Brian Higgins

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Brian Higgins

Brian Higgins currently serves as a Member of Congress representing Western New York. Higgins represents New York’s 27th Congressional District, which includes a large portion of the city of Buffalo, most of eastern and southern suburban Erie County, and all of Chautauqua County.


Brian Higgins is the son of the late Daniel Higgins, Sr., a bricklayer, union leader, and statewide official, and Mary Higgins, a retired schoolteacher. Brian, his wife Mary Jane and their two children, John and Maeve, reside in South Buffalo, New York.[1]


Previously, Brian Higgins served as a member of the New York State Assembly from 1999 through 2003, and prior to that as a member of the Buffalo Common Council.

Higgins was an instructor in the History and Economics departments at Buffalo State College, where he previously earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science. He also earned an advanced degree in Public Policy and Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.[2]


For the 112th Congress, Higgins was appointed to the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he aims to position the Western New York border community in the forefront of national discussions and help to advance the Peace Bridge project and improve our border operations to strengthen economic ties with our Canadian neighbors.

Brian's appointment to the Committee on Foreign Affairs is timely given the existing conflicts in the Middle East and ongoing relations with China whose currency policies deeply affect the American economy.

Brian served on the Ways & Means Committee from 2009 through 2010, stepping down this month due to a change in the ratio of committee seats. He will maintain his seniority on the committee and rejoin it when seats become available. He served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee Government & Oversight from 2005 through 2008.[3]

"Progressive Democrat"

Communist Party USA members Elena Mora and Gabe Falsetta wrote a report for the People's World, of November 19 2004 "Many positives in N.Y. elections," commenting on the gains made by "progressive" candidates.[4]

At press time, Democrat Brian Higgins appeared very close to winning the 27th Congressional District seat, which represents parts of Buffalo. The GOP has held the seat for 12 years. The vote tally was extremely close and continuing.
Higgins had the strong support of labor and the Working Families Party. The WFP also attracted 150,000 votes on its line for Sen. Charles Schumer, and about 120,000 for Kerry. War Resisters League leader David McReynolds ran against Schumer as a Green Party candidate and garnered 33,000 votes.

Crowley Letter to Prevent Deportation of Malachy McAllister

April 28, 2006 Crowley Leads Bi-Partisan Letter in Support of Malachy McAllister and His Family from Deportation.

—Congressman Joseph Crowley, a co-Chair of the Congressional Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs joined Friends of Ireland Chair James Walsh (R-NY) along with Reps. Richard Neal (D-MA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) in authoring a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff asking him to intervene to stop the deportation of Malachy McAllister and his children.

"Malachy has served time for his crimes and is not a terrorist threat to the United States. Returning him and his family to Northern Ireland would put him at grave risk. When Congress passed tight terrorism laws we designed them to keep terrorists who threaten our nation out. Not to cause pain and suffering to hard working people living peacefully within. Malachy has shown that he is determined to live his life in the United States peacefully and to put his past in Northern Ireland behind him. To deport him and his family would be immoral," said Congressman Joseph Crowley.

Recently the Third Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia ruled against Malachy's appeal for deportation. In writing on the case Judge Maryanne Trump Barry wrote "I cannot find a way to keep Malachy in this country and I have surely tried."[5]

Lift ban on Sinn Fein fundraising

In October 2005, Members of Congress urged the State Department to lift a fundraising ban on Sinn Féin in advance of the upcoming visit to the U.S. of party leader Gerry Adams.

And that very visit could be in jeopardy if the specific Adams fundraising component is denied by the U.S. government.

Seven members of the House of Representatives have signed on to a statement in which they say they “strongly oppose efforts to ban Sinn Fein fundraising in the United States.”

The signatories include the Republican chairman of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress, Rep. James Walsh, and Rep. Richie Neal, a Democratic co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs.

The group plays up its bipartisan composition in a statement in which they express “in the strongest possible terms our opposition to any effort that would prohibit Sinn Fein from raising funds.”

“We believe that the Sinn Fein leadership has kept its word and honored its commitments. At this critical moment in the peace process, they should not be penalized for delivering on their promises,” it added.

“Every political party from Northern Ireland has the right to fundraise in the United States. We are simply calling for a level playing field. The ban that prevents Sinn Fein from fundraising in the United States should be lifted promptly.”

In addition to Walsh and Neal, the statement was also signed by reps. Joe Crowley, John E. Sweeney, Eliot Engel, Frank Pallone and Brian Higgins.[6]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Karen Jones, was assigned as contact for Rep. Higgins.[7]

Sinn Fein lobbying

During a 10-day trip from Dublin in January 2013, Sinn Fein lobbyist Rita O’Hare had a meeting with Billy Tranghese from office of Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and met directly with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., and Rep. William Keating, D-Mass. And on Jan. 21, O’Hare attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration.[8]

Working Families Party

The Working Families Party backed Higgins in 2014.[9]

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Brian Higgins in 2014, also 2012.[10]

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [11]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

Won't back Pelosi

Brian Higgins of Buffalo said June 2018 that he will not back House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California for another term as the top Democrat in the House.

"I will not support her," Higgins said in an interview with The Buffalo News.

Higgins cited the lack of a clear Democratic agenda as an alternative to President Trump, as well as Pelosi's lack of interest in his bills to expand Medicare and invest in infrastructure, as the key sources of his frustration.

"She's listening, but this is my conclusion: She's aloof, frenetic and misguided," Higgins said.

Higgins' surprise move makes him one of only a small number of House Democrats who have said publicly that they will not back Pelosi, who became the top House Democrat in 2003 and who served as the first woman speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011.[12]

HR 109 endorser

By February 20 2019 endorsers of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's HR 109 (Green New Deal) included Brian Higgins.

Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founders

In August 2018 Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founding members included Representative Brian Higgins.

Medicare for All Act

In February 2019 Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced H.R.1384 - Medicare for All Act of 2019. By May 29 she had 110 co-sponsors including Rep. Brian Higgins.