Chairman Smith: Welcome to the first official meeting of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee for the 113th Congress. And thank you all for choosing to serve on this Committee.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." These words are inscribed on the hearing room wall just behind me. This simple line from the Book of Proverbs is an appropriate message as we begin a new Congress. We must learn from the past, understand the present, and have a vision for the future.
We have 19 returning Members and 20 new Members. I hope that every Member will find that this Committee plays an exciting part in the discoveries of science, the exploration of space, and the development of new technologies.
The Science, Space, and Technology Committee is one of the newest Committees in Congress. Established in 1958 as the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration, its initial purpose was to oversee the U.S. space program after the Soviet Union launch of Sputnik in 1957. One of the Committee's first actions was to enact the law that created NASA.
Over nearly 55 years, the jurisdiction of the Committee has expanded to include oversight of multiple agencies.
These include NASA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others.
The Science Committee oversees agency budgets totaling $39 billion, most of which is focused on research and development. This enables us to invest in the future, sometimes the distant future, and spur innovations, increase America's productivity, and improve our standard of living.
It's my hope that we will be considered a bipartisan committee, working together for the best interests of our country.
To that end, after consulting with the ranking member, the gentlewoman from Texas, we will hold a bipartisan retreat next week in this room.
In the 113th Congress, the Committee will have six subcommittees: Energy; Environment; Oversight; Research; Space; and Technology.
From reauthorizing NASA to advocating for robust research and development, from highlighting the latest technological advances to providing thorough oversight of federal programs, we have much to do.
For us, it is not a cliche to feel that America can shoot for the stars, reach for the moon, and the sky is the limit.
I look forward to working with you all in the 113th Congress to promote legislation that advances America's interests in science, space, and technology.