The gift of life is beautiful. Democrats and Republicans must do more to protect IVF.

May 3, 2024

By Mike Lawler and Marc Molinaro

For any parent, some of the happiest moments in life are the days their children are born. As fathers, we know firsthand just how beautiful the gift of life is for all families, and the joy of holding your child is immeasurable. As members of Congress, we have sought to do all we can to make life easier for families by working to tackle persistent inflation, lower tax burdens, maintain a strong social safety net and encourage people to start families. That’s why we were so troubled to see a recent decision by the Alabama State Supreme Court that could rob families of ever being able to experience the joy of parenthood.

The decision forced clinics around the state to indefinitely pause access to IVF services for thousands of women. Doctors reluctantly made the decision until they could receive further clarification on what legal liabilities they and their patients could face when going through the IVF process.

While we were heartened to see Alabama’s House and Senate swiftly respond by passing bills to protect doctors and clinics that perform IVF, it remains unnerving that a single, out-of-touch state court was able to unilaterally muscle through these broad restrictions.

The ruling is especially outlandish when you consider how out-of-step it is with the views of a super-majority of Americans. One CBS News poll found that 86% of Americans believe IVF should be legal. And across the country, in red states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Ohio, voters are making it emphatically clear that they are opposed to more restrictions on women.

This watershed moment should be raising red flags for legislators at all levels of government and from both parties.

Unfortunately, it has not. This issue has been largely ignored, especially by members of our own party. We are done waiting. We believe, like most Americans believe, that women and families who choose IVF to bring life into this world should be protected.

That’s why we crossed party lines and became the first two Republicans to sign onto Democrat Rep. Susan Wild’s bill to federally protect IVF services.

Rep. Mike Lawler talks with his constituents during his Mobile Office Hours event at Haverstraw Village Hall Feb. 22, 2024.

This commonsense measure will statutorily protect IVF — precluding any court from forcing its views on IVF onto another woman or family. But supporting IVF protections is just the tip of the iceberg. We should also be doing more to support women and families. That’s why we championed the expansion of the Child Tax Credit in the recent bipartisan tax bill and are fighting to protect critical programs like WIC, which provides supplemental food, health care, and nutrition education for low-income women, infants and children.

We recognize and respect that each of us have different life experiences that shape our views on important issues and different circumstances that inform our decisions. But when it comes to IVF, we can’t let political affiliation get in the way of a commonsense policy that is so popular, and so personal for so many.

Rep. Marc Molinaro talks during a swearing-in ceremony in Saugerties, NY, on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2023.

We hope that by raising our voices, sanity will prevail, and more Republicans will back our effort.

Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican, represents New York’s 17th District and Rep. Marc Molinaro, also a Republican, represents New York’s 19th District.

Here’s what I saw during my visit to Columbia University

May 2, 2024

Opinion | The Hill
By Mike Lawler

In recent months, we’ve witnessed a troubling surge in antisemitic incidents on our college campuses — culminating in the horrific scenes playing out at “elite” universities this spring. This wave of hatred, camouflaged as political activism, has sown division and left many Jewish students feeling unsafe. 

Just a week ago, I joined Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Reps. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), and Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) at Columbia University to hear directly from Jewish students and to meet with members of Columbia’s administration. 

What I heard shocked me. 

Jewish students said they couldn’t attend classes without facing verbal or physical assault and harassment. 

Administration officials begged off of lax enforcement of campus policies, claiming negotiating with students was more productive than having consequences. 

And this has all led to where we find ourselves today. 

Non-enforcement of university policy and a twisted priority placed on not upsetting radical elements of student bodies across the country has allowed this extreme, hateful minority of students to hijack college and university campuses across the country for their own means. 

From California to New York, Illinois to Massachusetts and Ohio to Washington, D.C., these impromptu encampments of hatred have sprouted up. 

And all the while, their occupants have joined in antisemitic chants calling for the extermination of the state of Israel, carrying signs that read “Final Solution” and “Al-Qassam’s Next Targets,” and have expressed support for terrorist groups. 

Will we, as a country, root out and clamp down on these hate mongers, or will we let our country become a breeding ground for antisemitism? 

I know where I stand on this issue. 

Last October, shortly after Hamas’s horrific attack, I introduced the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which passed the House by a broad, bipartisan margin last night. 

It very clearly defines what antisemitism is, preventing the Department of Education from pretending it can’t be defined. It establishes that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism and its contemporary examples is the one to be used in enforcement of federal antidiscrimination laws. 

It would also expand the authority of the Department of Education to go after antisemitism on college campuses, forcing compliance with federal statutes on antisemitism, and preventing weak-kneed college and university administrators from tolerating this hatred on their campuses. 

Let me be clear. Never again is now. We cannot, as Congress, waver in our resolve and commitment to fighting hatred and antisemitism. 

History will judge us for what we do at this moment. And the question for the Senate is simple: Will you stand up to the radicals spouting antisemitism and calling for a genocide of the Israeli and Jewish people? 

I know what my answer is. And I know what our country’s answer must be. 

Mike Lawler represents New York’s 17th District.

The Real Record: Mondaire Jones Equated Immigration and Customs Enforcement with Terrorist Groups and Supports Open Borders

April 20, 2024

Op Ed | Rockland County Times
By Mike Lawler

In a recent op-ed, my opponent Mondaire Jones flat-out lied about my record regarding the border crisis—a crisis that started on his watch and has been worsened by politicians he supports, like President Biden and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

While I have been actively involved in trying to secure our border while addressing the need for immigration reform as a co-author of the bipartisan Dignity Act for nearly a year, Mondaire Jones did nothing during his time in office to secure the border.

In fact, Mondaire Jones claimed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was a “racist institution” and that any Democrat who supported funding ICE needed to do some “soul-searching”. If that wasn’t radical enough, Jones also claimed that Border Patrol agents were guilty of “unfathomable cruelty” in doing their jobs to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

This isn’t the only inflammatory statement Mondaire has lodged against law enforcement, either, frequently calling our brave cops “white supremacists”, and more.

During his time in office, Mondaire Jones had ample opportunity to try and address the crisis at our Southern Border. Instead, he focused on trying to find ways to exacerbate it.

Mondaire Jones was a cosponsor of the “Reimagining Asylum Processing Act of 2021” – a bill which would have codified the current Catch and Release policies of the Biden Administration.

Worse still, the bill has a specific carve out for migrants who are a security risk, stating that the “least restrictive alternative to detention” must be imposed even if the “alien poses a security threat”.

In other words, Mondaire favors lawlessness and open borders. But it gets worse – Mondaire was an original cosponsor of the “Fair Adjudications for Immigrants Act”, which, despite the innocent-enough-sounding name, would actually prevent deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of a crime.

Let me be frank: If Mondaire Jones returns to Congress, he won’t quit until the whole country is one big Sanctuary City like New York. How is that working out?

While Mondaire gives Rockland County and the Hudson Valley lip service on what he wouldn’t do to fix the problem, I’ve been working since day one on real solutions.

From the Dignity Act, to H.R.2, to the funding in the recent bipartisan appropriations package (which Mondaire refused to support) that funded thousands of new Border Patrol agents, I’m going to keep ignoring the noise from a desperate, flailing campaign, and focus on delivering real results for the Hudson Valley.

The recent bipartisan appropriations package is a good example -we were able to secure, just in Community Project Funding, more than what Mondaire Jones brought back in CPF in his entire term.

You remember Mondaire’s failed tenure, right? He served for two years where fellow Democrats pushed him out before it was even over because they knew he was too radical for the Hudson Valley. So, he fled to Brooklyn to run there, and then lost again.

I’m going to remain focused on my job, and recommend Mondaire prep for his return to cable news as a talking head.

Hudson Valley families deserve SALT relief. Congress must deliver

March 2, 2024

Lohud – Opinion
By Mike Lawler

 A cop and a teacher with two small children and a modest home in Yorktown.  

A shop owner and a nurse in Suffern. 

A landscaper and a non-profit executive expecting a first child in Carmel. 

This is what middle class families look like in the Hudson Valley, and many of them are hurting.  

Prior to 2017, married New York couples were able to fully deduct state and local taxes — SALT — from their perennial federal income tax filings. The 2017 SALT revisions, signed into law by then-President Donald Trump, restricted the amount one can deduct to $10,000 for both individuals and married couples, effectively penalizing couples for tying the knot. That’s no small loss for families pinching pennies to get by.  

A recent non-partisan study estimated that amounted to a $1,700 tax increase for local families — on top of what are already the highest taxes in America. 

I promised voters I’d do something about this if elected to Congress, and I’m proud to say that, after months of passionate haranguing, I was able to force through the Rules Committee legislation I authored called “The SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act” (H.R.7160) that would provide a full $20,000 annual deduction for married couples. 

In passing the 2017 SALT deduction changes, politicians in both parties in Washington argued that families living in high tax states, like New York and California, have no right to higher federal deductions than Americans in other states. They reasoned that by penalizing taxpayers in expensive, big-government states, voters feeling the sting would pressure state and local legislators to begin reducing their tax loads. 

Good luck with that in New York, where the Democratic governor and Democratic majority in the Legislature have shown zero willingness to reduce New York’s tax load, only adding to it with outrageous new taxing schemes like the upcoming $15 congestion tax to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street by car. Indeed, Albany hasn’t substantially lowered taxes since former Gov. George Pataki’s personal income tax cut in his first year in office. That was a long, long time ago. 

With near total gridlock in Washington, a common-sense, bipartisan law change over SALT would have pointed the way for other cooperative efforts between the two parties. God knows we need that.  

When I first ran for Congress almost two years ago, I promised voters that I’d call “balls and strikes” in Washington on legislation that could help or hurt my constituents. The SALT deduction inequity for married couples is one of those issues. It doesn’t matter that my Republican colleagues passed the 2017 SALT limitations, or that they were signed into law by a president from my own political party, the revisions were bad for my neighbors, so I need to do something about it, politics be damned. 

I had been hopeful to have enough bipartisan support for this measure to finally reverse the SALT inequity on married New Yorkers. 

But, alas, partisan politics got in the way. 

For years, Democrats, including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, have claimed they’re fighting to lift or repeal the SALT Cap.  

Yet, just like when they controlled the White House, Senate, and House in 2021 and 2022, when Democrats were presented with a real opportunity to provide SALT relief to hundreds of thousands of families across New York State, they balked. Every single New York House Democrat voted no. Why? Because they put politics before the very people they represent with Leader Jeffries making it clear he wouldn’t allow New York Republicans a “win” in an election year. 

So much for wanting to work across party lines to address SALT. 

There are also a number of Republicans in Washington who didn’t support my bill, and they’ve let me know it. Some of them loudly. They erected every possible obstacle to my legislation along the way to kill off this latest attempt at SALT relief which Hudson Valley residents so deserve. 

Shame on both parties — especially as we had all just worked together on a landmark tax bill, which I supported, that greatly expanded the Child Tax Credit and enacted significant small business tax cuts. 

I joined with my Democratic colleague from New Jersey, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, whom I am also working with in opposition to the congestion pricing tax, to lobby for these changes. Gottheimer and I even sent a joint letter to the Ways and Means Committee advocating for this critical tax relief. 

There was a time in Washington when bipartisan efforts like ours were a matter of course. We need to get back to that again. 

But rest assured, I will not be deterred. We will continue to work towards lifting the cap on SALT — which expires in 2025 — and fighting for hard working middle-class New Yorkers and Hudson Valley families that need immediate tax relief. 

Rep. Mike Lawler represents New York’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Rockland County, Putnam County and portions of Westchester and Dutchess counties.

Welcome to New York. That’ll Be 100 Bucks

February 1, 2024

Opinion | WSJ
By Mike Lawler and Josh Gottheimer

Traffic in Manhattan, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2023. PHOTO: YUKI IWAMURA/BLOOMBERG NEWS

We are from different states and political parties. Our views on issues vary widely. But on at least one thing, we passionately agree: New York’s “congestion pricing” plan for Midtown Manhattan, scheduled to begin later this year, is a greedy and unnecessary cash grab. It’s a slap in the face to hardworking families, small-business owners and commuters who want to put food on their family tables. It should be repealed, root and branch.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs public transportation in New York, stands to benefit from the revenue generated by congestion pricing. If the agency has its way, drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street will pay a daily driving tax of $15—nearly $4,000 a year—if they have an E-ZPass account. Those without one will be billed $22.50 a day by mail.

New York being New York, it doesn’t stop there. The MTA has unilateral authority to declare “Gridlock Alert Days” whenever it needs to line its pockets more, which will add 25% surge pricing to the daily invoice. The state has also reserved the authority to raise the congestion tax by 10% in 2024, its very first year.

For drivers entering the city from New Jersey and suburban Rockland County, N.Y., the congestion tax is a looming nightmare. Drivers will pay as much as $24.75 a day on top of the $17-a-day bridge and tunnel tolls, plus the cost of gasoline and parking. A single trip into the city could easily cost families $100 before they even get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. New York is ostensibly trying to get workers to return to the office and diners, viewers and shoppers back into Manhattan restaurants, theaters and retail stores. Good luck with that.

To add insult to injury, the state disingenuously marketed the tax to the public. We were told it would stop gridlock. It won’t. We were told it would improve air quality. In fact, it will make it worse for hundreds of thousands of drivers and adjacent neighborhoods. We were told the MTA—the worst-run transportation agency in America—needs the money as leverage for more borrowing.

The MTA would be flush with cash if it were even moderately well run. The agency, which loses more than $700 million annually in unpaid fares, was flooded with billions of federal Covid-19 recovery dollars in recent years. Much of that money has been swallowed up by historic cost overruns. We just learned that another $1 billion will be wasted to build unnecessarily large Second Avenue subway stations—much of which the public will never see.

Notably, $1 billion is exactly what the MTA claims the congestion tax will produce in revenue during its first year. But its math is wrong. According to an analysis performed by Mr. Gottheimer’s office, the agency will actually collect $3.4 billion annually from drivers.

The MTA’s own assessments describe how the congestion tax will increase traffic in many New York and New Jersey neighborhoods and reroute carbon-belching truck traffic into low-income communities that already suffer from some of the highest asthma rates in the nation. A January 2023 study by the Black Institute titled “Just Call It a Black and Brown Toll” showed how the congestion tax will disproportionately affect inner-city communities. Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

The MTA’s most egregious sin continues to be its blatant, thoughtless disregard for how it uses taxpayer money. The agency is always crying broke, but it never fixes what’s wrong. The Second Avenue subway cost New Yorkers $4.45 billion for two miles of track—$1.26 million a yard. The congestion tax is much the same: a shameless cash grab. After decades of overspending, incompetence and mismanagement, the MTA should focus on cleaning up its own mess. Hardworking families shouldn’t be forced to subsidize failure.

Mr. Lawler, a Republican, represents New York’s 17th Congressional District. Mr. Gottheimer, a Democrat, represents New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District.