabacher.
Rohrabacher is arguably the leading proponent of commercializing space activities in Congress.
With the elections over, the race to succeed Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) as chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. On Thursday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) both formally threw their hats into the ring in a race that also includes Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Hall, who has been a major critic of the Obama Administration’s commercial space push, is leaving his chairmanship because he is term limited under Republican House rules to serving six years in the position.
Rohrabacher has been a major proponent of commercializing spaceflight and has backed the Obama Administration’s efforts in this area. He also has been a major proponent of more oil and gas drilling and a skeptic of global warming, positions that he shares with Smith and Sensenbrenner.
WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release) – Today, Reps. John Culberson (TX-07), Frank Wolf (VA-10), Bill Posey (FL-15), Pete Olson (TX-22), James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) and Lamar Smith (TX-21), introduced the Space Leadership Preservation Act, legislation that will change business as usual at NASA and result in a more stable and accountable space program. The bill would create a 10-year term for the NASA Administrator to provide crucial stability of the leadership structure at NASA so that decisions are made based on science and are removed from the politics of changing administrations.