U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, addressing the Idaho Senate today where he once presided as lieutenant governor and as president pro-tem, hauled out the actual printout of the congressional stimulus bill - all 1,100 pages of it - and slapped it on the lectern. “If you go through this, you cannot tell the answer to three questions of the money - how much, when, and what strings are going to come with it,” Risch declared, slapping his hand on the stack of paper, which was secured by several rubber bands. “There is very little in this bill that talks about that.” He restated his opposition to the stimulus idea, saying the country can’t spend its way out of recession.
Shortly before his speech, asked by a reporter if he’s read the stimulus bill - which Risch opposed - he said, “I did read parts of it, but only parts. It’s 1,100 pages long. … And reading a bill is not like reading a novel. It’s difficult reading.” Risch disputed President Obama’s contention that the bill lacks earmarks, saying it has $50 million to save the “red-breasted harvest mouse” in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s California district, and $8 billion for a “magnetic, levitating, high-speed train from Disneyland to the Las Vegas strip” in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s district.