INTERVIEW: Senator Jim Risch talks immigration, potential government shutdown and 2018 Republican prospects

Photo Courtesy: Jim Risch

Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) was elected to the United States Senate in November of 2008, after serving as Idaho State senator, lieutenant governor and governor. Sen. Risch serves on five Senate committees, include the Select Committee on Intelligence. He joined Neal Larson on KID Newsradio to talk about immigration reform negotiations, the potential of a government shutdown as Congress struggles to pass a federal budget and 2018 Republican prospects on the campaign trail. 

Listen to the full interview below:



IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — As debate over the federal budget continues and threats of a potential government shutdown looms over Washington D.C., Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) says the Republicans are optimistic about the year ahead.

“We have a clear vision of all we accomplished last year,” Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) told KID Newsradio. “Probably the best tax bill written in the history of the country and people are going to feel the affects of that over the next year as we go along and that’s going to be a good thing.”

Not everyone is celebrating the Republican’s victories in 2017 though. Senator Risch says Democrats are “angry, they’re confused, they’re full of hate and vitriol,” but says most of that frustration is aimed at the President of the United States.

“There is no sentence uttered here that doesn’t have the word Trump in it,” Sen. Risch said. “Including what you want for lunch. It’s phenomenal, it really is.”

But, Democrats seem to have been able to put some of the anger aside as negotiations about DACA and the president’s proposed border wall continue in Washington. Many on both sides of the aisle have expressed surprise at President Trump’s willingness to allow DACA talks back into the negotiation ring, but agree it’s an important part of the conversation.

“I’m not one that is demanding citizenship,” Sen. Risch said. “I can understand where they have some kind of a path to a legal status here…everybody says, ‘well there should be a path to citizenship,’ well there is! The problem is, it’s lengthy, it’s difficult and they don’t want to do it. So, I’m not hung up on that, but as far as a path to remaining here legally after they’ve been here 20, 30 years, since they were a child, I get that…but I have got to be convinced this resolves the problem, the bill resolves the problem and that means it has to have border security.”

Which is the path President Trump appears to be pursuing, willing to trade off DACA for better security on the border, including the infamous wall.

But, that’s not the only issue troubling Democrats. Congress still hasn’t passed a federal budget and now threats of a government shutdown dominate many conversations in Washington. But, Sen. Risch says the nation has little to worry about in that regard.

“Anytime you get close to a point where Congressional action is needed, they all start wringing their hands about a government shutdown,” Sen. Risch said. “Probably not going to happen. All of us understand, we weren’t elected to shut the government down, we were elected to govern. Now, to me, that means governing at a lot lower level than what we’re governing, smaller government, spending less, acting less, regulating less, but nevertheless you still have to govern.”