Vulnerable GOP lawmaker to appear with Biden in New York

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) will appear alongside President Biden on Wednesday when he travels to the GOP lawmaker’s district for a speech focused on the debt limit.

Lawler told The Associated Press, which first reported on his attendance, he accepted the White House’s invitation “maybe to their surprise,” adding “he’s coming to my district specifically to talk about the most pressing issue.”

Biden is expected to target the House Republican plan to lift the borrowing limit and implement spending cuts during his Wednesday remarks.

Lawler’s office confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday the congressman will appear at Biden’s speech. The speech is set to be at SUNY Westchester Community College, which is in Lawler’s congressional district in the New York suburbs.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not confirm Tuesday whether Biden would appear with Lawler, nor did she explain why the president chose to speak in Lawler’s district.

“The president’s always going to be honest with the American people. There’s a real question about where our economy’s going, and that’s something the president’s going to lay out for the American people,” Jean-Pierre said during a Tuesday press briefing at the White House.

“They need to know what’s at stake here, where we’re headed with our economy,” she continued.

Biden’s speech will take place less than 40 miles from Wall Street, which is bracing for the damage of a potential default on the national debt.

The White House announced earlier Tuesday that Biden would travel to the Hudson Valley area in New York on Wednesday to “discuss why Congress must avoid default immediately and without conditions.”

The president will also talk about “how the House Republican Default on America Act will cut veterans’ health care visits, teachers and school support staffs, and Meals on Wheels for seniors,” according to a White House advisory.

Lawler won his seat by less than a percentage point in 2022, defeating then-Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The race marked the first general election defeat for a campaign chairperson of either party since 1980.

His win, however, was a surprise to many, considering Biden won in the district by roughly 10 percentage points just two years before.

Biden’s speech in New York comes as Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over how to raise the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revealed last week the U.S. could run out of cash to pay its bill as early as June 1, leaving lawmakers little time to hash out a deal and increase the borrowing limit.

Biden and the top four congressional leaders are scheduled to meet at the White House on Tuesday afternoon amid the high-stakes standoff.

Biden and congressional Democrats have said they want a “clean” debt ceiling increase, meaning no conditions are associated with the hike, but Republicans are pushing for spending cuts to be associated with any raise in the borrowing limit.

Last week, House Democrats unveiled a secret plan — using a discharge petition — to force a vote on a debt limit increase if the stalemate continues. Assuming all Democrats remain banded together, however, the caucus will need at least five Republicans to come on board, but the prospects of that are unclear.

Lawler signaled last week he would not help Democrats with the effort.

“Throughout this discussion, I have had three parameters: the President must negotiate with the Speaker; we must cut spending; and we cannot default. Nothing has changed. The President and Senator Schumer must negotiate — refusing to do so is putting the full faith and credit of our nation at risk,” he told The Hill in a statement.

Alex Gangitano contributed.

Tags Debt limit Joe Biden Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Mike Lawler Sean Patrick Maloney

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more