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Author: The BCW

Congressman Lawler Offers Views, Solutions on Possible Shutdown

The Business Council of Westchester’s Political Leadership Series welcomed Rep. Mike Lawler, R-17th, on Tuesday to discuss the political scene in Washington and his legislative priorities.

John Ravitz, the BCW’s Executive Vice President and COO, moderated the webinar, whose discussion ranged from a possible government shutdown to domestic energy, immigration, the opioid epidemic and business regulations.

Lawler is a member of the 61-member, bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus that seeks a path to passing the bills needed to keep the government funded and open. Lawler said his objective is to avoid any shutdown and he chastised a small group of Republicans who he said are undermining House Majority Speaker Kevin McCarthy for personal reasons.

“I don’t think (a shutdown) will actually serve a purpose, certainly not one that is reflective of the American people. And I think it will be destructive,” said Lawler, adding that spending by the federal government must be cut. “We are at a point that this is wholly unsustainable. If we don’t start to make significant changes with the way we operate as a federal government and as a state government here in New York, I think we are on the precipice of an economic collapse.”

On energy, Lawler noted that he helped pass a bill to increase domestic production while the country works to transition away from fossil fuels.

“We have to be realistic about how we’re going to get there,” said Lawler. “(New York Comptroller) Tom DiNapoli just came out with a report a month ago that shows that New York is nowhere near meeting the goals of (its green energy plan). We have a real challenge with our energy supply going forward.”

Regarding the southern border crisis, Lawler said he is advocating for reinstating the Remain in Mexico policy for migrants seeking asylum. He called for increasing border patrols and court personnel to expedite asylum cases. As for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country, Lawler advocated long-term solutions. He also wants a merit-based system that prioritizes visas for skilled workers who can meet U.S. labor shortages in various sectors.

Lawler said the continuing opioid epidemic is a calamity fueled by fentanyl requires a national effort on substance abuse and mental health treatment, recovery, education and law enforcement. Lawler has introduced legislation that would allow federal prosecutors to charge fentanyl traffickers with attempted murder.

“We need to go after China with respect to the precursors of fentanyl and what they are doing transporting that to Mexico,” said Lawler. “We need to be going after the cartels and what they are doing to manufacture and traffic fentanyl across our southern border…If the Mexican government is not willing to take on the cartels, we need to use economic leverage through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.”

One webinar attendee asked Lawler if Congress can do anything to reduce government mandates and the over-regulation of businesses. “These regulatory agencies serve a purpose, an important purpose, but I think many of them have gone well outside their mandate,” said Lawler. “The regulatory burden across the board, especially on issues pertaining to energy and the environment, have had a big impact on businesses across the country…. We have to look at how we actually incentivize businesses to operate here as opposed to not.”

A recording of the discussion with Lawler is archived on the BCW’s YouTube page.

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