Brian Higgins on Free Trade
Democratic Representative (NY-27)
Oppose the Central American Free Trade Act
Brian will oppose trade deals like the Central American Free Trade Act (CAFTA) and will stand up for the hard working men and women of Western New York and fight for trade deals that protect workers rights and sound environmental policies.
The 109th Congress will make several critical decisions concerning trade, and it is crucial that Western New York has a representative that will fight for the needs of Western New York’s working families.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, HigginsforCongress.com
, Nov 2, 2004
Voted NO on promoting free trade with Peru.
Approves the Agreement entered into with the government of Peru. Provides for the Agreement's entry into force upon certain conditions being met on or after January 1, 2008. Prescribes requirements for:
- enforcement of textile and apparel rules of origin;
- certain textile and apparel safeguard measures; and
- enforcement of export laws governing trade of timber products from Peru.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade. I had the opportunity to travel to Peru recently. I saw firsthand how important this agreement is to Peru and how this agreement will strengthen an important ally of ours in that region. Peru is resisting the efforts of Venezuela's authoritarian President Hugo Chavez to wage a war of words and ideas in Latin America against the US. Congress should acknowledge the support of the people of Peru and pass this legislation by a strong margin.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. WU: I regret that I cannot vote for this bill tonight because it does not put human rights on an equal footing with environmental and labor protections.
Rep. KILDEE: All trade agreements suffer from the same fundamental flaw: They are not self-enforcing. Trade agreements depend upon vigorous enforcement, which requires official complaints be made when violations occur. I have no faith in President Bush to show any enthusiasm to enforce this agreement. Congress should not hand this administration yet another trade agreement because past agreements have been more efficient at exporting jobs than goods and services. I appeal to all Members of Congress to vote NO on this. But I appeal especially to my fellow Democrats not to turn their backs on those American workers who suffer from the export of their jobs. They want a paycheck, not an unemployment check.
Reference: Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill H.R. 3688
; vote number 2007-1060
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted YES on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.
H.R.3920: Trade and Globalization Act of 2007: Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to allow the filing for trade adjustment assistance (TAA) by adversely affected workers. Revises group eligibility requirements for TAA to cover: (1) a shift of production or services to abroad; or (2) imports of articles or services from abroad.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: In recent years, trade policy has been a dividing force. This legislation develops a new trade policy that more adequately addresses the growing perception that trade is not working for American workers. The Trade and Globalization Assistance Act would expand training and benefits for workers while also helping to encourage investment in communities that have lost jobs to increased trade--particularly in our manufacturing sector. The bill is a comprehensive policy expanding opportunities for American workers, industries, and communities to prepare for and overcome the challenges created by expanded trade.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. McCRERY: We should be considering trade adjustment assistance in the context of trade opportunities generally for US workers. That is to say, I think we should be considering modifications to our assistance network in the context of the pending free trade agreements that are before the Congress. Unfortunately, we are not doing that. We are considering TAA in isolation. [We should instead] restructure TAA from a predominantly income support program into a job retraining program. Other problems include that H.R. 3920 would:
Reference: Trade and Globalization Assistance Act;
; vote number 2007-1025
on Oct 31, 2007
- pointlessly keep people in trade adjustment assistance longer.
- increase TAA spending by billions of dollars, but would not require any further accountability on how program funds are spent.
- greatly expand TAA and exacerbate the inefficiencies in the program today.
- extend benefits to public sector workers and submit State and local officials to subpoenas and legal proceedings to comply.
Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade.
To implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. A vote of YES would:
Reference: CAFTA Implementation Bill;
Bill HR 3045
; vote number 2005-443
on Jul 28, 2005
- Progressively eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations
- Preserve U.S. duties on imports of sugar goods over a certain quota
- Remove duties on textile and apparel goods traded among participating nations
- Prohibit export subsidies for agricultural goods traded among participating nations
- Provide for cooperation among participating nations on customs laws and import licensing procedures
- Encourage each participating nation to adopt and enforce laws ensuring high levels of sanitation and environmental protection
- Recommend that each participating nation uphold the International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- Urge each participating nation to obey various international agreements regarding intellectual property rights
Build a rule-based global trading system.
Higgins adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Write New Rules for the Global Economy
The rise of global markets has undermined the ability of national governments to control their own economies. The answer is neither global laissez faire nor protectionism but a Third Way: New international rules and institutions to ensure that globalization goes hand in hand with higher living standards, basic worker rights, and environmental protection. U.S. leadership is crucial in building a rules-based global trading system as well as international structures that enhance worker rights and the environment without killing trade. For example, instead of restricting trade, we should negotiate specific multilateral accords to deal with specific environmental threats.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC1 on Aug 1, 2000
- Conclude a new round of trade liberalization under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.
- Open the WTO, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund to wider participation and scrutiny.
- Strengthen the International Labor Organization’s power to enforce core labor rights, including the right of free association.
- Launch a new series of multinational treaties to protect the world environment.
Tariffs against countries undervaluing their currency.
Higgins signed H.R.2378 & S.1027
Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to require the administering authority to determine, based on certain requirements, whether the exchange rate of the currency of an exporting country is undervalued or overvalued (misaligned) against the U.S. dollar for an 18-month period; and to take certain actions under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding to offset such misalignment in cases of an affirmative determination. Congress makes the following findings:
Source: Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act 09-HR2378 on May 13, 2009
- The strength, vitality, and stability of the US economy and the openness and effectiveness of the global trading system are critically dependent upon an international monetary regime of orderly and flexible exchange rates.
Increasingly in recent years, a number of foreign governments have undervalued their currencies by means of protracted, large-scale intervention in foreign exchange markets, and this fundamental misalignment has substantially contributed to distortions in trade flows.
- This exchange depreciation serves as a subsidy for, and facilitates dumping of, exports from countries that engage in this mercantilist practice.
- It is consistent with the agreements of the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund that US trade law make explicit that fundamental undervaluation by an exporting country of its currency is actionable as a countervailable export subsidy and alternatively can be offset by antidumping duties.
Impose tariffs against countries which manipulate currency.
Higgins signed Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act
- Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to include as a "countervailable subsidy" requiring action under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding the benefit conferred on merchandise imported into the US from foreign countries with fundamentally undervalued currency.
- Defines "benefit conferred" as the difference between:
- the amount of currency provided by a foreign country in which the subject merchandise is produced; and
- the amount of currency such country would have provided if the real effective exchange rate of its currency were not fundamentally undervalued.
- Determines that the currency of a foreign country is fundamentally undervalued if for an 18-month period:
- the government of the country engages in protracted, large-scale intervention in one or more foreign exchange markets
- the country's real effective exchange rate is undervalued by at least 5%
- the country has experienced significant and persistent global current account
- the country's government has foreign asset reserves exceeding the amount necessary to repay all its debt obligations.
[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Exchange Rate"]:
Between 1994 and 2005, the Chinese yuan renminbi was pegged to the US dollar at RMB 8.28 to $1. Countries may gain an advantage in international trade if they manipulate the value of their currency by artificially keeping its value low. It is argued that China has succeeded in doing this over a long period of time. However, a 2005 appreciation of the Yuan by 22% was followed by a 39% increase in Chinese imports to the US. In 2010, other nations, including Japan & Brazil, attempted to devalue their currency in the hopes of subsidizing cheap exports and bolstering their ailing economies. A low exchange rate lowers the price of a country's goods for consumers in other countries but raises the price of imported goods for consumers in the manipulating country.
Source: HR.639&S.328 11-HR0639 on Feb 14, 2011
Require open markets for US goods in all trade agreements.
Higgins signed Reciprocal Market Access Act
Reciprocal Market Access Act of 2011: Prohibits the President from agreeing to the reduction or elimination of the existing rate of duty on any product in order to carry out a foreign trade agreement until the President certifies to Congress that the US has obtained the reduction or elimination of tariff and nontariff barriers and policies and practices of such foreign country with respect to US exports of any product that has the same physical characteristics and uses as the product for which the President seeks to modify its rate of duty.
Congress finds the following:
Source: H.R.1749 11-HR1749 on May 5, 2011
- One of the fundamental tenets of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is reciprocal market access.
- The American people have a right to expect that the promises that trade negotiators and policy makers offer in terms of the market access opportunities that will be available to United States businesses and their employees if trade agreements are reached, will, in fact, be realized.
With each subsequent round of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations, tariffs have been significantly reduced or eliminated for many manufactured goods, leaving nontariff barriers as the most pervasive, significant, and challenging barriers to US exports and market opportunities
- The US market is widely recognized as one of the most open markets in the world.
- Often the only leverage the US has to obtain the reduction or elimination of nontariff barriers imposed by foreign countries is to negotiate the amount of tariffs the US imposes on imports from those foreign countries.
- The purpose of this Act is to require that trade negotiations achieve measurable results for US businesses by ensuring that trade agreements result in expanded market access for United States exports and not solely the elimination of tariffs on goods imported into the US.
Sponsored imposing import fee on countries with undervalued currency.
Higgins co-sponsored Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act
Congressional Summary:Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to include a countervailing duty or antidumping duty on merchandise imported into the US from foreign countries with fundamentally undervalued currency.
- Defines the [amount subject to the import fee as] ) the amount of currency such country would have provided if the real effective exchange rate of its currency were not fundamentally undervalued.
- Determines that the currency of a foreign country is fundamentally undervalued if for an 18-month period the government of the country engages in protracted, large-scale intervention in one or more foreign exchange markets; and the country has experienced significant and persistent global current account surpluses; and the country's government has foreign asset reserves exceeding the amount necessary to repay all its debt obligations falling due within the coming 12 months.
Opponent's argument against bill: (by the
Club for Growth)We urge all House members to not co-sponsor the protectionist Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. This proposal would make it easier for the federal government to slap
Source: H.R.1276 13-H1276 on Mar 20, 2013
2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Free Trade:
Brian Higgins on other issues:
Bill de Blasio
Left 113th Congress, 2013-2014:
AL-1: Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
IL-2: Jesse L. Jackson(D,convicted)
LA-5: Rodney Alexander(R,resigned)
MA-5: Ed Markey(D,elected)
MO-8: Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
NJ-1: Rob Andrews(D,investigated)
SC-1: Tim Scott(R,appointed)
Newly-elected special elections 2013-2014:
AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
FL-19: Pending Nov.4
IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
NC-12: Pending Jul.15
NJ-1: Pending Nov.4
SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
Won primary 2014:
TX-4: John Ratcliffe(R)
VA-7: Dave Brat(R)
Retiring to run for Senate in 2014:
AR-4: Tom Cotton(R)
CO-4: Cory Gardner(R)
GA-1: Jack Kingston(R)
HI-1: Colleen Hanabusa(D)
IA-1: Bruce Braley(D)
LA-6: Bill Cassidy(R)
MT-0: Steve Daines(R)
OK-5: James Lankford(R)
WV-2: Shelley Moore Capito(R)
Former Reps running for House in 2014:
AL-5: Parker Griffith(R)
CA-3: Doug Ose(R)
MS-4: Gene Taylor(D)
MT-0: Denny Rehberg(R)
NH-1: Frank Guinta(R)
OH-7: John Boccieri(D)
Lost primary 2014:
TX-4: Ralph Hall(R)
VA-7: Eric Cantor(R)
Retiring to run for State Office in 2014:
AR-2: Tim Griffin(R)
ME-2: Mike Michaud(D)
VI-0: Donna Christensen(D)
Retiring effective Jan. 2015:
AL-6: Spencer Bachus(R)
AZ-7: Ed Pastor(D)
IA-3: Tom Latham(R)
MI-4: Dave Camp(R)
MI-6: Tom Petri(R)
MN-6: Michele Bachmann(R)
NC-6: Howard Coble(R)
NC-7: Mike McIntyre(D)
NJ-3: Jon Runyan(R)
NY-4: Carolyn McCarthy(D)
PA-6: Jim Gerlach(R)
UT-4: Jim Matheson(D)
VA-8: James Moran(D)
WA-4: Doc Hastings(R)
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Page last updated: Jun 19, 2014