Risch, Crapo, Simpson back Trump on Syria strike
April 07-TWIN FALLS- Idaho's two senators and the congressman who represents the Magic Valley support President Donald Trump's missile attack on a Syrian airbase, while Idaho's other congressman thinks Congress needs to debate and authorize any further action. "I support the President's action against the Assad regime," said U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, who represents the eastern part of the state including the Magic Valley. "The United States of America took a strong stand tonight against the unfathomable act Bashar al-Assad conducted this week by murdering innocent men, women and children with a chemical attack." But U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, who represents the western part of the state from the Canadian border to Owyhee County, says that while he was appalled and heartbroken by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed dozens of civilians, the action that led to the U.S. strike against. the airfield from which that attack was launched, the response "must be in the best interests of the American people and approved by Congress through the deliberative process outlined in our Constitution." The House was not scheduled to vote on anything Friday, and both the House and Senate are scheduled to recess. until the last week of April. Labrador urged the leadership to call them back to debate whether further military action may be necessary. "President Trump needs to have an active dialogue with Congress about not only yesterday's attack but also any further engagement in Syria," Labrador said. "I agree with many of the points President Trump has made about Syria, but his policy will be more effective when it has strong, informed, and bipartisan support in Congress. The American people would benefit from a more active debate about the possible risks and benefits of U.S. intervention in Syria." Talking to CNN's Kate Bolduan Friday morning, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, who is on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, acknowledged the legal questions surrounding when the president has authority to order an attack. The Founding Fathers, he said, envisioned Congress would make this decision, but presidents from both parties have played a role in eroding this tradition. "You can get a battalion of lawyers on each side of this issue," he said. Risch said a "kinetic, surgical strike" like what Trump ordered is authorized under the War Powers Act. If Trump had asked Congress Thursday for authorization, Risch said, "we'd still be talking about it at Christmastime." Risch said the strike would lead countries such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and China to reevaluate their views of the United States and what the country might do. "I think this has demonstrated for us as Americans and for the world that this president is committed and that he's not afraid to act," Risch said. "I think the big story here is this is going to have impact worldwide." U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo also said he supports Trump'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. "I send my gratitude to the men and women of America's armed forces fighting our enemies abroad," he continued. "Let us also keep in our minds the memory of the victims of al-Assad's attacks as the United States and our allies fight the spread of terrorism." The responses of Idaho's all-Republican D.C. delegation to Trump's strike contrast with 2013, when former President Barack Obama asked Congress for authority. for military action against the Assad regime after a chemical weapons attack. Labrador opposed intervention then, while Simpson was "strongly leaning against" it. Crapo called it "a very dangerous step for the president to be taking" in a television interview. Risch was the most vocal against military action, voting in committee against the proposed strike and holding a news conference in Boise to explain his thinking. Trump himself was against strikes in 2013, tweeting several times that it was a bad idea. Risch said on CNN Friday that in 2013 he listened to Obama's plans and people didn't have confidence in them or how they would play out moving forward. Risch said there are discussions going on between the Trump administration and Congress right now as to what happen next. The senator said he would keep an open mind. "A lot of this has to do with the confidence you have in the commander-in-chief," he said. (c)2017 The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) Visit The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) at magicvalley.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.