Senator Risch risks government shutdown to prevent honor for former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus

Posted at 7:57 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 21:57:54-04

    An age old rivalry involving Idaho Senator Jim Risch nearly derailed the federal spending bill.
    Risch was apparently angry that a provision on the bill would rename the White Clouds Wilderness Preserve after former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus.
    But even though he's gone ... Cece still prevailed.

    A government shutdown hung in the balance as Idaho Senator Jim Risch reportedly refused to sign the spending bill, angry it honored deceased Idaho Goveror Cecil Andrus.
    Former Andrus chief of staff, Marc Johnson responded, "To have him throw up apparently quite a fit over it literally at the 11th hour was surpising."

The Andrus provision came from Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, who said it was a well-deserved honor for a man who dedicated his life to public service.

Johnson says it's no secret Andrus and Risch did not like each other, "Jim Risch has always held Cece Andrus responsible for being a successful democrat in a Republican state a Democrat who often got the best of Risch in the legislative process."
The two battled over education spending in the 80's and Johnson explains why, "Frankly because it was Andrus' idea."
But because any change to the federal spending bill would need house approval, senate leadership convinced Risch to give in for the sake of avoiding a government shutdown.
Meaning, even from the grave, Cece beat his old rival.

"I don't think he's damaged Cece Andrus' legacy," says Johnson, "but he certainly defined how he's going to be remembered."
We contacted senator Risch's office for comment on this story but have not heard back.