James Elroy Risch (born May 3, 1943) is an American politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from Idaho since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he served as lieutenant governor of Idaho from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2009, and as governor of Idaho from 2006 to 2007.
With a net worth of $15.6 million, Risch is one of the wealthiest members of the Senate.
Risch is pro-life. In 2013, he co-sponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would have made it illegal for a minor to cross state lines for an abortion.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) endorsed Risch and gave him an A+ grade for his voting record on gun issues.
In 2013, along with 12 other Republican Senators, Risch threatened to filibuster any bills Democrats introduced that Republicans perceived as a threat to 2nd Amendment rights, including expanded background checks. In an interview with National Public Radio, he said that Americans' right to keep and bear arms includes "a right to purchase one [a gun], to sell one, to trade in one, and you really have to have a robust market if indeed you're going to have a constitutional right." He also said that additional background checks would mean that gun dealers would "have to deal with the federal bureaucracy, which is very, very difficult to deal with."
In response to the Orlando nightclub shooting, Risch and Crapo said the shooting was not a reason to call for gun-control legislation.
In 2016, Risch voted against the Feinstein Amendment, which would have blocked the sale of guns to people on the terrorist watch list, and Democrat Chris Murphy's proposal to expand background checks for sales at gun shows and online. Risch voted for both Republican-backed bills, John Cornyn's proposal to create a 72-hour delay for anyone on the terrorist watchlist buying a gun and Charles Grassley and Ted Cruz's proposal to alert authorities if a someone on the list tries to buy a firearm.
In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Risch said "Today is a sad day for all Americans. Vicki and I are praying for the victims of this horrible event and for their families. As usual, our first responders reacted in their typical heroic fashion."
Risch opposed the FIRST STEP Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. The bill passed 87-12 on December 18, 2018.
Risch supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. He voted against the ACA in 2010.
In 2019, Risch sought to quell dissent among Republican senators over what they perceived as the Trump administration's weak response to the killing of Saudi journalist and U.S. permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi, and its refusal to send Congress a report on the administration's determination of who killed Khashoggi. Risch told his fellow Republican senators and Politico that the Trump administration was in compliance with the Magnitsky Act, but the administration had stated that it refused to comply with the Magnitsky Act.
Israel Anti-Boycott Act
In March 2018, Risch co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which would make it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank if protesting actions by the Israeli government.
The subject is a co-sponsor of S.1241, a measure titled, 'Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019' which will punish Turkey and protect allies like the Kurds who have suffered from recent Turkish military operations in Syria and aid in the United States resettlement of some of them. The measure has broad support in the Congress which is concerned about the purchase of the S-400 Russian missile system which Turkey is currently testing.