As right-wing Republicans in Congress threaten to shut down the government, many moderate Republicans are scrambling to avoid blame and protect their reelection chances. Representative Mike Lawler, a GOP congressman from New York, is one of 18 House Republicans representing districts that voted for President Biden. These swing-district representatives must try to appeal to a diverse range of constituents, from Trump supporters to independent voters. Lawler has spoken out against a government shutdown and has worked to bring a bipartisan spending patch to the floor. However, he is facing pressure from extreme members of his own party who are blocking government funding. Moderate Republicans like Lawler may face political consequences if the government does shut down, and Democrats have already started using the disorder to attack vulnerable Republicans in their campaigns.
Lawler’s efforts to find a compromise and work with members of other parties have garnered sympathy from some constituents, but frustration with the ongoing dysfunction in Washington remains high. House Democrats have seized the opportunity to criticize Republicans like Lawler for a shutdown that has not yet happened. The Senate is currently debating a bipartisan agreement for a stopgap funding bill that extends federal funding and provides aid to Ukraine and disaster relief. This proposal was put forward by the centrist Problem Solvers Caucus, of which Lawler is a member. However, far-right Republicans are opposing any temporary funding bill, leaving mainstream Republicans frustrated. Lawler and other vulnerable Republicans in competitive districts have considered working with Democrats to avoid a shutdown, but this may be challenging without support from Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Mainstream Republicans have expressed frustration with their hard-line counterparts, who continue to block a stopgap measure and risk a government shutdown. These moderate Republicans fear that their party will bear the blame for a shutdown, while the White House may use it to its advantage. Despite this, Lawler and some of his constituents believe that the hard-line Republicans who are blocking government funding will face the most political backlash. However, the situation remains uncertain, and Lawler’s reelection in 2024 is expected to be a tough race as Democrats aim to regain the seat. Overall, the article highlights a growing divide within the Republican Party and the challenges faced by moderate Republicans in navigating this political landscape.