Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) today was elected chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the 116 th Congress. Notably, Risch is the third Idahoan to serve as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, following William Borah’s tenure from 1925-1933 and Frank Church’s two year term from 1979-1980.
“I am glad to have the confidence of my colleagues who have elected me chairman of this historic committee,” said Risch. “I have a great deal of respect for the legislative powers that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is granted. My decade of service on this committee and the Intelligence Committee, in addition to four decades of legislative and executive experience, has contributed to my view of American foreign policy and our nation’s standing in the world.
“I am firmly committed to doing whatever is necessary in my capacity as chairman to protect the security and interests of the American people, in addition to continuing to advance U.S. prosperity and leadership. This will necessitate that the committee give attention to the crises of the given moment as well as the larger strategic outlook for the future of American foreign policy. There will be time for both as our committee tackles a number of challenging issues and debates pragmatic solutions.
“I look forward to giving Idaho a voice on the global stage as we look to confront many issues that hit home across my state, like advancing the interests of Idaho citizens and businesses in international trade and investment, promoting Idaho exports, and supporting human rights and confronting the problem of sex trafficking. It is especially timely that important provisions of the Columbia River Treaty will need to be renegotiated by the State Department, which reports directly to this committee, and I will oversee these negotiations with Idaho as my top priority. The people of Idaho have elected me to public office many times over the years, and I am grateful for their continued trust and confidence.”
Chairman Risch served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the 115 th Congress, and is an active member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee on Ethics. Prior to his election to the Senate, Risch served the state of Idaho for decades, first as a state senator, then as a twice-elected lieutenant governor, and later as Idaho’s 31 stgovernor.
Established in 1816 as one of the original standing committees of the Senate, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has jurisdiction over legislation concerning the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, including foreign assistance, treaties, and declarations of war. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also is responsible for oversight of the U.S. State Department and review of executive branch nominations that carry out U.S. diplomacy, including secretary of state and U.S. ambassadorships.