Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, and other newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives, were sworn into office today as members of the 112th Congress of the United States. Smith and a majority of House members voted to elect new House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, at the outset of the new Congress.
"It's exciting to have a new Speaker, John Boehner, at the helm," Smith said. "It is my hope the new Congress can work in a bipartisan fashion. The Democratic minority, however, must come to terms with the decision of the American people, who voted in an historic election to step back from trillions of dollars in runaway spending with money we don't have, raising taxes on already struggling businesses, and the prospects of bigger and bigger government controlling our lives."
The Clerk of the House, Lorraine Miller, declared Boehner the winner after a voice roll call vote today. Boehner collected the most votes, 241 votes of 432 cast, compared to 173 for former speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Smith, 57, a resident of Robbinsville, NJ, was first elected to congress in 1980, and is the Dean of the New Jersey Delegation. He has had more legislation passed into law in the U.S. Congress than any other Member of the House and Senate in New Jersey. He has had more laws--over 30--passed than all but two House members, and five U.S. Senators. According to Govtrak, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog group, Smith ranks third among all 435 Members of the House of Representatives in authorizing bills that become law.
Smith is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the new chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. In the 112th Congress, he will also co-chair the Alzheimer's Disease Caucus, the Congressional Autism Research and Education Caucus, the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, the House Pro-Life Caucus and the Spina Bifida Caucus. He is a senior member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and is expected to become Chairman of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, (the Helsinki Commission).