BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) expressed his frustration with the state of government in Washington while he announced that he will resign from his position in February 2024.
“Congress is not the institution that I went to 19 years ago. It’s a very different place today. We’re spending more time doing less and the American people aren’t being served,” Higgins said Sunday. “There was a time where leadership could discern what was serious and what was not. Unfortunately, those days are over.”
He cited several instances of his frustration and that he believes that the country is in a “rough patch” and expressed frustration with the divide between Democrats and Republicans.
“That idea of crossover appeal has been replaced with performative, audacious behavior, which makes a mockery of the institution of Congress,” Higgins said.
He also spoke about how legislation has become “weaponized” in his time in Congress.
“[Before], Speakers of the House, of both parties, would say to a member ‘that’s a stupid piece of legislation. That doesn’t do anything, that’s never going to get signed into law, you’re making a mockery of the institution.’ That doesn’t happen anymore,” Higgins said. “So now, you’re in Washington for longer periods of time doing less.”
He also brought up the chaotic three-week search for a new Speaker of the House after the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who needed 15 rounds of voting to be elected as Speaker in January.
“The performative nature, somebody is in the back of the House Chamber yelling expletives while the President of the United States is delivering the State of the Union address where 40 million people are watching. That individual is not one of 435,” he said. “It’s really come down to that.”
Higgins is now one of at least 12 legislators that have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2024 or will leave office early, according to Politico.
He said his advice to the next Congressman to represent Buffalo would be to not get involved in the “culture” of the government, because “it’s not healthy.”
Higgins expressed hope for the future and does think things will get better eventually, but not quite yet.
“It will get better. Things ebb and flow,” Higgins said. “But I think we’re at the beginning of a bad trend, not the end of one.”
You can watch Higgins’ full announcement on Sunday in the media player above.