In a move which could favorably impact the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), House Congressional Republicans recently selected Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to chair the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Rep. Smith has been a supporter of nanotechnology, having sponsored legislation such as HR 5940 to improve the National Nanotechnology Initiative. A statement released by Rep. Smith on his Web site reads as follows:

Chairman Smith:

“As Chairman of the Science Committee, I will be an advocate for America’s innovators by promoting legislation that encourages scientific discoveries, space exploration, and the application of new technologies to expand our economy and create jobs for American workers.

“Over 80% of the Committee’s $39 billion budget touches on research and development. We can’t have innovation without research and development. And the purpose of the Science Committee is to encourage the R&D that leads to new innovations.

“The Science Committee can play an exciting part in the discoveries of science, the exploration of space and the development of new technologies. I appreciate the confidence of my colleagues and look forward to chairing the Committee next Congress.”

House Speaker John Boehner supported Smith’s appointment.

Speaker Boehner:

“Throughout his tenure on the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar has been a strong leader on important issues facing the American people. He is dedicated to promoting economic growth to help put Americans back to work, encouraging innovation and promoting national security. I am confident that he will bring the same strong leadership and work ethic to the Science Committee as Chairman, and I look forward to working with him in the 113th Congress.”

Established in 1958, the Science, Space and Technology Committee has jurisdiction over all non-defense federal scientific research and development. Specifically, the Committee has partial or complete jurisdiction over the following federal agencies: 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, FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration, and United States Geological Survey, among others.

The Committee has five subcommittees – the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Smith has spearheaded the patent-reform legislation known as the America Invents Act. He has also worked to increase opportunities for foreign graduates with science and engineering degrees to remain in the United States.