Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Risch’s true colors

It didn't take Sen. Jim Risch long to show his true colors. On his very first vote, Risch joined Mike Crapo and 10 other liberal Republican and 54 Democrat senators to stop a Republican filibuster that would have continued debate and allowed for possible amendments to the huge omnibus public land-grab bill currently before the U.S. Congress.

The "Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009" will cordon off more than 3 million acres from energy leasing by restricting various areas as "federal wilderness" or "wild and scenic" rivers. The act includes 160 separate land measures including Sen. Crapo's Owyhee Wilderness. As bad as the federal land grab is, which is being rammed through by senators who each have their pet projects included, the fact that Risch and Crapo went against the Republican majority and stopped a Republican filibuster is just as disconcerting. Debating amendments is a fundamental principle of effective law making. With these processes taken out, the laws Congress makes are sure to be unjust.

I seem to recall Risch campaigning that if you voted for Rammell it would split the vote, LaRocco would win, and the Republicans would lose their ability to filibuster. Well, I guess that rhetoric is out the window! I also recall him saying his first priority was to sponsor a bill to eliminate all earmarks (see KTVB's taped U.S. Senate debate, October 2008). I guess he meant unless the earmarks are attached to a bill he likes.

So much for Sen. Risch's integrity in keeping campaign promises. By the time Crapo, Risch and Simpson are finished voting with the Democrats, maybe the whole state of Idaho will be owned by the federal government.

Rex Rammell


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