When the House of Representatives votes Thursday on beginning a formal impeachment investigation, Western New York will have two votes on the floor: Corning Republican Tom Reed and Buffalo Democrat Brian Higgins. Former Clarence Republican Chris Collins resigned his congressional seat after a felony conviction and is not eligible to vote.
The probe of President Trump has been going forward behind bipartisan closed doors and now members are being asked if they want it all public. Higgins said there is a lot of evidence of the president blocking Congress from doing what it is supposed to do.
"It's pretty clear how this process is working," Higgins said. "Congress is exercising its obligation, its duty to conduct oversight. When the Administration ignores subpoenas of individuals and documentation, that is a problem. That is obstructing Congress' ability to do what it is constitutionally authorized to do."
Higgins said that oversight is part of the structure the Constitution established to create a balance of the three parts of American government.
"The only difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is our Constitution - and it's the rule of law. It's the separation of powers," he said. "There were reasons why there were three branches of government. Article One is Congress and the most important branch of Congress is the House of Representatives, and I think you will see that played out over the next several weeks."
Higgins does not sit on any of the investigative committees that will eventually report to the Judiciary Committee, traditionally the gatekeeper in deciding whether the House will vote on an impeachment resolution. The South Buffalo Democrat said his oath of office requires he and his House compatriots take this vote and begin the investigative process.
Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) issued the following statement Tuesday:
“Good hardworking people we care about are losing with this impeachment probe. Democrats are full steam ahead with impeachment at the cost of real legislation to help people – like a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs and the ratification of USMCA to boost jobs. To make matters worse, Pelosi’s decision to hold a formal vote it is too little too late. The American people have already been kept in the dark for the past month.”