Justin Amash

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Justin Amash
Justin Amash.jpg
U.S. House, Michigan, District 3
In office
January 3, 2011-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 4
PredecessorVern Ehlers (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$2,417,315
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Michigan House of Representatives
High schoolGrand Rapids Christian High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor
J.D.University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Date of birthApril 18, 1980
Place of birthGrand Rapids, Michigan
Net worth$1,013,512
ReligionOrthodox Christian
Office website
Campaign website
Justin Amash campaign logo
Justin Amash (b. April 18, 1980 in Grand Rapids, Michigan) is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Michigan's 3rd congressional district. Amash was first elected to the House in 2010.

Amash most recently won re-election in 2012 with 52.6% of the general election vote. He defeated Steve Pestka (D) and Bill Gelineau (L) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Prior to his service in the U.S. House, Amash served one term in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010.

Although Amash is classified as voting more often with the Democratic Party according to multiple outside rankings, this stems from his tendency to vote against many Republican-sponsored bills that he views as not conservative or libertarian enough. This includes the 2014 House Budget bill, H Con Res 25, sponsored by Paul Ryan which had 221 Republican votes. Amash voted "nay" for reasons such as: "It accepts the $600 billion in new taxes established at the time of the so-called fiscal cliff deal (which I opposed). It *increases* government spending at the rate of approximately 3.4 percent per year." His reasoning for breaking with the party on these major votes often is on the opposite side of the spectrum from the reasoning the Democratic Party opposes bill such as this one. [1]

Amash is the Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, which is "a congressional caucus dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty."[2]


Amash was born in 1980 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended Grand Rapids Christian High School, graduating as the valedictorian of his class. Amash went on to earn his B.A. and J.D. at the University of Michigan in 2002 and 2005, respectively. Prior to his political career, Amash worked as an attorney.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Amash's political career[3]:

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Amash serves on the following committees:[4]

Joint Economic Committee


Amash served on the following House committees:[5]

In March 2012, Amash was one of two Republicans who voted against Paul Ryan's budget plan in the House Budget Committee. Amash and Tim Huelskamp both said they felt the plan did not cut the budget fast enough. In December 2012 it was revealed that both representatives would not serve on the House Budget Committee in the 113th Congress.[6][7]


Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Justin Amash endorsed Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential election.

NSA surveillance programs

On June 12, 2013, Amash called for the resignation of James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, because in a congressional hearing in March 2013, Clapper affirmatively asserted that the National Security Agency was not involved in a large-scale surveillance program to gather data on American citizens.[8]

Amash said, "It now appears clear that the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lied under oath to Congress and the American people...Perjury is a serious crime ... [and] Clapper should resign immediately."[8]

Amendment to defund NSA surveillance programs

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on July 24, 2013 to narrowly defeated an amendment brought by Amash meant to halt the National Security Agency's bulk collection of surveillance data.[9] The amendment would have stripped funding for an NSA program that collects the telephone records of people in the United States, but not the content of calls.[10]

The vote scrambled the usual ideological fault lines in the House, with conservative Republicans siding with liberal Democrats.[11] The House voted 205-217 to defeat the amendment with more Democrats than Republicans voting in favor of the amendment.[12][10][13] From Amasha's own party, 134 Republicans voted against the amendment, with only 94 agreeing with it, while 111 Democrats voted for the amendment, with 83 voting against.[12]

Among the Republicans opposing the measure was Michele Bachmann. Bachmann defended the NSA's data collection programs, arguing that "here’s no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy or right to the business-record exception" concerning the collection of phone metadata.[12] She continued by saying, “If we take this program and remove from the United States the distinct advantage that we have versus any other country, it will be those who are seeking to achieve the goals of Islamic jihad who will benefit by putting the United States at risk, and it will be the United States which will be at risk. I believe that we need to win the War on Terror. We need to defeat the goals and aims of Islamic jihad, and for that reason I will be voting no on the Amash amendment.”[12] Bachmann was joined by, among others, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in opposing the amendment.[12]

The House on July 24, 2013 overwhelmingly passed a separate NSA amendment, put forward by Rep. Mike Pompeo, that was intended as a middle ground but was blasted by civil liberties advocates as achieving nothing.[10] The measure would ensure that the NSA is barred from acquiring or storing the content of emails and phone calls of people in the United States, but it would allow the NSA to continue storing phone metadata.[10]

Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" Amash voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of 151 Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257/167 vote on January 1, 2013.[14]

Paul Ryan Budget Proposal

Nay3.png In March 2013 the Republican controlled House passed the budget proposal set out by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R) for the third straight year.[15] However, not all Republican representatives voted in favor of the proposal.[15] Amash was one of the 10 Republican Representatives who voted against Ryan's budget proposal.[15]

The proposal was killed after being voted down in the U.S. Senate with a 40-59 vote.[16]

The proposal would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.[15] The 2013 bill had opposition from 10 Republicans — the same number that voted against it in 2012. In 2011 only four Republicans cast a vote in opposition.[15] Democrats have unanimously voted against the bill every year.[15]

2013 Farm Bill

Nay3.png In July 2013 the Republican controlled House narrowly passed a scaled-back version of the farm bill after stripping out the popular food-stamp program.[17][18] The bill passed on a 216-208 vote, with no Democrats voting in favor.[19] All but 12 Republicans supported the measure.[20] The group consisted mostly of conservative lawmakers more concerned about spending than farm subsidies.[20][21] Amash was one of the 12 who voted against the measure.[20]

The farm bill historically has included both billions in farm subsidies and billions in food stamps. Including both of the two massive programs has in the past helped win support from rural-state lawmakers and those representing big cities.[19] After the bill failed in the House in June 2013 amid opposition from rank-and-file Republicans, House leaders removed the food stamp portion in a bid to attract conservative support.[19]

Conservative Fight Club

According to the conservative website RedState, Amash is one of 16 U.S. House members in the "Conservative Fight Club", a designation meant to describe the gold standard of conservatives, as outlined by RedState. They are the 16 Republicans who voted against the continuing appropriations resolution to avoid the impending government shutdown in March. This type of resolution is used to fund government agencies when a formal federal budget has not been approved.[22]

Campaign themes


The following are several issues that were highlighted on Amash's campaign website.[23]

  • Accountability & Transparency

Excerpt: "I am the first-ever Member of Congress to explain every vote I take on the House floor, which I do on my official congressional Facebook Page. In addition, I have never missed a vote as a state legislator or Member of Congress."

  • Economy & Regulations

Excerpt: "Government can best help the economy by making regulations predictable and uncomplicated, simplifying the tax code, and letting businesses stand or fail on their own merit."

  • Education

Excerpt: "The right of parents to educate their children as they see fit, including the right of homeschooling, should not be infringed. Government-mandated curriculums and teaching methods do not properly account for different learning styles, leaving many children confused and falling short of their potential."

  • Environment

Excerpt: "The best way to protect the environment is through strong enforcement of property rights and pursuit of sound economic policy."

  • Health Care

Excerpt: "As a Member of Congress, I have voted to repeal the President’s plan to force families and individuals to purchase government-approved health insurance... We need reforms that will reduce the real costs of health care, not force participation in a government system."

  • Immigration

Excerpt: "The United States has always welcomed individuals who legally seek to enter our country to work or become citizens, but Congress and the President must make every effort to secure our borders."

  • Life, Faith & Family

Excerpt: "The proper function of government is to protect individual rights—life, liberty, and property. I believe that life begins at conception, and it is unconscionable that government would sanction the taking of the helpless and innocent."

  • National Defense & Civil Liberties

Excerpt: "I have led the fight against big-government initiatives like the Patriot Act, SOPA, CISPA, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2012."

  • Second Amendment

Excerpt: "Congress must halt the unconstitutional practice of restricting a person’s ability to purchase, transport, store, or possess arms on public lands or on that individual’s private property under the guise of regulating interstate commerce."

  • Social Security & Medicare

Excerpt: "We must keep our promises to seniors and not change benefits for those who are currently receiving or soon will receive Social Security or Medicare... We must begin to phase in significant reforms for the benefit of future generations."

  • State Sovereignty & Individual Rights

Excerpt: "The federal government should not improperly apply the General Welfare Clause, the Commerce Clause, or the Necessary and Proper Clause to justify regulating activities that are not within its authority."



See also: United_States_Senate_elections_in_Michigan,_2014

As of July 2013, Amash had not confirmed nor denied a run for the open Senate seat, currently occupied by retiring Senator Carl Levin.

According to a July National Journal report, Amash was expanding his fundraising capacity by traveling to the eastern side of Michigan:

"...The lawmaker attended a series of fundraisers in the vast expanse known as Metro Detroit—on the opposite side of the state from his district. He met with well-heeled Republican donors in Birmingham, chatted with the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce in Southfield, and held private gatherings with a smattering of other business groups, according to a source close to Amash."[24]


See also: Michigan's 3rd congressional district elections, 2012

Amash won re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Michigan's 3rd District.[25] He ran unopposed in the August 7 Republican primary. He then defeated Steve Pestka (D) and Bill Gelineau (L) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[26]

U.S. House, Michigan District 3 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Steve Pestka 44.2% 144,108
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJustin Amash Incumbent 52.6% 171,675
     Libertarian Bill Gelineau 3.2% 10,498
     Write-in Steven Butler 0% 2
Total Votes 326,283
Source: Michigan Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


Steve Pestka vs. Justin Amash
Poll Steve Pestka Justin AmashMargin of ErrorSample Size
(August 18-21, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Amash is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Amash raised a total of $2,417,315 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 16, 2013.[28]

Justin Amash's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 US House (Michigan, District 3) Won $1,313,802
2010 US House (Michigan, District 3) Won $1,103,513
Grand Total Raised $2,417,315


Breakdown of funds according to source.

Amash won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Amash's campaign committee raised a total of $1,313,803 and spent $1,193,611.[29]


Breakdown of the source of Amash's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Amash won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Amash's campaign committee raised a total of $1,103,513 and spent $1,093,007.[30]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Amash is a "centrist Republican" as of June 2013.[31]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Amash was ranked the 185th most liberal representative during 2012.[32]


According to the data released in 2012, Justin Amash was ranked the 192nd most liberal representative during 2011.[33]

Voting with party


Justin Amash voted with the Republican Party 78.6% of the time, which ranked last among the 233 House Republican members as of June 2013.[34]

Lifetime missed votes

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Amash missed 0 of 1,695 roll call votes from Jan 2011 to Mar 2013, which is 0.0% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 2.2% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.[35]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Amash paid his congressional staff a total of $792,266 in 2011. He ranked 45th on the list of the lowest paid Republican Representative Staff Salaries and he ranked 50th overall of the lowest paid Representative Staff Salaries in 2011. Overall, Michigan ranked 13th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[36]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, Amash's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $477,026 and $1,549,998. This averages to $1,013,512, which is a 0.7843% increase since 2010. This is lower than the $7,859,232 average net worth for Republican representatives in 2011.[37]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, Amash's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $-23,982 and $1,159,997. That averages to $568,007.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Representatives in 2010 of $7,561,133.[38]


Amash lives in Cascade Charter Township with his wife, Kara, and their three children.[39]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Justin + Amash + Michigan + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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External links


  1. Facebook, "Justin Amash," March 27, 2013
  2. House Liberty Caucus
  3. 3.0 3.1 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress, "Justin Amash," Accessed December 21, 2011
  4. CQ.com, "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress"
  5. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "House of Representatives Committee Assignments," Accessed December 21, 2011
  6. Slate, "The Republicans Who Voted Against the Ryan Budget Won't Be on the Budget Committee Next Year," December 3, 2012
  7. The Hill, "Ryan budget passes committee by one vote," March 21, 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Hill, "GOP's Amash: Clapper should resign", June 12, 2013
  9. Huffington Post "Justin Amash Amendment To Stop NSA Data Collection Voted Down In House (UPDATE)" Accessed July 26, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Politico "Justin Amash prevails as amendment fails" Accessed July 26, 2013
  11. Politico "How the Justin Amash NSA amendment got a vote" Accessed July 26, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 The Atlantic Wire "The Amash Amendment Fails, Barely" Accessed July 26, 2013
  13. United States House "Final Vote Results" Accessed July 26, 2013
  14. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," Accessed January 4, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Washington Post, "10 House Republicans Vote Against Ryan Budget," accessed March 22, 2013
  16. CBS News, "Senate Rejects Paul Ryan Budget," accessed March 22, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "Farm bill passes narrowly in House, without food stamp funding," accessed July 15, 2013
  18. USA Today, "House passes farm bill; strips out food-stamp program," accessed July 15, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Fox News, "House narrowly passes farm bill after Republicans carve out food stamps," accessed July 15, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Washington Post, "Which Republicans voted against the Farm Bill?," accessed July 15, 2013
  21. Politico, "Farm bill 2013: House narrowly passes pared-back version," accessed July 15, 2013
  22. RedState, "Fight Club," March 6, 2013
  23. Amash's Campaign Website, "Issues," Accessed October 5, 2012)
  24. National Journal, "Michigan’s Amash Quietly Tries to Build a National Brand," July 20, 2013
  25. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Michigan"
  26. Associated Press primary results
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Justin Amash," Accessed May 16, 2013
  29. Open Secrets, "2012 Re-Election Cycle," Accessed February 15, 2013
  30. Open Secrets, "Justin Amash 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed December 21, 2011
  31. GovTrack, "Justin Amash," Accessed June 7, 2013
  32. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  33. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  34. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  35. GovTrack, "Justin Amash," Accessed April 2013
  36. LegiStorm "Justin Amash"
  37. Open Secrets,, "Amash, (R-Michigan), 2011"
  38. Open Secrets,, "Amash, (R-Michigan), 2010"
  39. Official House Site, "Biography," Accessed December 21, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Vern Ehlers
U.S. House of Representatives - Michigan, District 3
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michigan House of Representatives
Succeeded by