|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. The district, based in Grand Rapids, had once been represented by former President Gerald Ford (the district was numbered as the 5th District at the time).
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 expressed interest in running for president in the future. In 2016, Amash made headlines by joining a long list of Republicans who opposed the GOP nominee for President, Donald Trump.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Michigan House of Representatives
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives
- 3.1 Elections
- 3.2 Tenure
- 3.3 Committee assignments
- 3.4 Caucus memberships
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Early life and career
Born in Grand Rapids, and raised in Kentwood, Amash is a second-generation Arab-American of Palestinian Christian and Syrian Greek Orthodox descent. His father, Attallah, 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, 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 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., 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 usising his Twitter and Facebook pages to report 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 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.
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.
Amash has tallied a very conservative voting record, which is notable for a district that has traditionally elected moderate Republicans.
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 in lieu of targeted tax breaks and subsidies. Amash opposes central economic planning, which he believes contributes to unemployment, inflation, and unstable 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, and 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 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 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 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 a unanimous majority 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-Hawaii) and Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) in voting "Nay" on a separate measure creating an international tribunal to try those accused of participating in the alleged atrocities (passed 392-3).
Security and surveillance
Amash is 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 believes health insurance should not be mandatory, and he supports free market health care reforms that foster interstate competition among insurance companies and increase access to health savings accounts. He considers the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be an overreach of the federal government's authority and supports efforts to repeal it.
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. 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. 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."
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 Paul for 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.
Marijuana legalization and forfeiture
Amash and Ted W. Lieu (D) 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."
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- United States Congress Joint Economic Committee
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 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 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
- "Members of Congress: Religious Affiliations". Pew Research Center. January 5, 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "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" (major news org. online blog). The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Linskey, Annie (2014-08-05). "Michigan Tea Party Congressman Amash Defeats Challenger" (news article). BloombergBusiness. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "Michigan GOP Rep. Bentivolio loses primary, while Tea Party-backed Amash survives" (news article). Fox News. 2014-08-06. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Krietz, Andrew (2014-08-07). "Vintage Justin Amash? Little fallout expected from Tea Party favorite's victory attacks" (news article). mlive.com. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Corie W. Stephens (2016-02-26). "Would Justin Amash run for president? – Rare". Rare.us. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- Britzky, Haley; Barr, Luke; Dunn, Andrew (April 29, 2016). "Republicans who vow to never back Trump". The Hill. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- 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". 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 – 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". 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)". 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.
- "Congressional Races – Michigan District 03 Race – Summary Data". Open Secrets. The Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
- Blake, Aaron (2014-08-06). "Justin Amash's absolutely amazing victory speech" (major news org. online blog). The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Friedersdorf, Conor (2014-08-06). "Why Justin Amash's Primary Victory Matters" (online staff comment). The Atlantic. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
Representative Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, is one of the most important civil libertarians in the House of Representatives. He isn't just a staunch opponent of the NSA's mass surveillance of Americans—he actually has a sophisticated understanding of surveillance policy (unlike the vast majority of his congressional colleagues) as well as a record of bringing forth actual reform proposals. / Amash voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, favored a measure to repeal indefinite detention, and opposed reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act. Little wonder that an ACLU staffer told Mother Jones that he's 'a game changer.'
- "Justin Amash". govtrack.us. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- Mak, Tim (December 8, 2011). "Justin Amash casts himself in Ron Paul's mold". Politico. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "Balanced-budget amendment comes up short in House vote". TheHill.
- "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; 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.
- Friedersdorf, Conor (2013-08-29). "President Obama Faces Mounting Pressure to Stay Out of Syria" (online article). The Atlantic. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
President Obama faces increasing pressure from lawmakers, foreign-policy experts, constitutional scholars, and anti-war activists to refrain from striking Syria. Opponents of war worry that an insular group of hawkish Washington, D.C., elites will succeed in prompting an intervention the consequences of which they cannot anticipate, despite widespread public opposition to U.S. involvement. The concerns of Syria anti-interventionists vary, but all agree that the president should not unilaterally decide to attack tyrant Bashar al-Assad's regime, even granting that recent chemical weapons attacks on civilians were atrocious.
- Washington Post Staff (2011-07-07). "The U.S. Congress Votes Database: Vote 524, H RES [House Resolution] 268" (online database entry). The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Klapper, Bradley (2011-08-01). "Senate Approves Additional Iron Dome Funding For Israel" (online article). The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "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).
- Shaw, Adam; Pergram, Chad (2016-03-16). "House declares ISIS committing genocide against Christians, other minorities" (online news report). Fox News. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Nate Reens, Justin Amash stood alone opposing Flint water federal aid bid, MLive (January 19, 2016).
- Fung, Brian (2013-07-25). "Justin Amash almost beat the NSA. Next time, he might do it" (major news org. online blog). The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "How a Palestinian-American won a GOP primary". aljazeera.com.
- Justin Amash – Energy and the Environment. Thepoliticalguide.com (June 13, 2012).
- . Congress.gov (December 8, 2016).
- "Justin Amash on the Issues". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- 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.
- Jesser Byrnes (February 23, 2016). "Rep. Amash endorses Cruz". The Hill.
- Ted W. Lieu, Justin Amash (16 September 2015). "Introduction of the Bill." (PDF). Mr. Ted W. Lieu, Mr. Justin Amash. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Mark Ram (5 October 2015). "Civil Forfeiture for Marijuana Businesses.". Mark Ram. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- U.S. Department of Justice (16 May 2014). "FY 2014 Performance Budget Congressional Submission." (PDF). U.S Department of Justice. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Steven Nelson (23 September 2015). "Congressmen Want to Save Pot Plants From DEA Sickle.". Steven Nelson. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- 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.
- Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (25 September 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
- Rep. Justin Amash among founders of pro-gun 'Second Amendment Caucus'. mLive http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2016/12/rep_justin_amash_among_founder.html. Retrieved 12/27/2016. Check date values in:
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- 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
- Congressman Justin Amash official U.S. House website
- Justin Amash for Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Justin Amash at DMOZ
|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