Elected in 1980, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton, N.J.) is currently in his 18th two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents of the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. In the 114th Congress, Mr. Smith, 63, 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 of both the bipartisan House/Senate Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the bipartisan House/Senate/White House 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.
Congressman 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 October 2016 Mr. Smith ranks second 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.
In 2016, Congressman Smith's International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advance Notification of Traveling Sex Offender, (House of Representatives 515 or HR 515, now Public Law (PL) 114-119), was passed by both houses of Congress and enacted into law to protect children in the U.S. and around the world from convicted pedophiles who travel in or out of the United States unbeknownst to law enforcement officials. The law capped an eight-year effort to finally enact international notification legislation that draws on current federal and Megan’s Laws in all 50 states that require public notice when a sex offender moves into a U.S. neighborhood.
Mr. Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015 (HR 2820), which was signed into law as PL 114-104 on Dec. 18, 2015 and authorizes funding of $265 million for cord blood and stem cell research and treatment over five years. He wrote the first Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 (HR 2520, now PL 109-129) 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 Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (now PL 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 HR 3212 was July 25, 2014.
Also in 2014, Smith saw his legislation, HR 4631, the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research and Education (CARES) Act (now PL 113-157) pass the House on June 24 2014 and the Senate on Aug. 1, 2014 and enacted into law. The bill funds $1.3 billion over five years for research into the causes of autism. In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (PL PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000 (HR 274).
Mr. Smith is also the author of more than a dozen enacted veterans laws to help those men and women who served in uniform, including the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act (PL 107-95) (HR 2716), the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 (PL 108-183), the Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2004 (PL 108-422) (HR 2297), the Veterans Survivor Benefits Improvements Act (PL 107-14) (801) and other veterans laws.
He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, (PL 106-386) 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.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from Trenton State College, (now 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 39 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.
Last updated September 2016.