Lamar Smith

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.

Former Cruz Chief of Staff Running for Lamar Smith’s Seat
Texas 21 race already seeing deep field of Republicans

Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, R-Texas (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz announced he will run for the Republican nomination for Texas’ 21st District.

Chip Roy announced Wednesday he would seek the seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, according to the Texas Tribune.

Opinion: Science That Leads
The National Science Foundation needs to get its priorities straight

The Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The U.S. is falling behind China in key science and technology areas, Smith writes. (Courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

This past summer, Chinese scientists used quantum technology to teleport a single photon from the Earth’s surface to an orbiting satellite. Although Star Trek fans will be disappointed that teleportation of human beings is a long way off, teleporting a photon into space is an amazing achievement — and an example of China’s all-out effort to dominate quantum information science and other emerging technologies.

China now has the world’s fastest supercomputer and has just passed the U.S. for the first time to lead the world in the number and total performance of supercomputers. As of this month, China has 202 supercomputers on the TOP500 ranking, its largest showing to date, compared to 143 for the U.S., an all-time low.

An Inside Look at Congressional Retirements
 

Pulling Out of Politics: How Members Retire From the Hill
Every lawmaker handles announcements a little differently

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen didn’t tell leadership or the NRCC she was leaving before making her announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s getting to be that time of year when family moments over holiday recesses inspire lawmakers to think twice about making the weekly slog back to Capitol Hill.

Sixteen current House members have already announced they’re not running for anything next year — short of the 22 members, on average, who have retired each cycle since 1976 without seeking another office. Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is expected to make a retirement announcement Tuesday.

DCCC Adds 11 GOP Targets, including Paul Ryan
Democrats are now targeting 91 Republican districts in 2018

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added 11 more Republicans to its 2018 target list, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

The DCCC now has its sights on 91 GOP seats next year. Twenty-three are districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried last year, while 68 voted for President Donald Trump. The new targets were first reported by The Washington Post.