|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 3rd district
January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Vern Ehlers|
|Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 72nd district
January 1, 2009 – January 1, 2011
|Preceded by||Glenn Steil|
|Succeeded by||Ken Yonker|
April 18, 1980 |
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
|Residence||Cascade Township, Michigan|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan (B.A., J.D)|
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, centered on Grand Rapids.
Amash was first elected to the House in the 2010 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 2013, Amash was the 6th youngest U.S. Representative. He is Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus and associated with the Tea Party movement.
Conor Friedersdorf, writing for The Atlantic, called Amash "one of the most important civil libertarians in the House of Representatives". Tim Murphy wrote in Mother Jones: "Karl Rove calls him a 'liberal Republican'; Democrats insist his fiscal policy makes Paul Ryan look like a New Dealer; some in the GOP establishment just straight up say he's an asshole."
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Michigan House of Representatives
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives
- 4 References
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
Early life and career
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and raised in Kentwood, Michigan, Amash is a second-generation Arab-American of Palestinian Christian and Syrian Greek Orthodox descent. His father is a Palestinian business owner, whose family emigrated to the United States in 1956 through the sponsorship of a Christian pastor and his family. His mother 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 Michigan magna 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., did not run because of term limits. In the general election, Amash defeated Democrat Albert Abbasse 61%–36%.
During his initial tenure in the State House, Amash sponsored 5 resolutions and 12 bills, but none of them passed. He used his social media Facebook page to report on his floor votes and explain his reasoning. Amash was noted for his attendance record.
U.S. House of Representatives
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 candidate in the United States on the list of new civic leaders.
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 also endorsed by the Club for Growth, Ron Paul, and FreedomWorks PAC during his primary campaign.
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. About 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." He also took exception to one of Ellis' television ads that quoted California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes calling Amash "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress," demanding an apology from Ellis for running what he called a "disgusting, despicable smear campaign." Amash voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, favors the repeal of indefinite detention, and opposed reauthorizing the FISA Amendments Act.
In the general election, Amash defeated Democrat Bob Goodrich and Green Party candidate Tonya Duncan with 58% of the vote.
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 also supports adopting a flat tax instead of having targeted tax breaks and subsidies. Amash opposes central economic planning which he believes contributes to unemployment, inflation, and dangerous business cycles. Amash 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 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, or Necessary and Proper clauses.
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 that only Congress has the power to declare war, criticizing President Obama's attacks on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and his contemplated attack on Syria without Congressional approval.
In 2011, Amash was one of only 6 congressmen who voted "No" on what Politico described as "a pedestrian pro-Israel resolution", House Resolution 268 reaffirming the US 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 only 8 congressmen who voted "No" on a $225 million package to restock Israel's Iron Dome missile 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 US Department of Defense. He called 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.
Security and surveillance
He believes health insurance should not be mandatory, and he supports free market health care reforms that include interstate competition among insurance companies and increased access to health savings accounts. He considers the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be an overreach of the federal government's powers and supports efforts to repeal it.
Amash wants 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 prevented the EPA from putting taxes on greenhouse gases.
Amash is considered pro-life, and generally opposes abortion and the use of federal funding for abortion. He supports 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. Although Amash opposes government funding for abortion, he voted "present", rather than "yes" or "no" on the 2011 Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, a bill that would defund 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 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.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- United States Congress Joint Economic Committee
The House Republican Steering Committee removed Amash from the Budget Committee in late 2012 as part of a larger party leadership-caucus shift. He joined Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and David Schweikert of Arizona in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, demanding to know why they had lost their "plum" committee posts.
Politico quoted a spokesperson for Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia as explaining that Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert were removed for "their inability to work with other members." The spokesperson clarified that Westmoreland "said that it had nothing to do with their voting record, a scorecard, or their actions across the street [meaning fundraising]." The three were described by Politico and its sourcing of Huelskamp's other colleagues as "jerks" who "made life harder for other Republicans by taking whacks at them in public for supporting the team".:p.2
- "Amash beats Miles in 3rd District Congress race". Connecticut Post. Associated Press. November 2, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- "Tea party favorite Amash draws GOP primary opponent". The Washington Post. October 8, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Watch Tea Party Rep. Justin Amash slam his establishment GOP opponent — for calling to concede". The Week. August 6, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Michigan Tea Party Congressman Amash Defeats Challenger". Bloomberg. August 6, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Michigan GOP Rep. Bentivolio loses primary, while Tea Party-backed Amash survives". Fox News. August 6, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Vintage Justin Amash? Little fallout expected from Tea Party favorite's victory attacks". Mlive. August 7, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Freidersdorf, Conor (August 6, 2014). "Why Justin Amash's Primary Victory Matters". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Will GOP Rebel Justin Amash Bring Down the NSA—and His Own Party?". Mother Jones.
- Ron Kampeas (October 13, 2010). "Political Points: Hannity told me not to come". JTA-Jewish & Israel News. Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
- Tim Mak. "Justin Amash casts himself in Ron Paul's mold". POLITICO.
- "Will GOP Rebel Justin Amash Bring Down the NSA—and His Own Party?". Mother Jones.
- Jim Harger (October 24, 2010). "Profile: 3rd Congressional district candidate Justin Amash". The Grand Rapids Press (M Live).
- "TIME Magazine names Justin Amash one of its 40 Rising Stars". Justin Amash for Congress. October 14, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Justin Amash on Facebook.
- 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.
- "ACTUAL ARTICLE TITLE BELONGS HERE!". Huffington Post.
- "MI State House 072 – R Primary Race – Aug 05, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "MI State House 072 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. 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
- Connolly, Michael. "Club for Growth PAC Endorses Justin Amash in Michigan-03". Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Ron Paul Endorses Justin Amash for Congress, EON, 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. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "Official Michigan Generaral Candidate Listing".
- 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)". PAC Candidates. Club for Growth PAC. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Livingston, Abby (July 31, 2014). "Club For Growth Back on TV for Justin Amash". Roll Call. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- Open Secrets. The Center for Responsive Politics https://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.php?cycle=2014&id=MI03. Retrieved August 8, 2014. Missing or empty
- Blake, Aaron (August 6, 2014). "Justin Amash's absolutely amazing victory speech". Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
- Conor Friedersdorf (August 6, 2014). "Why Justin Amash's Primary Victory Matters". The Atlantic.
- "No-excuse lawmakers: The members who never miss a vote". thehill.com. March 5, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
- Mak, Tim (December 8, 2011). "Justin Amash casts himself in Ron Paul's mold". Politico. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "H.J.Res.81 – 112th Congress (2011–2012): Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States. – Congress.gov – Library of Congress". congress.gov.
- Kristina Peterson and Julian E. Barnes (January 29, 2015). "GOP Split Over Expected Obama Request for More Defense Outlays". WSJ.
- "Lawmakers Slam Obama for Skirting Congress, Constitution on ISIS". thenewamerican.com.
- Conor Friedersdorf (August 29, 2013). "President Obama Faces Mounting Pressure to Stay Out of Syria". The Atlantic.
- "H RES 268". washingtonpost.com.
- "Senate Approves Additional Iron Dome Funding For Israel". The Huffington Post.
- "HOUSE VOTE No. 291 IN 2012". govtrack.us. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Hunter, Jack (December 2, 2011). "The terrorists have won". The Daily Caller Opinion. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- How Smith-Amash NDAA Amendment Bans Indefinite Detention (FACT SHEET). Human Rights First (November 5, 2012).
- "Justin Amash almost beat the NSA. Next time, he might do it.". Washington Post.
- "How a Palestinian-American won a GOP primary". aljazeera.com.
- Justin Amash – Energy and the Environment. Thepoliticalguide.com (June 13, 2012).
- On the Issues. On the Issues (June 21, 2013).
- Justin Amash Backs DOMA Repeal On Twitter. Huffington Post.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (April 14, 2011). "Justin Amash, Republican Freshman, Bucks His Party". The New York Times.
- "Justin Amash Endorses Ron Paul". Facebook. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Wing, Nick, "Tim Huelskamp: John Boehner Guilty Of 'Petty, Vindictive Politics' In Committee Ousters", The Huffington Post, December 12, 2012.
- Weiner, Rachel, "Conservatives bite back over House GOP purge", Washington Post Post Politics blog, December 5, 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- Wallace, Gregory (December 8, 2012). "Booted from plum committee seats, three GOP reps want answers". Political Ticker (blog). CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- Allen, Jonathan (December 13, 2012). "'The a—hole factor'". Politico. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "'Obstinate' Factor Continues to Roil GOP". Roll Call. December 12, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Campaign contributions and reports from the Michigan Secretary of State
- Justin Amash at MichiganVotes.org
- Voting record: 2009–2010
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 3rd congressional district
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority