Smith, Goodlatte to head up top committees for tech

“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," Smith said in a statement.

The House Science Committee has jurisdiction over non-defense research and development issues, as well as NASA, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, among other federal agencies and departments.

The Texas Republican is no stranger to tech issues. Smith was the author of the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which sought to crack down on foreign-based websites that peddle pirated entertainment content and knockoff goods. The bill sparked a wave of online protests earlier this year and was ultimately shelved.

The House is also slated to vote on an immigration bill that Smith authored on Friday that's designed to boost the number of visas available to foreign-born graduates with advanced degrees in science, math and engineering fields. The measure proposes to eliminate the Diversity Visa program, which allocates visas to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. via a random selection process.
As the head of the Judiciary Committee next year, Goodlatte will deal with hot-button issues ranging from royalty payments for Internet radio services to immigration reform. He currently serves as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee's subpanel on Intellectual Property, competition and the Internet.

The Virginia Republican went to bat for Smith and supported SOPA earlier this year, but the tech industry has generally viewed him as an ally on its issues. He is a co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus and the chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.

“Under my leadership, the House Judiciary Committee will play an active role in advancing a pro-growth agenda that will help to create jobs and restore economic prosperity to America,” Goodlatte said in a statement.