Congress

Justin Amash is officially a man without a party — or committee

Michigan independent left the Freedom Caucus in June and called for impeachment in May

Reps. Justin Amash, I-Mich., resigned Monday from the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the GOP Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Justin Amash  resigned his seat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and  his GOP conference membership Monday, after declaring his independence from the Republican Party last week.

 “Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am withdrawing my membership in the House Republican Conference, effective immediately, for the reasons outlined in my accompanying op-ed,” the Michigan lawmaker wrote in a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney.

Amash would have lost his committee seat once he left the Republican conference. The Steering Committee is expected to make a recommendation about who should fill the vacancy on the oversight panel, where Democrats are leading the charge on investigating President Donald Trump and his administration.

In May, Amash became the lone Republican in Congress to call for Trump's impeachment. In a Washington Post op-ed on Independence Day, Amash wrote that he grew “disenchanted” with the two-party system, calling it an “existential threat to American principles and institutions.”

A libertarian who was elected to the House in 2010, Amash has often been at odds with leadership of his own party. On the House floor, he has voted with a majority of Republicans 84 percent of the time he’s been in Congress, compared with 94 percent for the average House Republican, according to CQ’s Vote Watch. He has supported Trump just 63 percent of the time compared with 95 percent for the party average.

In his op-ed, Amash described how his parents were Republicans and he grew up supporting GOP candidates. His father was a Palestinian refugee who came to the U.S. when he was 16.

Amash recently made another exit, leaving the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus after the group condemned his remarks about Trump and impeachment.

That stance also earned him several primary challengers in Michigan’s 3rd solidly Republican District, which backed Trump by 9 points in 2016. Amash won his fifth term representing the district last year with 54 percent of the vote. Amash says he plans to run as an independent to continue representing his Grand Rapids-area district.

Amash joins a beleaguered group of his former Republican peers who have been stripped of their committee memberships. New York’s Chris Collins and California’s Duncan Hunter were removed from committees following federal indictments. The Republican Steering Committee unanimously decided in January not to seat Iowa Rep. Steve King on any committees for the 116th Congress following controversy over racist comments he made. 

Simone Pathé contributed to this report. 

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