WASHINGTON - Committee on House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil (WI-01) delivered opening remarks at today's full committee hearing titled, "Looking Ahead Series: Oversight of the Smithsonian Institution."

Chairman Steil's full opening statement:

"The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest educational complex, comprised of museums, educational resources and research services.   

"Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian preserves our heritage and history, while sharing its knowledge with the world.  

"Each year, millions of Americans visit the Smithsonian museums, enjoying each of the spaces and educational opportunities the Smithsonian provides.   

"With 21 museums, and roughly 137 million objects in its collections, visitors have an abundance of history and heritage to explore.   

"The Smithsonian received $1.14 billion dollars from the federal government in the last fiscal year, two thirds of their total budget, and employs over 4,000 full time employees.   

"Today, the Committee on House Administration, which is charged with conducting oversight of the Smithsonian Institution, will discuss the Institution’s operations and its long-term goals.   

"It has been three years since the Committee has held a wide-ranging oversight hearing of the Smithsonian and a variety of issues have come up during that time.  

"In these last three years, the Institution has frequently been in the news on “hot button” cultural topics. 

"From 'panda diplomacy' to museum repatriation policies, the Smithsonian Institution has found itself in a handfull of headlines.  

"The Committee will explore how the Smithsonian’s materials reflect Americans’ diversity of opinions.  

"As a taxpayer funded institution, the Smithsonian must ensure its work is not politically partisan or biased.   

"Our job today is to ensure the Smithsonian is acting as a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.  

"The Committee will also explore two new museums Congress has authorized and the Institution’s vision for these facilities.   

"In 2020, Congress authorized the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.  

"While the final decision for placement of these museums' looms, the Smithsonian’s strategic plans, annual plans, and congressional budget requests outline a robust and complex enterprise, but do not articulate a long-term strategy for the two new museums.   

"Without a clear long-term strategy, the museum may find it hard to balance long-term visions with the more mundane daily operations which are so critical for success. 

"Today’s hearing will examine both the day to day operations of the Smithsonian while also looking to its long term goals.   

"As Chairman, I’m committed to ensuring our institutions are working in the best interest of the American people. 

"Mr. Secretary, I appreciate you being with us today and look forward to our discussion."