United States Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo recently joined 17 other Senate Republicans and all 50 Senate Democrats to pass Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Risch and Crapo joined the likes of Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski in supporting the infrastructure bill. This bill was not offset with any spending cuts, which means $1.2 trillion will be added to the national debt for our grandchildren to pay with interest.
Less than one half of the $1.2 trillion actually goes to infrastructure spending. For example, the infrastructure bill raises the price of future new vehicles that must have passive monitoring devices to detect drug and alcohol overuse in the vehicle. The infrastructure bill also includes a pilot program for a vehicle mileage tax that charges motorists a fee based on how many miles they drive. The more you drive, the more you pay. And the infrastructure bill requires more stringent reporting of cryptocurrency transactions.
I remember a time when Crapo voted against stuff like the $700 billion bank bailout, opposed deficit spending, and opposed needless government regulations. Back in 2008, Crapo said, “Congress simply has to control its unrestrained appetite for deficit spending.” I’ve attended many Republican Lincoln Days where Risch announced he was once again recognized “by the National Journal as the ‘most conservative’ senator in the United States Senate,” a statement Risch publishes to this day in his official Senate Biography.
The day after Risch and Crapo voted for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, I received a joint press release from Crapo and Risch stating, “Republicans will not Raise Debt Ceiling to Fuel Reckless Spending.” What? Obviously, the Risch and Crapo of old are not the same guys who just voted for the Democrats’ $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to be paid for with deficit spending. So, what has happened to the “most conservative senator” and his deficit hawk seatmate?
I decided to find a conservative index that rates U.S. Senators and see how Risch and Crapo have fared over the years. I found the New American “Freedom Index.” It “rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and avoiding foreign entanglements.” No self-respecting “most conservative” U.S. Senate Republican could possibly complain about that as a standard. Here’s how the Freedom Index has rated Crapo and Risch since 2012:
Year Crapo Risch
2012 95% 95%
2013 95% 93%
2014 75% 80%
2015 80% 80%
2016 60% 60%
2017 65% 65%
2018 50% 50%
2019 23% 46%
2020 30% 35%
I’d bet the farm Risch was thrilled with scores of 95% and 93% back in 2012 and 2013 when at Republican Lincoln Days he announced time and again he was the “most conservative” U.S. Senator. Crapo also scored a 95% in 2012 and even got a higher score than Risch in 2013. But since 2013 their Freedom Index scores have plummeted to about one third of what they once were. In fact, Crapo and Risch’s current Freedom Index scores of 30% and 35%, respectively, are unbelievably even lower than the 38% currently scored by self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. Just let that sink in.
The fact is that the longer Risch and Crapo serve in Washington, the more they become like the liberal swamp they claim they are fighting against. Now, in addition to serving the people of Idaho, they also serve as good examples of why we need terms limits for federal office holders.
Bryan Smith serves as the fourth vice chair of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee.