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Brian M. Higgins

Brian Higgins' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Full Name: Brian M. Higgins
Office: U.S. House (NY) - District 26, Democratic
First Elected: 11/02/2004
Last Elected: 11/06/2012
Next Election: 2014
Gender: Male
Family: Wife: Mary Jane Hannon; 2 Children: John, Maeve
Birth Date: 10/06/1959
Birth Place: Buffalo, NY
Home City: South Buffalo, NY
Religion: Catholic
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Brian Higgins has demonstrated Political Courage by telling citizens where he stands on the issues he may face if elected.

What is the Political Courage Test?

New York Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test

Key

Candidate Answer
Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.
Inferred Answer
Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.
Unknown Answer
Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.
Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Project Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Pro-choiceCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
NoInferred Answer Do you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan? View Citations
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2012 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Afghanistan: Other or expanded principles: "We've spent $89 billion rebuilding the roads of Afghanistan on which the Taliban sets bombs that kill our troops. In 2001 it was a corrupt and poor country, and it still is today. It is time to bring our troops home and do some nation building here at home."
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2008 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Selected "Yes" for: "j) Should the United States increase military support for Afghanistan?"
  • Brian Higgins. H Con Res 28. 112th Congress. Removing Troops from Afghanistan. Brian Higgins voted Nay on 03/17/2011. (votesmart.org)
  • Peace Action. 04/18/2012. "Brian Higgins supported the interests of the Peace Action 38 percent in 2010." (votesmart.org)
  • Peace Action West. 04/18/2012. "Brian Higgins supported the interests of Peace Action West 38 percent in 2010." (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. Congressman Higgins Issues Statement On President Obama's Afghanistan Decision. 1 December 2009. "Initially, I am skeptical about increasing our presence in Afghanistan. Hundreds of American lives have already been lost in this conflict, and thousands more wounded. If we are to ask our soldiers to make the ultimate sacrifice, we have a moral obligation to clearly define what constitutes success and to devise a strategy to succeed. Yet it may be unrealistic to expect a liberal democracy to blossom in a place that has known only tribalism for a thousand years. The government currently in place is viewed as corrupt and ineffective, a problem that has little prospect of improving anytime soon." (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. Letter to The Honorable Barack Obama, President of The United States of America. 27 June 2011. "We write to you with serious concerns about the pace of withdrawal of our American troops from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. We applaud your announcement Wednesday of an initial withdrawal of 10,000 troops this year, but believe withdrawal should be dramatically accelerated. Like all Americans, we are deeply proud of the hard work and incredible sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, and we know they are carrying out the mission in Afghanistan with dedication and extraordinary competence. Throughout this nearly ten-year military campaign, they have done all we have asked of them, and represented our nation's very best values and ideals. But now, especially considering the recent death of Osama bin Laden, we believe the time has come to dramatically accelerate the reduction of our military presence in Afghanistan. We respectfully request that you accelerate your Administration's withdrawal plan so that the so-called "surge troops" who were deployed in 2009 be redeployed by the end of this calendar year; with the additional goal of developing a plan to bring all of our remaining troops home safely and honorably by the end of next year." (votesmart.org)
YesDo you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Other or expanded principles

We've spent $89 billion rebuilding the roads of Afghanistan on which the Taliban sets bombs that kill our troops. In 2001 it was a corrupt and poor country, and it still is today. It is time to bring our troops home and do some nation building here at home.

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing the federal budget.
In order to balance the budget,
YesCandidate Answerdo you support reducing defense spending?
YesCandidate Answerdo you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Nodo you support reducing Medicaid spending?
Nodo you support reducing Medicare spending?
YesIs balancing the budget a legislative priority?
Other or expanded principles
YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles
YesDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
YesDo you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
YesDo you support the temporary extension of unemployment benefits?
YesDo you support the 2010 temporary extension of tax relief?
Other or expanded principles

I support extending the current tax rates on the first $250,000 of personal income.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
Other or expanded principles
NoInferred Answer Do you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production? View Citations
  • Environment America. 04/18/2012. "Brian Higgins supported the interests of Environment America 93 percent in 2009." (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. H Amdt 773. 112th Congress. Ending Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Rigs that Meet Certain Safety Standards. Brian Higgins voted Yea on 07/30/2010. (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. HR 1230. 112th Congress. Offshore Leasing Act. Brian Higgins voted Nay on 05/05/2011. (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2006 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "i) Support opening a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration."
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2008 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "f) Support domestic oil exploration in areas that are currently restricted."
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2008 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "c) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)."
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2006 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "g) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)."
  • Brian Higgins. HR 3534. 112th Congress. Offshore Drilling Regulations and Other Energy Law Amendments. Brian Higgins voted Yea on 07/30/2010. (votesmart.org)
Other or expanded principles

I support increasing offshore drilling, so long as it meets rigorous environmental safeguards. It is only a partial solution to achieving energy independence, which will depend on developing renewable energy technology.

YesDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Other or expanded principles

I support common sense regulations - such as against gun ownership or possession by felons. Nevertheless I remain a supporter of law-abiding Americans' second amendment rights.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
YesShould individuals be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Other or expanded principles
Unknown PositionInferred Answer Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2006 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "e) Support amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in the United States."
  • Brian Higgins. HR 5281. 112th Congress. DREAM Act. Brian Higgins voted Nay on 12/08/2010. (votesmart.org)
  • National Latino Congreso/William C. Velásquez Institute. 04/18/2012. "Brian Higgins supported the interests of National Latino Congreso/William C. Velásquez Institute 67 percent in 2010." (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2008 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "g) Illegal immigrants should be given a pathway to citizenship."
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2008 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "e) Support amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in the United States."
  • Brian Higgins. Project Vote Smart: 2008 New York Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "f) Illegal immigrants should have to return to their countries of origin before being considered for citizenship."
  • Brian Higgins. Statement By Congressman Brian Higgins on the Proposal to Issue Drivers Licenses to Illegal Immigrants. 10 October 2007. "The federal government must work toward comprehensive immigration reform that streamlines the frustrating, bureaucratic process that often takes many years and creates a better way for immigrants to safely and legally live the American Dream." (votesmart.org)
  • Brian Higgins. HR 4437. 109th Congress. Border Security Bill. Brian Higgins voted Yea on 12/16/2005. (votesmart.org)
  • Federation for American Immigration Reform. 04/18/2012. "Brian Higgins supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 33 percent in 2010." (votesmart.org)
Do you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?
Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles

I support marriage equality.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
Should the U.S use military force in order to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

Use of force on the table only as a last resort.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles
Spending
Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.
Slightly Decreasea) Agriculture
Maintain Statusb) Arts
Slightly Decreasec) Defense
Greatly Increased) Education
Slightly Increasee) Environment
Slightly Increasef) Homeland Security
Maintain Statusg) International aid
Greatly Increaseh) Medical Research
Greatly Increasei) Scientific Research
Maintain Statusj) Space exploration
Maintain Statusk) United Nations
Maintain Statusl) Welfare
Greatly Increasem) Other or expanded categories

Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, transit, water systems, power grid, rail, ports, airports.

Taxes
Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.
Slightly Increasea) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusb) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusc) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Maintain Statusd) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Maintain Statuse) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Maintain Statusf) Income taxes (low-income families)
Maintain Statusg) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increaseh) Income taxes (high-income families)
Maintain Statusi) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusj) Payroll taxes
k) Other or expanded categories
Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

I led the fight to secure $279 million from NYPA that is financing the development of Buffalo?s Inner Harbor and soon the Outer Harbor. Also, construction of a new Peace Bridge would integrate Western New York?s economy with Southern Ontario?s.

The only failure in medical research is when scientists stop trying due to a lack of funding. Research is driving the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which employs 8,500 Western New Yorkers.

Our roads and bridges are in a deplorable condition. We should redirect funding from the war in Afghanistan to create jobs and do nation building at home.

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