Justin A. Amash (; born April 18, 1980) is an American attorney and Republican member of Congress. In January 2011, he began serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 3rd congressional district.
Amash was first elected to the House in the 2010 Congressional election. Previously he was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives representing the 72nd District, which is centered on the city of Kentwood and includes his home in Cascade Township as well as the townships of Caledonia and Gaines. At the age of 30, Amash assumed office as the second youngest sitting U.S. Representative (behind 29-year-old Aaron Schock of Illinois). As of January 2016, Amash is the seventh youngest U.S. Representative. He is Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus and associated with the Tea Party movement. Amash has been described and self-identifies as a libertarian Republican. He was described as a diligent member of Congress and a "stickler for rules" who has "never missed a vote" in Congress. Amash missed his first vote in March 2017, after six years as a U.S. Representative.
Early life and career
Born in Grand Rapids, and raised in Kentwood, Michigan, Amash is a first-generation Arab-American born to a Palestinian Christian father and a SyrianGreek Orthodox mother.
His father, Attallah, is a business owner, whose family immigrated to the United States in 1956 through the sponsorship of a Christian pastor and his family. His mother, Mimi, is a Syrian immigrant to the United States.
Amash attended Kelloggsville Christian School in Kelloggsville and graduated as class valedictorian from Grand Rapids Christian High School. He graduated from the University of Michiganmagna cum laude with a B.A. in economics and earned his J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School in 2005. Amash admires economists F. A. Hayek and Frédéric Bastiat.
Amash is married and the father of three children. He belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.
After graduating from the University of Michigan, he became a consultant to his family's tool business. He worked as a corporate attorney for his family's business for a year, before being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008.
Michigan House of Representatives
Amash ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008 in Michigan's 72nd House District. During this time, he donated to the campaigns of Congressman Ron Paul and John McCain. In the Republican primary, he won a five candidate election with 41% of the vote, defeating opponent Ken Yonker by 723 votes, a 6.3% margin. The incumbent, Glenn D. Steil, Jr., was barred from running by term limits. In the general election, Amash defeated Democrat Albert Abbasse 61%–36%.
During his initial tenure in the State House, Amash sponsored five resolutions and twelve bills, but none of them passed. While in the State House, Amash began using his Twitter and Facebook pages to report his floor votes and explain his reasoning. Amash was noted for his perfect attendance record, until he missed a vote on March 10, 2017.
U.S. House of Representatives
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2010 § District 3
In its October 25, 2010, issue, Amash was named one of Time magazine's "40 under 40 – Rising Stars of U.S. Politics". At the age of 30, Amash was the youngest federal officeholder in the United States on Time's list.
On August 3, 2010, Amash won the five-way Republican primary for the seat vacated by retiring Republican Vern Ehlers with over 40% of the vote. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth,Ron Paul, and FreedomWorks PAC during his primary campaign.
During the general election, Amash campaigned on a conservative platform. Amash defeated Democrat Patrick Miles, Jr. 60%–37% in 2010.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2012 § District 3
Amash won re-election to the U.S. House in 2012 for his second term, defeating Steve Pestka 53%–44%.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2014 § District 3
After initial speculation that he might run for the U.S. Senate, Amash confirmed that he would run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2014.
Amash was endorsed by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth PAC, which spent over $500,000 supporting Amash in his Republican primary against former East Grand Rapids School Trustee Brian Ellis, who was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and spent more than $1 million of his own money on the race.
After Amash defeated Ellis in the August primary, with 57.4% of the vote to Ellis' 42.6%, Amash was highly critical of Ellis and former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who had backed Ellis. Of Hoekstra, Amash said, "You are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance." Amash took exception to one of Ellis' television ads that quoted California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes calling Amash "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress"; he demanded an apology from Ellis for running what he called a "disgusting, despicable smear campaign." As Friedersdorf of The Atlantic notes, "Amash voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, favored a measure to repeal indefinite detention, and opposed reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act."
In the general election, Amash defeated Democrat Bob Goodrich and Green Party candidate Tonya Duncan with 58% of the vote.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2016 § District 3
Amash won re-election to the U.S. House in 2016 for his fourth term, defeating Douglas Smith 59%–38%.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2018 § District 3
Amash has been noted for his attendance. From January 2011 to February 2017, Amash missed none of the 4,243 roll call votes.
Flint water crisis
Amash was the only representative from Michigan to oppose federal aid in response to the Flint water crisis, arguing that "the U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government to intervene in an intrastate matter like this one." Instead Amash contended that "the State of Michigan should provide comprehensive assistance to the people of Flint."
Amash supports free markets with limited government regulation. He advocates for economic freedom and believes that stimulus programs and government bailouts are ineffective ways to energize the economy. He supports adopting a flat tax in lieu of targeted tax breaks and subsidies. Amash opposes central economic planning, which he believes contributes to unemployment, inflation, and unstable business cycles.
He was one of four Republicans who joined 161 Democrats to oppose a Constitutional amendment that would require a yearly balanced budget, due to serious concerns [clarification needed] with that specific proposal. Earlier that year, Amash had introduced H.J.Res. 81, an alternative balanced budget amendment that addressed those concerns. He believes that the federal government is improperly expanding its powers using the General Welfare, Commerce, and Necessary and Proper clauses.
Security and surveillance
Amash has been a frequent critic of the National Security Agency’s anti-terrorism surveillance programs.
He voted against the 2011 reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, the 2012 reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act, and the USA Freedom Act.
Amash opposed President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated: “Like Pres. Obama's executive actions on immigration, Pres. Trump's executive order overreaches and undermines our constitutional system.”
Amash proposed an amendment to the reauthorization bill of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Amash amendment would have required the government in criminal cases to seek a warrant based on probable cause before searching surveillance data for information about Americans. While the Amash amendment received bipartisan support as well as support from civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 183 to 233.
On May 4, 2017, Amash voted in favor of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and to pass a revised version of the American Health Care Act. Amash initially opposed the American Health Care Act, describing it as "Swampcare", tweeting that "It didn't take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump" and criticizing House leadership for attempting to "ram it through." Nevertheless, Amash voted for the updated AHCA plan before the Congressional Budget Office could determine its impact or cost.
Amash supports decreased federal intervention in energy-related issues. He wants to eliminate government-sponsored subsidies for energy production and decrease overall regulation. He believes that no form of energy production should be specially favored or restricted. In addition, Amash supports minimizing federal environmental regulations. He voted in favor of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which would have amended the Clean Air Act of 1963 to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating specified greenhouse gasses as air pollutants.
Amash is considered pro-life, and generally opposes abortion and the use of federal funding for abortion.
While Amash opposes government funding for abortion, he voted "present", rather than "yes" or "no" on the 2011 Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which provided for the cessation of federal funding to Planned Parenthood. He explained, "Legislation that names a specific private organization to defund (rather than all organizations that engage in a particular activity) is improper and arguably unconstitutional". When the New York Times asked him to explain his approach to voting on legislation, he replied, "I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that's what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty."
He supported a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act as per his Twitter account, stating that the "real threat" to traditional marriage and religious liberty is government, and not gay couples.
In 2016, Amash made headlines by joining the list of Republicans who opposed the GOP nominee for President, Donald Trump. In May 2017, Amash was reported as the first Republican Representative to publicly state that allegations against President Trump, if proven, merited impeachment. This report is contested by the office of congressman Carlos Curbelo, who claims that he was the first to recognize that if true, the allegations merit impeachment.
Amash endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2012. Paul's brother, David, was an assistant pastor in Amash's district and endorsed Amash, saying the Michigan congressman shares common ground with Paul. He has also endorsed Senator Rand Paulfor president in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. After Paul dropped out of the Republican primary race, Amash endorsed Senator Ted Cruz in his bid for the presidency. He did not endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 general election cycle.
Marijuana legalization and forfeiture
Amash and fellow U.S. RepresentativeTed W. Lieu (D-CA) introduced a bill to block the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Cannabis Eradication Program through civil asset forfeitures.
According to a DEA performance budget submitted to Congress for the fiscal year (FY) 2014, the DEA received $18 million in FY 2013 funding for cannabis eradication from the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture Fund. Amash took aim at civil asset forfeiture in a statement, saying that the practice allows for "innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process".
Amash co-sponsored H.R. 1227, also known as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. The bill was introduced by U.S. RepresentativeThomas Garrett (R-VA).
Amash supports decreasing U.S. military spending, and believes there is significant waste in the military spending of the U.S. Department of Defense.
He believes only Congress has the power to declare war, criticizing President Obama's military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and intervention in Syria, for proceeding without a Congressional declaration of war.
In 2011, Amash was one of six members of Congress who voted "Nay" on House Resolution 268 reaffirming U.S. commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli–Palestinian negotiation, which passed with 407 members in support.
In 2014, he was one of eight members of Congress who voted "Nay" on a $225 million package to restock Israel's Iron Domemissile defenses, which passed with 398 members in support. He supports a two-state solution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict.
Amash joined 104 Democrats and 16 Republicans in voting against the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which specified the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense, calling it "one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime". Amash co-sponsored an amendment to the NDAA that would ban indefinite military detention and military trials so that all terror suspects arrested in the United States would be tried in civilian courts. He expressed concern that individuals charged with terrorism could be jailed for prolonged periods of time without ever being formally charged or brought to trial.
On March 14, 2016, Amash joined the unanimous vote in the House to approve a resolution declaring the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to be committing genocide against religious minorities in the Middle East (passed 383–0), but joined Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) in voting "Nay" on a separate measure creating an international tribunal to try those accused of participating in the alleged atrocities (passed 392–3).
In 2017, Amash criticized U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, highlighting that “Al Qaeda in Yemen has emerged as a de facto ally of the Saudi-led militaries with whom [Trump] administration aims to partner more closely.”
In July 2017, Amash joined Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in opposing a bill that would impose new economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump opposed the bill, pointing out that relations with Russia were already “at an all-time and dangerous low.” He did, however, sign the bill though likely out of political pressure. 
Note: This list is not complete.
- 115th Congress
- 114th Congress
- 113th Congress
- 112th Congress
The House Republican Steering Committee removed Amash from the House Budget Committee in late 2012 as part of a larger party leadership-caucus shift. He joined Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) and David Schweikert (R-Arizona) in a letter to Speaker of the HouseJohn Boehner, demanding to know why they had lost their committee positions.
A spokesperson for Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia said that Amash, Huelskamp, and Schweikert had been removed for "their inability to work with other members." Politico said that the three were "the first members pulled off committees as punishment for political or personality reasons in nearly two decades".:p.2
- ^"Rep. Justin Amash Endorses Sen. Ted Cruz – Christine Rousselle". TownHall.com. 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- ^"House Liberty Caucus Republicans Stand Strong Against Third Iraq War". Thenewamerican.com. 2014-09-13. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- ^"House GOP's 'govern by crisis' model". CNN.com. 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- ^Rucker, Philip (2013-10-08). "Tea party favorite Amash draws GOP primary opponent"(online news blog). The Washington Post. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
- ^Linskey, Annie (2014-08-05). "Michigan Tea Party Congressman Amash Defeats Challenger"(news article). BloombergBusiness. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
- ^"Michigan GOP Rep. Bentivolio loses primary, while Tea Party-backed Amash survives"(news article). Fox News. 2014-08-06. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
- ^Krietz, Andrew (2014-08-07). "Vintage Justin Amash? Little fallout expected from Tea Party favorite's victory attacks"(news article). mlive.com. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
- ^Corie W. Stephens (2016-02-26). "Would Justin Amash run for president? – Rare". Rare.us. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- ^Marans, Daniel (2018-01-11). "House Reauthorizes Controversial Surveillance Law | HuffPost". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- ^Matt Welch & Mark McDaniel | July 28, 2017 (2017-07-28). "Rep. Justin Amash: The Two-Party System Needs to Die". Reason.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- ^Glasser, Susan B. (2007-05-15). "The End of the Libertarian Dream? - POLITICO Magazine". Politico.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- ^Ryan Lovelace (2016-02-23). "Cruz wins libertarian GOP congressman's endorsement". Washingtonexaminer.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- ^Bonnie Kristian, "This 35-year-old Republican congressman could revolutionize the House. He should be speaker", theweek.com; retrieved February 21, 2017.
- ^Marcos, Christina (March 10, 2017). "Amash misses vote, ending perfect attendance streak". The Hill. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
- ^Ron Kampeas (October 13, 2010). "Political Points: Hannity told me not to come". JTA-Jewish & Israel News. Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
- ^ abcTim Mak. "Justin Amash casts himself in Ron Paul's mold". POLITICO.
- ^ ab"Will GOP Rebel Justin Amash Bring Down the NSA – and His Own Party?". Mother Jones.
- ^ abcJim Harger (October 24, 2010). "Profile: 3rd Congressional district candidate Justin Amash". The Grand Rapids Press. M Live.
- ^ abc"TIME Magazine names Justin Amash one of its 40 Rising Stars". Justin Amash for Congress. October 14, 2010. Archived from the original on October 28, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- ^"Justin Amash profile". Facebook.com. 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- ^Newlin, Eliza. "Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI, 3rd District)". National Journal. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- ^Amash, Justin. "Justin Amash Full Biography". amash.house.gov. House of Representatives. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- ^"MI State House 072 – R Primary Race". Our Campaigns. August 5, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- ^"MI State House 072 Race". Our Campaigns. November 4, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- ^Justin Amash sponsored legislation 2009–2010. Legislature.mi.gov.
- ^Missed Votes, Michiganvotes.org, June 19, 2008.
- ^TIME Magazine, "40 under 40 – Rising Stars of U.S. Politics – Justin Amash, time.com; accessed March 10, 2017.
- ^Connolly, Michael. "Club for Growth PAC Endorses Justin Amash in Michigan-03". Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- ^Ron Paul Endorses Justin Amash for Congress, eon.businesswire.com, June 21, 2010.
- ^"FreedomWorks PAC Endorses Justin Amash, Candidate in Michigan`s Third Congressional District". Business Wire. July 29, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- ^"2010 Official Michigan General Election Results – 3rd District Representative in Congress 2 Year Term (1) Position". Michigan Department of State. Archived from the original on January 29, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- ^"Official Michigan Generaral Candidate Listing". Miboecfr.nuctusa.com. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- ^2012 Election Results Map by State – Live Voting Updates, Politico.com, June 21, 2013.
- ^Alberta, Tim (September 17, 2013). "Justin Amash Will Not Run for Senate in Michigan". National Journal. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- ^Doherty, Brian (October 12, 2013). "Justin Amash Targeted by Michigan GOP Business Establishment for Lacking Party Discipline". Reason. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- ^"Justin Amash (MI-03) profile". PAC Candidates. Club for Growth PAC. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
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- ^"Congressional Races – Michigan District 03 Race – Summary Data". Open Secrets. The Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
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- ^ abFriedersdorf, Conor (2014-08-06). "Why Justin Amash's Primary Victory Matters"(online staff comment). The Atlantic. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
Perhaps presaging a year in which revolts by rank-and-file members will be less tolerated, Republican leaders on Monday removed members with obstinate voting patterns from key committees.
Most notably, Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, one of the most conservative members of the House, was removed from the budget committee as well as the agriculture committee. Joining Mr.Huelskamp, a second-term representative, on the budget committee bye-bye list was Representative Justin Amash of Michigan.
Both members have a history of voting against party leaders on bills, both in committee and on the floor, and it seemed Speaker John A. Boehner and the committee chairmen had had enough. Mr. Huelskamp and Mr. Amash both rejected the so-called Ryan budget, proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, because its cuts were not deep enough.
Other members also felt some heat. Representative David Schweikert of Arizona, who bested Representative Ben Quayle in a member-on-member election fight this year, was removed from the financial services committee, as was Representative Walter B. Jones of North Carolina.
While voting against leadership too often appeared to be the biggest factor, various factors can lead to committee changes. However, the changes are generally done at the request of, or at least with the acquiescence of committee chairmen. Mr. Ryan is in charge of the budget committee; the incoming financial services committee chairman is Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who is leaving his post as Republican Conference chairman.
A spokesman for Mr. Amash said he had not yet learned of his new committee assignments.