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Labrador calls for Congressional vote following U.S. missile attack on Syria; McMorris Rodgers backs action

UPDATED: Fri., April 7, 2017, 12:54 p.m.

FILE – U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador on Nov. 19, 2015. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)
FILE – U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador on Nov. 19, 2015. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

The morning after American warships bombarded a Syrian air base with cruise missiles, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, is questioning the attack.

But most who represent the Inland Northwest in Congress backed the decision, including Spokane Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Labrador asked that any further action in Syria be debated, and voted on, by Congress.

“The Syrian government’s abuse of human rights is unacceptable and deserves a strong, thoughtful response from the United States and all civilized nations,” Labrador said in a news release. “However, our response must be in the best interests of the American people and approved by Congress through the deliberative process outlined in our Constitution.”

Idaho’s other representatives in Congress, including Sen. Jim Risch, Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson, have praised Trump for taking the action.

“The brutality of the Syrian regime seems to know no bounds. I support the president’s decisive actions to prevent further use of chemical weapons against innocent women, men, and children and from allowing those from falling into the hands of terrorists,” Crapo said in a statement.

Some members of the Washington delegation said the United States needed to take strong action against Assad, but called for more consultation with Congress in the future.

“The atrocities committed by the Assad regime are truly despicable and a strong response from the United States and the international community to protect civilians is absolutely necessary,” Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, said in a press release Friday. But the problem won’t be solved by a “one-time show of force” and Trump needs to explain his strategy to Congress and the public, she added.

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell called the targeted strike “appropriate” after the chemical attack.

“The international community and the UN should move more aggressively to counter Assad on his violation of Syria’s obligations to get rid of their chemical weapons,” Cantwell said. Trump must lay out a comprehensive strategy for the conflict, she added.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Spokane Republican, said Syrian people are living under Assad’s “reign of terror and the action Trump ordered Thursday night showed “the free world stands against these bad actors.”

“I look forward to hearing more details from the White House and their engagement with Congress on any further action,” she said.

Labrador’s stance is consistent with statements he made in 2013 when former President Obama considered launching a similar attack in Syria.

At that time Labrador said in a statement, “Nothing they (the administration) said changed the fact that we are not the police force of the world, we don’t have any compelling national interest in Syria, and it’s doubtful that an alternative government in Syria will be any better than the current one.”

In 2013, Labrador said he would vote no on authorizing the use of force in Syria. Congress never voted on the issue. Murray urged the use of diplomacy first and McMorris Rodgers hadn’t committed before Obama decided against seeking a congressional resolution.

Instead, the United States and Russia came to an agreement on removing Syria’s chemical weapons.

That agreement seemed to have failed following a chemical attack on Syrian civilians earlier this week. Some human rights activists and the United States blamed the attack on the Assad regime. President Trump decried the attacks, calling them “heinous.”

Three days later Trump authorized the launch of 59 cruise missiles targeting the Syrian government-controlled Shayrat air base in central Syria.



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