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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Andy Biggs
Andy Biggs official portrait.jpg
Chair of the House Freedom Caucus
Assumed office
October 1, 2019
Preceded byMark Meadows
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byMatt Salmon
President of the Arizona Senate
In office
January 14, 2013 – January 3, 2017
Preceded bySteve Pierce
Succeeded bySteve Yarbrough
Member of the Arizona Senate
In office
January 10, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byThayer Verschoor
Succeeded byWarren Petersen
Constituency22nd district (2011–2013)
12th district (2013–2017)
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 22nd district
In office
January 2003 – January 2011
Preceded byRichard Miranda, John A. Loredo[1]
Succeeded byEddie Farnsworth, Steve Urie[2]
Personal details
Born
Andrew Steven Biggs

(1958-11-07) November 7, 1958 (age 62)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Cindy Biggs
(m. 1982)
Children6
ResidenceGilbert, Arizona, U.S.
EducationBrigham Young University (BA)
University of Arizona (JD)
Arizona State University, Phoenix (MA)
Website

Andrew Steven Biggs (born November 7, 1958)[3] is an American attorney and politician who represents Arizona's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.

A Republican, Biggs was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011 and a member of the Arizona Senate from 2011 to 2017. He was president of the Arizona Senate from 2013 to 2017. In 2016, he was elected to Congress. In September 2019, Biggs became chairman of the Freedom Caucus, considered the farthest-right bloc in the House Republican Conference.[4][5]

Early life

Andrew Steven Biggs was born on November 7, 1958, in Tucson, Arizona.[6]

When he was young, Biggs went on a mission to Japan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and learned to speak fluent Japanese.[7] He later earned his B.A. in Asian studies from Brigham Young University in 1982, his J.D. from the University of Arizona in 1984, and his M.A. in political science from Arizona State University in 1999.[6][8]

Biggs worked as a lawyer for a firm based in Hobbs, New Mexico, before relocating to Phoenix, where he worked as a prosecutor.[7] In 1993, he won $10 million in the American Family Publishers sweepstakes.[9] He appeared in a TV ad with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon to promote the sweepstakes.[9][10]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

In 2016, Biggs ran for Congress from the 5th District to replace retiring Representative Matt Salmon. The district includes most of the East Valley, covering most of Mesa and Chandler and all of Queen Creek and Biggs's hometown of Gilbert. Biggs defeated Christine Jones in the Republican primary by 27 votes, triggering an automatic recount, to become the nominee.[11] His primary victory virtually assured him of being the next representative from the district; the 5th and its predecessors have been in Republican hands for all but one term since 1953.

Biggs defeated Democratic nominee Talia Fuentes, 64.1% to 35.9%.[12] He was not required to give up his state senate seat under Arizona's resign-to-run laws, since he was in the last year of what would have been his final term in the chamber.

Tenure

Biggs is a member of the Congressional Western Caucus[13] and the Republican Study Committee.[14] In September 2019, Biggs replaced Mark Meadows as chair of the Freedom Caucus.[4]

Biggs voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[15] After the vote, he said the bill would "provide much-needed economic relief" to American citizens and businesses.[16]

On March 4, 2020, Ken Buck joined Biggs as the only two representatives to vote against an $8.3 billion emergency aid package meant to help the U.S. respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17][18] In a statement, Biggs called the bill "larded-up" and "bloated".[19] Ten days later, he voted against the larger Coronavirus Response Act, which passed the House, 363–40.[20] Biggs said he opposed the second bill because it provided benefits to domestic partners and thereby "redefined the family".[21][22]

In July 2021, Biggs voted against the bipartisan ALLIES Act, which would increase by 8,000 the number of special immigrant visas for Afghan allies of the U.S. military during its invasion of Afghanistan, while also reducing some application requirements that caused long application backlogs; the bill passed the House, 407–16.[23]

Contesting the 2020 presidential election

In 2020, Biggs joined Representative Paul Gosar in a video falsely claiming that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. They claimed that Arizona's voting machines were faulty, and Biggs claimed that poll-watchers were allowed to participate in vote tabulations in Detroit. They also demanded an audit of Maricopa County's vote count.[24] Later, Biggs falsely claimed that 10,000 Maricopa County voters were "disenfranchised" without giving evidence.[25]

In December 2020, Biggs was among 126 House Republicans to sign an amicus brief for Texas v. Pennsylvania, an unsuccessful lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to overturn election results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, thereby denying Joe Biden from taking office as president.[26][27]

Biggs also spoke at rallies promoting the "Stop the Steal" election conspiracy movement, and has claimed antifa were behind the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[28]

2021 storming of the United States Capitol

During the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Biggs and all other House members were ushered to a secure location when the House Chamber was cleared. A video of Biggs later surfaced in which he refused to wear a mask in violation of House rules.[29][30] Sources noted that after the siege lockdown, during which several other congressional Republicans also refused to wear masks, three House Democrats tested positive for COVID-19.[31] Biggs subsequently voted to object to Arizona's and Pennsylvania's electoral votes that day, joining 146 House Republicans.[32]

On January 12, 2021, Biggs called on Representative Liz Cheney to resign from her leadership position in the Republican Caucus after she voted in favor of Donald Trump's second impeachment.[33]

In the aftermath of the events on January 6, Biggs's brothers William and Daniel wrote a letter to the editor of The Arizona Republic demanding their brother's removal from office. They wrote that Biggs is "at least partially to blame" for the Capitol storming. They also condemned his refusal to wear a mask in the secure location. According to William and Daniel Biggs, this "was a passive-aggressive tantrum and the ultimate disrespect for all present".[34]

Biggs was one of 12 House Republicans to vote against H.R 1085 to award three Congressional Gold Medals to the United States Capitol Police who protected the Capitol on January 6.[35][36][37] In June 2021, Biggs and 20 other House Republicans voted against a similar resolution.[38] Explaining his vote, Biggs said he wanted the bill to be "non-political".[39]

Committee assignments

Previous assignments

Caucus memberships

Elections

Enabled by $10 million in sweepstakes winnings, which made him financially independent, Biggs decided to run for office.[10]

State House of Representatives

  • 2002: With incumbent Democratic Representative Richard Miranda running for Arizona Senate and John Loredo redistricted to District 13, and with Republican Representative Eddie Farnsworth redistricted from District 30, Biggs ran in the five-way September 10 Republican primary, placing second with 5,778 votes.[41] Biggs and Farnsworth were unopposed in the general election, where Biggs took the first seat with 31,812 votes and Farnsworth took the second.[42]
  • 2004: Biggs and Farnsworth were unopposed in the September 7 Republican primary; Farnsworth placed first and Biggs placed second with 11,202 votes.[43] In the three-way general election, Farnsworth took the first seat and Biggs the second with 51,932 votes, ahead of Libertarian candidate Wade Reynolds.[44]
  • 2006: Biggs and Farnsworth were challenged in the four-way September 12 Republican primary; Farnsworth placed first and Biggs placed second with 7,793 votes.[45] In the three-way general election, Farnsworth took the first seat and Biggs the second with 38,085 votes, ahead of Libertarian candidate Edward Schwebel.[46]
  • 2008: With Farnsworth running for Arizona Senate and leaving a House District 22 seat open, Biggs ran in the four-way September 2 Republican primary, placing first with 9,800 votes.[47] Biggs and fellow Republican nominee Laurin Hendrix won the general election, where Biggs took the first seat with 59,615 votes and Hendrix the second, ahead of Democratic nominee Glenn Ray,[48] who had run for the district's senate seat in 2006.

State Senate

  • 2010: When Republican Senator Thayer Verschoor ran for State Treasurer of Arizona and left the Senate District 22 seat open, Biggs was unopposed in both the August 24 Republican primary, winning with 25,792 votes,[49] and the November 2 general election, winning with 59,933 votes.[50]
  • 2012: Redistricted to District 12, and with incumbent Republican Senator John B. Nelson redistricted to District 13, Biggs was unopposed in both the August 28 Republican primary, winning with 19,844 votes,[51] and the November 6 general election, winning with 63,812 votes.[52]

Political positions

Biggs chairs the Freedom Caucus, which has been described as right-wing populist.[53]

Abortion

Biggs is "opposed to all forms of elective abortion and wants to overturn the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision."[54] He has argued in favor of abolishing the filibuster to make it easier to pass anti-abortion laws.[55] He has attended a conference hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group.[56]

Biggs has received mixed ratings from special interest groups focused on abortion. In 2017, he received a 30% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.[57] He has a 29% lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood, which supports legal access to abortion, as well as an 87% rating from the National Right to Life Committee and a 100% rating from Campaign for Working Families, which both oppose legal abortion.[58]

Climate change

In comments at an April 2017 constituent town hall, frequently interrupted by boos, Biggs rejected the scientific consensus on climate change, asserting in a halting answer, "There are credible scientists who say it exists; we aren't sure why", and "there are credible scientists who say it doesn't."[59] Replying to a candidate survey from The Arizona Republic, Biggs wrote, "I do not believe climate change is occurring. I do not think that humans have a significant impact on climate. The federal government should stop regulating and stomping on our economy and freedoms in the name of a discredited theory."[60][61][62] He submitted an amendment to the 2018 spending bill that would defund the National Climate Assessment[62] and urged President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accords.[63] In February 2020, when Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attempted to make a modest effort to gather the support of concerned young voters via a restrained approach to address climate change, Biggs and other hardline denialists objected. Biggs said: "People are like, 'Is this an official rollout? It can't be official. We didn't vote on it'."[64]

While factions of the Republican Party were split on whether to continue climate change denial,[64] conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and the Competitive Enterprise Institute supported continuation.[64][65] In 2018, Biggs was the sole House member to receive a 100% rating from the CFG.[66]

COVID-19

Biggs opposes wearing masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, encouraging Arizonans not to wear them.[67] In July 2020, he tweeted that people should not trust Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx.[68] He has called for the White House Coronavirus Task Force to be disbanded.[69] During a major outbreak in the summer of 2020 in Arizona, Biggs questioned the hospitalization numbers and called Governor Doug Ducey's two-month lockdown a result of "hysteria" from "Democratic Leftists."[70] In September 2020, Biggs posted a series of tweets supporting the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19.[67] There is no strong evidence to support the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.[71]

On March 4, 2020, Biggs and Ken Buck were the only two representatives to vote against an $8.3 billion COVID-19 aid package.[17][18] Biggs called the bill "larded-up" and "bloated".[19] Ten days later, he voted against the larger Coronavirus Response Act,[20] saying that because it provided benefits to domestic partners, it "redefined the family."[21][22] In December 2020, Biggs called on Trump to veto the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which included $900 billion in stimulus relief for the pandemic.[72][73] The legislation was the first bill to address the pandemic since April 2020.[74]

Healthcare

In 2018, Biggs sponsored a bill "designed to let very sick patients request access to experimental medicines without government oversight", which passed the House, 267–149. Biggs said the bill was "not false hope; it is hope."[75]

Juneteenth

In June 2021, Biggs was among 14 House Republicans who voted against passing legislation to establish June 19, or Juneteenth, as a federal holiday.[76]

LGBT rights

Biggs is a former policy advisor to United Families International, a nonprofit that opposes same-sex marriage.[77]

Net neutrality

Biggs has gone on record as opposing net neutrality, and favored FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to end it. In a letter to his constituents, Biggs wrote, "we should allow the free market to expand the internet and its services." He has accepted $19,500 in campaign donations from the telecommunications industry.[78]

Robert Mueller

On June 23, 2017, Biggs was one of three Republicans who called for the resignation of Robert Mueller, the prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, on the grounds that Mueller could not conduct his investigation fairly because of events that happened when he was the acting director of the FBI.[79]

On March 19, 2018, Biggs renewed his call for Mueller to resign.[80] On July 25, 2018, Biggs and nine other Republicans co-sponsored a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,[81] who was Mueller's direct supervisor after the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.[82]

On April 8, 2019, The Arizona Republic published an op-ed by Biggs on the initial findings of the Mueller investigation.[83] In it, Biggs called the investigation "an illegitimate attack on the executive branch" and wrote that the findings "demonstrate the weakness of the initial premise to investigate Trump, his family and campaign staff." He blamed the investigation on "the media that fueled this bogus attempt to overthrow the will of the American voter." Biggs's op-ed was published well ahead of the release of Mueller's full report on April 18, 2019, and was most likely written in response to a four-page summary of the report by Attorney General William Barr released on March 24. After the publication of the full report, Biggs posted a video on Twitter declaring that there was "no basis for an obstruction [of justice] charge" against Trump, chastising the Democratic party for attempting to "undermine the POTUS".[84]

Texas v. Pennsylvania

While ballots were being counted in the 2020 presidential election and Trump was trailing Joe Biden in Arizona, Biggs claimed without evidence that nearly 10,000 Arizona voters had been disenfranchised.[85]

In December 2020, Biggs was one of 126 House Republicans to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the presidential election. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[86][87][88]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." She also reprimanded Biggs and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: "The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions."[89][90] New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, citing section three of the 14th Amendment, called for Pelosi to not seat Biggs and the other Republicans who signed the brief supporting the suit, arguing that "the text of the 14th Amendment expressly forbids Members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that."[91]

Texting while driving

In 2017, Biggs used his powers as transportation chair and president of the Arizona State Senate to block a bill banning driving while texting for holders of a learning permit.[92]

9/11 Victims Compensation Fund

In 2019, Biggs was one of 11 House Republicans to oppose funding for the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund bill H.R. 1327.[93] On July 12, 2019, the measure passed the House, 402–12.

Myanmar

On March 19, 2021, Biggs voted against a House resolution to condemn the military coup in Myanmar. The resolution passed, 398–14, with one other member, Paul Gosar, voting present. Biggs called the violence "tragic" but added that "there is suffering everywhere in the world" and the U.S. "can't be the military police for the entire world", claiming the resolution was a way to "put our foot in the door in Burma."[94][95][96] The resolution was symbolic and did not call for use of force.[97][98]

Syria and Yemen

Biggs was among 60 Republicans to oppose condemning Trump's action of withdrawing forces from Syria.[99] He, Matt Gaetz, and a handful of other Republicans broke with their party and voted to end Saudi assistance to the War in Yemen.[100]

Iraq

In June 2021, Biggs was one of 49 House Republicans to voted to repeal the AUMF against Iraq.[101][102]

Afghan aides of U.S. military

In July 2021, Biggs was one of 16 representatives to vote against H.R. 3985, which makes 8,000 Special Immigrant Visas available to Afghans who worked for the US military.[103][104]

Personal life

Biggs is married to Cindy Biggs.[77] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[105][106]

References

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External links

Arizona House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard Miranda
John A. Loredo
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 22nd district

2003–2011
Served alongside: Eddie Farnsworth, Laurin Hendrix
Succeeded by
Eddie Farnsworth
Steve Urie
Arizona Senate
Preceded by
Thayer Verschoor
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 22nd district

2011–2013
Succeeded by
Judy Burges
Preceded by
John Nelson
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 12th district

2013–2017
Succeeded by
Warren Petersen
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Matt Salmon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Meadows
Chair of the Freedom Caucus
2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jack Bergman
United States representatives by seniority
250th
Succeeded by
Lisa Blunt Rochester
This page was last edited on 7 September 2021, at 13:23
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