Senator James Risch, Telephone Townhall
by Shari Dovale
*Senator Risch is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Sen. James Risch (R-ID) conducted a telephone townhall on August 4, 2020, calling various residents of the State of Idaho.
Sen. Risch was in the middle of his opening statement when we were finally connected, and he went to questions from the audience shortly after.
It was clear that the questions were being cherry-picked, as the narrator stated that people would be connected to a staff member to state their question, and then the questions would be ‘selected’ from that list.
Still, some of the answers made by Risch were very inadequate.
They took a total of 5 questions.
1) Trish, from Caldwell asked about small business. People are making so much money from unemployment, it seems as if they are taking advantage of this situation.
Risch admits that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had problems, but he thinks they will get fixed with the NEXT bill. “Let’s hope that as we move down the pike, we will be able to get a more robust workforce.”
2) Mike, from Gooding, asked about China. What are we doing in response to China, as he feels they are responsible for the pandemic.
Risch states that the biggest problem his committee has is China. They are not an enemy, but they are a competitor. And they are a challenge. The only response to the question came in the form of talking about his new bill “The Strategic Act” aimed at Competing with China, and co-sponsored by Mitt Romney.
3) Peter, CdA, asked a question about support for doctors and nurses.
It was during this time that Risch admitted that he believes that developing a vaccine is going to be the most helpful. He did admit that this virus was not as bad as the Ebola pandemic, yet he did not address why the country, and world, was not shut down over that virus.
Risch also praised Bill and Melinda Gates, comparing them to Mother Theresa.
He also states that the World Health Organization, a UN entity, was helpful in the past, and he said that this time, there were “some mistakes made.”
He then talked about another bill he is sponsoring, the Global Health Bill, which will develop another entity to respond when this happens again, though his bill is touted as a prevention to keep pandemics from occurring in the future.
4) Harley, from Glen’s Ferry, asked about balancing the budget. There was a bit of a pause after this question.
Risch then comes in a tells of how painful it is for him to spend this kind of money, but it was so important that it was unanimously voted for by every member of the House and Senate.
5) Becky, from Idaho Falls, asked about the outlook of this Global Pandemic.
Risch talks about how hard this year has been, with impeachment, economic meltdown and pandemic in just the first half, with the main event coming in November.
Finishing on a high note, Risch tells everyone that, as Americans, we can get through this.
Overall, Risch did not give many answers, and sounded like he was replaying the talking points of a typical politician.
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