Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador lost to Kevin McCarthy in the race to be the next U.S. House majority leader today; a USA Today story posted on KTVB-TV’s website here terms Labrador’s effort just “token” opposition to McCarthy, R-California; click below for a full report from the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Labrador’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, issued this statement:
“That’s the second time in a week that a room full of Republicans has refused to pretend that Raúl Labrador’s ready to lead,” Ringo said. “If Congressman Labrador can’t work with people who sometimes disagree with him, we can’t expect him to get anything done. Today’s vote showed that his House colleagues understand that, too.”
Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador made his pitch to fellow House Republicans today in his bid for House majority leader. “Remember, we regained control of the House in 2010 because Americans believed that Washington was not listening,” Labrador said. “If you vote for the status quo tomorrow, you will prove that we are still not listening. We will break our pledge, and with that we may lose the ability to regain control of the Senate and eventually win the Presidency.” You can read his full remarks here; he’s considered an underdog in his bid for the majority leader post against California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current majority whip. The position is opening because of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat in the Virginia GOP primary by an underfunded tea party challenger; the vote is scheduled for Thursday.
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador today sent a letter to House Republicans, urging them to support his bid for Majority Leader after Eric Cantor’s defeat in the Virginia GOP primary, instead of the leading candidate, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. “Promoting, by acclamation, a member of the very Washington leadership that has failed to bridge the divide with Republicans outside Washington struck me as exactly the wrong response,” Labrador told his colleagues. “And so, I have decided to stand for Majority Leader – running not against anyone, but for everyone. The simple fact is, Republicans will never again unite the country until we first unite our Party.” You can read his full letter here.
Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on Raul Labrador becoming a candidate today for majority leader of the U.S. House. Meanwhile, in Idaho, Labrador is chairing the state GOP convention this weekend, where a deep split between establishment Republicans and the tea party wing has resulted in nasty rules fights; on Friday afternoon, the party’s credentials committee voted to bar the entire delegations from Ada, Bannock and Power counties – which would remove more than a sixth of the delegates from voting on the party platform and state chairman.
Some in the party are calling on Labrador to be the healer and find a way to unite the party’s two wings, though he’s closely allied with the tea party wing. The full convention, under Labrador’s leadership, could accept or reject the committee’s ruling.
First District Congressman Raul Labrador’s Democratic opponent, state Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, had strong words today about Labrador’s announcement that he’ll run for U.S. House majority leader. “I have to admire Congressman Labrador’s consistency,” Ringo said. “First, he tried to divide Idaho Republicans by backing Russ Fulcher against Gov. Otter and opposing Mike Simpson in his primary. Now he’s trying to divide his party in Washington by running for a post he has no chance of winning and no business holding.”
Labrador actually was neutral in the 2nd District congressional primary race, declining to endorse either candidate, but he made a high-profile endorsement of Fulcher over Otter and campaigned with Fulcher in the final stretch before the election.
Ringo said, “We need a representative who understands the virtue of cooperation, and who would rather get a job done than throw up roadblocks. Far be it from me to complain when Washington, D.C. Republicans want to fight each other, but Idaho needs Congress to get back to work, and Congressman Labrador’s hobby of partisan in-fighting is really getting in the way.”
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador is running for Majority Leader in Congress, he announced to reporters in Boise today, after the defeat of GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary election. “I’m in it to win it,” Labrador said. “I didn’t get into it to send a message.”
Labrador said he’s spent the last three days trying to convince two other members of Congress to make the run, but when they wouldn’t, he decided to do it. “The reality is that there is a large segment of our conference that wants change,” he said. “What we need is somebody that can … grow the Republican Party, can get people to actually want to be Republicans again.”
Labrador spoke briefly with reporters in Boise as he and Sen. Rand Paul stopped off on their way to the Idaho GOP convention in Moscow, where Paul will give the keynote address tonight. Asked if he thought Labrador had a chance at winning the majority leader post, Paul said, “There really is a question what is the message that’s sent when the voters replace someone in leadership. They want someone different. I think Raul brings that.”
Idaho’s Raul Labrador, a tea party favorite, announced his intentions to replace outgoing GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a statement this morning.
“I am running for Majority Leader because I want to help create a vision of growth and opportunity for everyone and start getting to work for the American people,” Labrador, a sophomore lawmaker from Eagle, said in an official statement released through a spokesman.
In the statement, Labrador said he was “shocked” by Cantor’s loss in the Virginia primary Tuesday to relative unknown Dave Brat. But he said Cantor’s defeat sent a “clear” message that “Americans are looking for a change in the status quo.” More here.
What do you think of Labrador's chances at replacing Cantor?
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador was asked about the prisoner swap that freed Idaho Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl during his monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” session with reporters and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. this morning, and about comments from Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe that the focus should be on who is released from Guantanamo.
Labrador responded, “Sgt. Bergdahl and his family, they’re from my state, and I know the family pretty well, and I have been very careful in my statements to the media about this because I don’t think we should criticize the sergeant right now. We don’t know all the details of why he left, whether he left voluntarily, and I think we should be very careful as members of Congress to not escalate the rhetoric that leads to Americans trying to decide what happened in this case. I actually agree completely with Sen. Inhofe that we should concentrate on the exchange, whether that exchange should have been done or not, and to leave the Bergdahl family alone.”
He added, “As we wind down, we have to decide what we’re going to do with the detainees in Guantanamo. Some of them are going to be prosecuted, if they have committed prosecutable acts. Some of them are being detained under different classifications, and some of them are going to have to be released if we don’t have any actionable intelligence on them. The question really is should these five have been released at this time, and I think that’s … what I think most people object to. But there’s no question that if we’re going to wind down the war and we’re going to end the war in Afghanistan, that some of these people are going to have to be released, and I think we all need to understand that.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador, who earlier this week made waves by endorsing Russ Fulcher for governor over two-term fellow Republican Gov. Butch Otter, announced today that he’s endorsing four North Idaho incumbents for re-election to the Idaho Legislature: Sen. Bob Nonini, and Reps. Vito Barbieri, Kathy Sims and Ron Mendive. Here’s the kicker: Otter has endorsed the challengers to all four: Post Falls businessman Patrick Whalen over Nonini, firefighter Fritz Wiedenhoff over Barbieri, former Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie over Kathy Sims, and longtime Post Falls city official Terry Werner over Mendive.
You can read Labrador’s full announcement here. Here’s Nonini’s statement on the endorsements:
“I am proud to have the strong endorsement of Congressman Raúl Labrador. We worked together well in the Idaho House and support the SAME conservative principles shared by the vast majority of Idaho Republicans.
I have not supported Otter's 7+ years of failed leadership. I was adamantly opposed to welcoming ObamaCare into Idaho and, alongside then State Representative Labrador, I helped defeat the Governor's attempt in the depth of our recession to raise the gas-tax on all Idahoans. Idaho is no better off today than it was when he became governor.”
Here is Otter’s endorsement statement for Whalen:
“Pat's vision for economic development and education demonstrate that he understands the issues important to northern Idaho. I appreciate Pat's philosophy of lower taxes, smaller government and better schools. Please join me in supporting Pat Whalen for the Idaho State Senate.”
Gov. Butch Otter’s campaign had no comment on the announcement today from 1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador that he’s endorsing Russ Fulcher, Otter’s GOP primary challenger. Here’s some more of what Labrador had to say: “Idaho’s business climate is not competitive with other states, our citizens are hurting and our state is more dependent on the federal government. I believe that Butch Otter has failed to lead.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
First District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador endorsed Russ Fulcher for governor today, over two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter. “Butch Otter has done a lot of things to admire in office,” Labrador said at a Statehouse news conference with Fulcher. “But after 40 years in government, he has lost his way. … Idahoans are looking for leaders with political courage and fresh ideas. Russ Fulcher has both. … He will give our state a chance to fulfill its promise.” Labrador, a tea party favorite who’s facing only token opposition in his bid for a third term in Congress, said he believes Idaho “should be the next Silicon Valley,” and said he thought Fulcher would steer the state to “high tech and high wages”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Eye on Boise photo: Betsy Russell)
Question: Is Labrador taking a big political risk here by endorsing the opponent of a two-term governor?
First District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador endorsed Russ Fulcher for governor today, over two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter. “Butch Otter has done a lot of things to admire in office,” Labrador said at a Statehouse news conference with Fulcher. “But after 40 years in government, he has lost his way. … Idahoans are looking for leaders with political courage and fresh ideas. Russ Fulcher has both. … He will give our state a chance to fulfill its promise.”
Labrador, a tea party favorite who’s facing only token opposition in his primary-election bid to run for a third term in Congress, said he believes Idaho “should be the next Silicon Valley,” and said he thought Fulcher would steer the state to “high tech and high wages.” “I think what we need is a new vision for Idaho,” Labrador said. “We need strong leaders. We should not go with the good-old-boys network.”
Fulcher said, “This is not simple and this is not easy for Raul Labrador to do. I recognize that. There is a political cost any time you make a statement like that.” He lauded Labrador for standing on principle, and said, “That is the approach that I intend to follow as the governor of the state.”
Labrador had previous endorsed Lawerence Denney in the four-way GOP race for Idaho Secretary of State, and Todd Hatfield in his challenge to GOP state Controller Brandon Woolf. Denney, Hatfield and Fulcher are part of a slate of candidates opposing current Idaho GOP officials in the primary including Otter; Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who is being challenged by Jim Chmelik; and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who is being challenged by C.T. “Chris” Troupis.
Sixteen- and 17-year-olds should be able to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision, 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador says. He’s proposed legislation to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow that, saying, “While the agriculture industry enjoys regulatory exemptions that allow family members between the ages of 16 and 17 to work under their parents’ supervision, the logging industry doesn’t have that same right.” As a result, Labrador said, “Young men and women in families who own and operate timber harvesting companies are denied the opportunity to work and learn the family trade until they reach adulthood.” You can read Labrador’s full announcement here. He's calling his bill the “Future Logging Careers Act.”
Congressman Raul Labrador's response to a question re: climate change presented by David Gregory of NBC's “Meet the Press”:
It’s interesting that about a decade ago there was a lot of talk about “global warming.” Thirty years ago we were talking about “global cooling.” Now all we hear about is “climate change.” There has been evidence throughout history of cycles when the earth gets warmer and cycles when the earth gets colder. We should always be wise stewards of the earth and all of our natural resources. But as a policymaker, I won't be guided by the global warming propaganda machine. Al Gore - we need you to return your Nobel Peace Prize!/Meet the Press. Full transcript of interview here.
During the weekend, the story about an alleged ethics violation became less about the accused - Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. - and more about her accuser. That would be Todd Winer, who according to sources cited by the Spokesman-Review filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The OCE has forwarded the file on to the House Ethics Committee, which may hold hearings. Winer used to be McMorris Rodgers' press secretary. But that isn't the juiciest part.After departing the Washington Republican's office, he took up a similar post with Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. In fact, he'd been working for Labrador for about a month when OCE got the complaint/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Inland Northwest legislators had their fingers in several pieces of sweeping, high-profile federal legislation enacted in 2013, including an update to the Violence Against Women Act cosponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and a bipartisan budget resolution with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as its Democratic steward. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also earned the rare distinction of a unanimous House of Representatives vote in favor of her bill easing licensing restrictions for dams with limited power capacities.
GovTrack, an independent bill-tracking service launched in 2004, ranked lawmakers across several categories, including number of roll call votes missed, number of bills sponsored and how many of the 20 bills the service identified as enhancing government transparency the lawmaker voted for. The rankings are comprehensive, but here are some highlights for those representing the Inland Northwest:
- McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, are the only two Inland Northwest lawmakers who introduced bills that became law. In addition to McMorris Rodgers' dam bill, Hastings introduced legislation establishing a national helium fund for proceeds of the gas' production on federal lands. The bill passed both chambers by wide margins.
- McMorris Rodgers, who gave birth to a baby girl in November, has missed the greatest percentage of votes in the 113th Congress among Inland Northwest delegates, failing to record a preference in 7.5% of votes tallied so far. In the Senate, which votes far less frequently, Cantwell has missed 0.3% of roll calls, the lowest share among area lawmakers.
- Among those lawmakers tracked by GovTrack, Cantwell has the highest share of bills she's cosponsored joined by members of the competing party. More than half - or 53.3% - of Cantwell's bills have been joined by a GOP cosponsor. Cantwell's colleague in the Senate, Patty Murray, was joined by a GOP lawmaker as a cosponsor on 29% of her bills, slightly lower than the percentage of bills proposed by McMorris Rodgers (29.4%) and Hastings (35%) joined by Democrats. Unlisted in the figures provided by GovTrack were Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Eagle).
Congress is mulling a number of major legislative initiatives in the coming months as lawmakers prep for another election cycle. On tap are major bills addressing unemployment benefits, immigration reform and an extension of agriculture legislation.
Idaho's two congressmen split in last night's 332-94 House vote on a bipartisan budget deal, with 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson voting in favor, and 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voting against. The deal, brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., sets federal spending on domestic and defense programs and averts the threat of a government shutdown for the next two years; it makes modest changes in spending levels, replaces about $63 billion in automatic sequester budget cuts, adds new fees on airline passengers and increases federal workers’ pension contributions; it’s expected to pass the Senate next week. The deal leaves in place the bulk of the $1 trillion in sequester cuts through 2021, but eases an especially harsh set of cuts scheduled to hit in 2014 and 2015 on the Pentagon, domestic agencies and Medicare providers.
Labrador called it “a bad deal, plain and simple,” while Simpson said it “preserves dozens, perhaps hundreds of jobs at Idaho National Laboratory, lays the groundwork for extending PILT payments, achieves greater savings for taxpayers than those contained in sequestration, and does all of it without raising taxes.”
Here’s Labrador’s statement, and more online here:
“This is a bad deal, plain and simple. Once again, Congress is making promises of future spending decreases in exchange for actual spending increases today. Republicans should keep the promise they made to the American people that they would use the sequester to address the true drivers of our debt and fight for real entitlement reform. We had a historic opportunity to find common ground in order to save Medicare and Social Security. Once again, we kicked the can down the road while making empty promises to the American people.”
From Simpson, whose full statement is online here:
“My Republican colleagues and I have been seeking reforms to sequestration that lessen the pain on the military, allow Congress to budget in a more orderly process, and maintain or enhance the long-term savings achieved by the Budget Control Act. The bill we passed today accomplishes all three of those goals and is a positive step in the right direction. I am especially relieved that the agreement short circuits some of the devastating sequester-based cuts to Idaho National Laboratory – including cuts to its core nuclear energy research programs, the guard force that secures the facility against terrorism or sabotage, and ongoing cleanup activities that are so important to the protection of the environment and human health. The agreement also provides room in the budget to continue funding for PILT.”
Musing about what his “tea party” identification means, Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador said today, “I always used to joke around that I was tea party before tea party was cool.” But he noted that he never joined the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House. “I think any time you try to formalize a movement like that, you actually take away some of its legitimacy,” he told reporters. “The tea party is kind of an amorphous group that has a bunch of different definitions.”
He said in his view, “It’s about being somebody who’s not necessarily beholden to the special interest groups. That’s why I sometimes identify with the tea party, sometimes identify with the libertarian side, I sometimes identify with the so-called conservatives. … What you have is a bunch of people … that are frustrated with business as usual.” He defined that business-as-usual as, “In order to talk to a politician, have a politician pay attention to you, you actually have to just donate money to their campaign.”
Longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby called Labrador’s definition “pretty broad and amorphous – it would apply to a lot of populist groups.” But he noted, “There certainly is a lot of populism within the tea party movement.”
During a conference call with reporters today, Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador was asked about minimum wage protests across the country among fast food workers. “I’m against raising the minimum wage,” Labrador said. He said minimum-wage jobs allow entry-level workers to “acquire the skills that are necessary, so they can move up … the job ladders. If you make it more difficult for people to hire them at minimum wage, it’s impossible for them … to gain the experience that they need so they can make more money in the future.”
He added, “I lived with this in my own life. … My mom worked at McDonalds at one point in her life. She decided she wanted to make more money, so she got into the management program at McDonalds. That’s how you move up the chain. … Every time she had a job she would start at the bottom, and she would work her way up into management. She was still not making a ton of money, but that’s how people get ahead in life.”
He predicted “an explosion of unemployment if we start raising the minimum wage.” Idaho has the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers in the nation, at 7.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national rate is 4.7 percent.
The state’s minimum wage matches the federal rate at $7.25 per hour; its minimum for tipped employees is $3.35 per hour. An initiative currently is circulating to raise Idaho’s minimum wage to $9.80 in phases over the next four years; last week, initiative backer Anne Nesse said about a tenth of the required signatures have been gathered to place the measure on the ballot, with about four months to go.
Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, who has been at the center of talks in Congress on immigration reform, now says he now believes reform likely won’t happen this year after all, and he’s advised House GOP leaders that “it’s not the time” to negotiate with the Obama Administration on the issue. Labrador’s comments come as reform proponents, including prominent Idaho business and agriculture leaders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stepped up a lobbying effort this week to push for reforms now.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen this session unless we start seeing some more good-faith efforts on the part of the president to negotiate,” Labrador told reporters Friday. The recent fight over the government shutdown and fiscal crisis “just exacerbated the lack of trust between the two sides,” the second-term congressman said. “There’s no need to negotiate, if the issue that they have is that it has to be their bill or the highway.”
Labrador said, “My goal is to fix the system, if it takes one year, or three years, or five years, whatever it is. Hopefully it’s not five years.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
1st District Rep. Raul Labrador is headed into what could be hostile territory next week – Idaho Falls and the Idaho National Laboratory, a huge employer in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District. Labrador twice voted to gut the national nuclear research funding that operates the facility, potentially threatening thousands of jobs at the INL. He’s scheduled to tour the place next week and to address the Rotary Club in nearby Idaho Falls.
“We’ve been trying to do it for months,” Labrador said, but scheduling conflicts put the visit off until now. “They know they’re going to get a frank discussion with me, that I don’t mince my words and I don’t beat around the bush,” he said. “I understand the importance of INL to Idaho, but they also need to understand we have a $17 trillion debt, so we’re going to have a very interesting conversation.”
One reason the shutdown remains so intractable is a core of House Republicans who signalled in August they wanted to eliminate the federal health care reforms.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner, 80 House Republicans said they supported using the “power of the purse” to end the law. It didn't get much attention at the time, but in the last week, as the shutdown loomed and then occured, national political commentators have pointed to the letter, and its author Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, as a key to they deadlock.
Several readers have asked if Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers or any of Washington's GOP House members signed onto the letter.They did not. But Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho did.
For a map of the districts of those who signed on to the letter, click here.
Democratic state Rep. Shirley Ringo says Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador is among a group “holding the country hostage to serve their extreme agenda” by refusing to fund the government without delaying Obamacare. Labrador counters that the House Republicans proposal to delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate by a year is “very reasonable” and calls Tuesday’s partial closure of the federal government “The Obama Shutdown”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
- Labrador tweets that he's going to discuss the shutdown on two national TV programs tonight.
Question: Why are the national media so interested in Labrador?
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador blamed a potential federal government shutdown next month on what he sees as President Barack Obama's unwillingness to delay the health care reform law's further implementation. With a shutdown, there “wouldn't be a significant change” visible to most Americans, the Republican said Tuesday in an interview with The Press editorial board. A shutdown is possible at the end of this month because the U.S. House and Senate can't agree on a budget bill for continued government funding. The two houses are battling over funding for the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare. A recent House version of a proposed stopgap budget, known as a “continuing resolution,” includes an item that would defund Obamacare. That won't go anywhere in the Democratic controlled Senate. So if the Senate strips the defunding provision out of the House budget, Labrador said a delay of Obamacare would be a great compromise/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Do you think the 1st District supports Congressman Labrador's continuing fight against Obamacare, even if it means a shutdown of the federal government?
Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador on Thursday introduced the bipartisan “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” to prohibit discrimination in the U.S. tax code against “individuals or institutions that exercise religious conscience regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” As of Thursday’s introduction, Labrador’s H.R. 3133 has 60 Republican and two Democratic co-sponsors, including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group that advocates conservative social and economic causes. Labrador told the Statesman he wrote the bill as a response to the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act’s barring of federal recognition of gay marriage/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you support/oppose this bill?
1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador announced today that he is co-sponsoring a resolution introduced today by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 only if President Obama's health care law is both de-funded and its individual mandate to purchase insurance delayed for a year. “If there’s any single issue that can unite House Republicans and has the strong support of the American people, it’s getting rid of ObamaCare,” Labrador declared/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you support/oppose the bill that Raul Labrador is co-sponsoring?
1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador announced today that he is co-sponsoring a resolution introduced today by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 only if President Obama's health care law is both de-funded and its individual mandate to purchase insurance delayed for a year. “If there’s any single issue that can unite House Republicans and has the strong support of the American people, it’s getting rid of ObamaCare,” Labrador declared. “The resolution I’m cosponsoring will keep the government open while keeping overall spending at the same rate the Senate has already agreed to through the sequester. House Leadership should bring it to the floor for a vote. If the House passes it and the Senate rejects it, it will be the Senate that’s responsible for shutting down the government. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but House Republicans must seize this opportunity to keep our promises to the American people on ObamaCare.”
Click below for Labrador's full news release. Meanwhile, President Obama, in a White House speech yesterday, blasted House Republicans who are taking that position, saying, “I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can't get 100% of what it wants.” In his speech, which House GOP leaders criticized as partisan, Obama asked, “Are some of these folks so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they're willing to tank our whole economy?”
Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador uses his weekly electronic newsletter to reaffirm his opposition to use of force in Syria, recounting an exchange with a veteran whose son served in Afghanistan and is “no longer the same.” In an 800-word essay, Labrador says the woman, whose husband also is a veteran, begged him to “keep us out of Syria.” Labrador recounts meeting the woman at the Boise Philharmonic’s “Americana” concert Aug. 30 in Eagle and himself being moved by a piece by composer John Williams from the World War II film, “Saving Private Ryan.” “As I was listening to the music, I could not stop thinking about the many men and women who had given their lives in defense of our country and ached for them and their families,” Labrador writes. “I also thought about those who could lose their lives if we got embroiled in a conflict in Syria/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you agree with Congressman Labrador that “We are not the police force of the world”?
After President Obama gave his speech on Syria last night, there was a scramble to get reaction from the region's congressional delegation, and fit it into the tight space in this morning's Spokesman-Review. We wound up with a shortened version of the reaction. For a fuller version of their comments, go inside the blog.
Congressman Raul Labrador issued a statement re: 9/11, which reads in part:
“Twelve years ago today, over 3,000 Americans were killed in the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history. Today, we honor the memory of those we lost that day, including those who gave their lives to save the lives of others. We must never forget the victims or their families. Nor can we forget the reason we were attacked – the freedom we enjoy at home, and our willingness to serve as a beacon of freedom to people all around the world. We must stay vigilant in the fight against terrorism. One year ago today, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were murdered in Benghazi in another terrorist attack. It is my hope that today’s anniversary will spur greater action to bring the perpetrators to justice and to get a full accounting of what happened on that fateful day.” More here.
Question: Is 9/11 a good day to make a political statement re: Benghazi?