Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton, N.J.) is currently in his 18th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 62, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. He is Chairman and the highest ranking House member on both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also served as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.
Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (33 years), Autism (17 years, co-founder), Alzheimer’s (15 years, co-founder), Lyme Disease (11 years, co-founder), Spina Bifida (11 years), Human Trafficking (11 years, co-founder), Refugees (11 years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.
According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2016 Smith ranks third among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored. He has authored more than three dozen laws.
Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2820), which was signed into law on Dec. 18, 2015 and authorizes $265 million for cord blood and stem cell research and treatment over the next five years. He wrote the first Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In 2014, Smith saw over five years of work come to fruition in the House and Senate passage and enactment of his groundbreaking the Sean and David International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (now Public Law 113-150) to help bring American children unlawfully taken out of the U.S. to foreign countries back home. Named after a Monmouth County father-and-son who had been kept illegally separated by a non-custodial parent. Final passage of House of Representatives 3212 (HR 3212) was July 25, 2014.
Also in 2014, Smith saw his legislation, House of Representatives 4631 (HR 4631), the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research and Education (CARES) Act (Public Law 113-157) pass the House on June 24 2014 and the Senate on Aug. 1, 2014. It was signed into law in August. The bill funds $1.3 billion over five years for research into the causes of autism.
He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business--his family's wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.
The Congressman is married to his wife of 38 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.
Last updated January 2016.