NJ Congressman Chris Smith among US delegation to Vatican

U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs human rights subcommittee, holds a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, June 15, 2012. Smith has met with senior Bolivian officials to plead for the release of New York businessman Jacob Ostreicher who Smith says has been wrongly jailed without charge for a year in a mockery of justice. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

March 17, 2013 10:17:45 AM PDT
A longtime New Jersey congressman will be among a bipartisan group of federal leaders heading to the Vatican this week for the investiture of Pope Francis.

Republican Rep. Chris Smith, who represents the state's 4th District, was tapped for the trip by House Speaker John Boehner. The American delegation will be headed by Vice President Joe Biden.

Smith chairs the House's subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee.

While in Rome, Smith says he plans to meet with Vatican officials to discuss human rights issues, including human trafficking, religious freedom and culture of life issues.