Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, NJ) is currently in his 16th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith, 58, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee. He is also chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and serves on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee 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 Caucus (29 years), Autism (13 years), Alzheimer’s (11 years), Lyme Disease (seven years), Spina Bifida (seven years), Human Trafficking (seven years), Refugees (seven years), Combating Anti-Semitism and serving on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.
According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of October 2011 Smith ranks third among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored, and eighth among all Members of the U.S. Senate and House.
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.
Smith is the author of the $265 million 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 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.