Andy Biggs

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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
from the 12th district
In office
January 14, 2013 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byJohn Nelson
Succeeded byWarren Petersen
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
January 10, 2011 – January 14, 2013
Preceded byThayer Verschoor
Succeeded byJudy Burges
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 S. 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. He serves as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives representing Arizona's 5th congressional district.

He 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 the United States Congress. In September 2019, Biggs became chairman of the Freedom Caucus, considered the furthest-right bloc within the House Republican Conference.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

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

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

In 2016, Biggs ran for the United States Congress in the 5th District to replace retiring congressman and fellow Republican 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 candidate.[8] Biggs's primary victory virtually assured him of being the next congressman from the heavily Republican district; the 5th and its predecessors have been in Republican hands for all but one term since 1953.

He defeated Democrat Talia Fuentes in November, 64.1% to 35.9%.[9] 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[edit]

Biggs is a member of the Congressional Western Caucus[10] and the Republican Study Committee.[11] In September 2019, Biggs replaced Rep. Mark Meadows as chairman of the Freedom Caucus.[4]

Biggs voted in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[12] After the vote, Biggs said that the bill would "provide much-needed economic relief" to American citizens and businesses.[13]

On March 4, 2020, Colorado Republican Ken Buck joined Biggs as the only two Representatives to vote against an $8.3 billion emergency aid package meant to help the United States respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.[14][15] In a statement, Biggs said that the "larded-up bill" was "bloated".[16] Ten days later, Biggs voted against the larger Coronavirus Response Act that passed the House by a vote of 363–40.[17] Biggs said he opposed the second bill because it provided benefits to domestic partners and argued that by so doing, it "redefined the family."[18][19]

Contesting of the 2020 presidential election[edit]

In 2020, Biggs joined fellow Arizona Representative Paul Gosar in a video falsely claiming that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. They claimed that voting machines were faulty in Arizona, 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.[20] Later, Biggs falsely claimed that 10,000 voters were "disenfranchised" in Maricopa County, and did not provide evidence.[21]

In December 2020, Biggs was among 126 House Republicans who signed on to the amicus brief 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.[22][23] Sources noted that following the siege lockdown, during which several other congressional Republicans had also refused to wear masks, three House Democrats tested positive for COVID-19.[24]

Biggs has also spoken at Moms for America rallies, promoted the "Stop the Steal" election conspiracy movement, and has claimed that "antifa" were behind the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.[25]

2021 storming of the United States Capitol[edit]

During the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 Biggs was ushered to a secure location when the House Chamber was cleared and all members of the House were taken to a safe location. A video of Biggs later surfaced in which he refused to wear a mask in violation of House rules.[26][27]

On January 12, 2021, Biggs called on fellow GOP Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) to resign from her leadership position within the Republican Caucus, after she voted in favor of Donald Trump's second impeachment.[28]

In the aftermath of the events on January 6, Biggs' 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 the brothers, this "was a passive-aggressive tantrum and the ultimate disrespect for all present".[29]

Biggs was one of the 12 GOP members of the House who voted against H.R 1085 to award three Congressional Gold Medals to the United States Capitol Police who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[30][31][32]

Committee assignments[edit]

Previous assignments

Caucus memberships[edit]

Elections[edit]

Enabled by a $10 million sweepstakes winnings, which made him financially independent, Biggs decided to run for office.[34]

State House of Representatives[edit]

  • 2002: With incumbent Democratic Representatives 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, 2002 Republican primary, placing second with 5,778 votes.[35] Biggs and Rep. Farnsworth were unopposed for the 2002 general election, where Biggs took the first seat with 31,812 votes and Farnsworth took the second seat.[36]
  • 2004: Biggs and Farnsworth were unopposed for the September 7, 2004 Republican Primary; Farnsworth placed first and Biggs placed second with 11,202 votes.[37] For the three-way November 2, 2004 general election, Farnsworth took the first seat and Biggs took the second seat with 51,932 votes, ahead of Libertarian candidate Wade Reynolds.[38]
  • 2006: Biggs and Farnsworth were challenged in the four-way September 12, 2006 Republican Primary; Farnsworth placed first and Biggs placed second with 7,793 votes.[39] In the three-way November 7, 2006 general election, Farnsworth took the first seat and Biggs took the second seat with 38,085, votes ahead of Libertarian candidate Edward Schwebel.[40]
  • 2008: With Farnsworth running for Arizona Senate, and leaving a House District 22 seat open, Biggs ran in the four-way September 2, 2008 Republican Primary, placing first with 9,800 votes.[41] Biggs and fellow Republican nominee Laurin Hendrix won the November 2, 2010 general election, where Biggs took the first seat with 59,615 votes and Hendrix took the second seat ahead of Democratic nominee Glenn Ray,[42] who had run for the district's senate seat in 2006.

State Senate[edit]

  • 2010: When Republican Senator Thayer Verschoor ran for State Treasurer of Arizona and left the Senate District 22 seat open, Biggs was unopposed for both the August 24, 2010 Republican Primary, winning with 25,792 votes,[43] and the November 2, 2010 General election, winning with 59,933 votes.[44]
  • 2012: Redistricted to District 12, and with incumbent Republican Senator John B. Nelson redistricted to District 13, Biggs was unopposed for both the August 28, 2012 Republican Primary, winning with 19,844 votes,[45] and the November 6, 2012 general election, winning with 63,812 votes.[46]

Political positions[edit]

Biggs is chair of the Freedom Caucus which has been described as Right-wing populist.[47]

Abortion[edit]

Biggs opposes abortion of any kind, including those involving rape, incest or risk to the mother. He supports overturning Roe vs. Wade.[48] He has argued in favor of changing Senate rules to make it easier for the "GOP pro-life agenda."[49] He has attended an anti-abortion conference hosted by the anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony List.[50]

He has received mixed ratings from special interest groups focused on abortion. In 2017, he received a 30% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.[51] He also has a 29% lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood, which supports legal access to abortion, as well as an 87% from National Right to Life Committee and a 100% from Campaign for Working Families, which both oppose legal abortion.[52]

Climate change[edit]

In comments at an April 2017 constituent town hall, as he was frequently interrupted with boos, Biggs rejected scientific consensus on climate change, asserting in a halting answer that, "There are credible scientists who say it exists; we aren't sure why," at the same time contending, "there are credible scientists who say it doesn't."[53] 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."[54][55][56] Biggs submitted an amendment to the 2018 spending bill which would defund the National Climate Assessment.[56] He urged president Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accords.[57] In February 2020, when Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California 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, chairing the House Freedom Caucus, said: "People are like, 'Is this an official rollout? It can't be official. We didn't vote on it'."[58]

While factions inside the Republican Party were split on whether to continue climate change denial,[58] conservative groups such as the Club for Growth (CFG) and the Competitive Enterprise Institute opposed any appeasement.[58][59] In 2018, Biggs was the sole House member to receive a 100% rating from the CFG.[60]

COVID-19[edit]

Biggs opposes wearing masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, encouraging Arizonans to not wear masks.[61] In July 2020, Biggs tweeted that people should not trust Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx.[citation needed] He has called for the White House Coronavirus Task Force to be disbanded. 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."[62] In September 2020, Biggs posted a series of tweets supporting the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19, and that Arizonans should "embrace" it.[61] There is no strong evidence to support the use of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.[63]

On March 4, 2020, Colorado Republican Ken Buck and Biggs were the only two Representatives to vote against an $8.3 billion COVID-19 aid package.[14][15] In a statement, Biggs said that the "larded-up bill" was "bloated".[16] Ten days later, Biggs voted against the larger Coronavirus Response Act,[17] stating that because it provided benefits to domestic partners, it "redefined the family."[18][19] In December 2020, Biggs called on President Trump to veto the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which included $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic.[64][65] The legislation was the first bill to address the pandemic since April 2020.[66]

Healthcare[edit]

In 2018, Biggs sponsored a bill "designed to let very sick patients request access to experimental medicines without government oversight", which passed in the House by a vote of 267–149. Biggs stated the bill is "not false hope; it is hope."[67]

LGBT rights[edit]

Biggs is a former policy advisor to United Families International, a nonprofit that opposes same-sex marriage.[68]

Net neutrality[edit]

Biggs has gone on record as opposing net neutrality, and favored FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to end it. In a letter sent to his constituents, Biggs stated that "we should allow the free market to expand the internet and its services." Biggs has accepted campaign donations in the past, in the amount of $19,500, from the telecommunications industry.[69]

Robert Mueller[edit]

On June 23, 2017, Representative 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 can not conduct his investigation fairly because of events that happened when he had been the acting director of the FBI.[70]

On March 19, 2018, Biggs renewed his call for Robert Mueller to resign.[71] On July 25, 2018, Biggs was among nine other Republican co-sponsors for a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,[72] who was Mueller's direct supervisor after the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.[73]

On April 8, 2019, an op-ed written by Biggs was published by The Arizona Republic on the topic of the initial findings of the Mueller investigation.[74] In it, Biggs refers to the Mueller investigation as "an illegitimate attack on the executive branch," and 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 generated by Attorney General William Barr and released on March 24, 2019. Following the publication of the full report on April 18, Biggs posted a video on Twitter declaring that there was "no basis for an obstruction (of justice) charge" to be brought against President Donald Trump, chastising the Democratic party for attempting to "undermine the POTUS."[75]

Texas v. Pennsylvania[edit]

While ballots were being counted in the 2020 presidential election, and Donald Trump was trailing Joe Biden in Arizona, Biggs claimed without evidence that nearly 10,000 voters had been disenfranchised in Arizona.[76]

In December 2020, Biggs was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed 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 the election held by another state.[77][78][79]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." Additionally, Pelosi 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."[80][81] 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. Pascrell argued 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."[82]

Texting while driving[edit]

Biggs used his powers as transportation chair and President of the Arizona State Senate in 2017 to block a bill banning driving while texting for holders of a learning permit.[83]

9/11 Victims Compensation Fund[edit]

In 2019, Biggs was one of eleven Republicans in the House of Representatives to oppose funding for the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund bill H.R. 1327.[84] On July 12, 2019, the measure passed the House by a vote of 402–12.

Myanmar[edit]

On March 19, 2021, Biggs voted against a House resolution to condemn the military coup in Myanmar. The resolution passed with 398-14 votes, 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 is a way to "put our foot in the door in Burma."[85][86][87] The resolution was purely symbolic and did not call for use of force.[88][89]

Syria and Yemen[edit]

Biggs was among 60 Republicans to oppose condemning Trump's action of withdrawing forces from Syria.[90] Biggs along with Matt Gaetz and a handful of other Republicans, broke with party and voted to end Saudi assistance to the War in Yemen.[91]

Personal life[edit]

Biggs is married to Cindy Biggs.[68] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[92][93]

In 1992, Biggs won $10 million in the American Family Publishers sweepstakes.[94] He subsequently appeared in a TV ad with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon to promote the sweepstakes.[94]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

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
Preceded by
Matt Salmon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
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Mark Meadows
Chair of the Freedom Caucus
2019–present
Incumbent
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Jack Bergman
United States representatives by seniority
251st
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Lisa Blunt Rochester