Topics: House of Representatives

On the Rise: Rep. Justin Amash emerges as leading anti-war voice

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Politics,Congress,House of Representatives,Syria,Sean Lengell,Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash, at 33, is among the youngest members of Congress. But the ambitious Michigan Republican has emerged as one of Capitol Hill's loudest and most authoritative voices against U.S. military action in Syria, helping shape the anti-war debate while raising his political profile.

Through an exhaustive schedule of town hall meetings — 11 during one two-day stretch— TV show appearances and a continual stream of Twitter posts, Amash has pushed back at President Obama and his own party's leadership for proposing limited airstrikes in Syria.

He boldly accused the administration of fudging evidence to support its premise that the Middle East country's civil war poses a security threat to the U.S.

"There are some things that are being embellished in the [White House's] public statements and I would ask the administration to be more forward with the public about this," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "Based on the objectives that the administration has laid out, based on the strategy they've laid out, I can't come up with a reason right now why the United States should support this action."

While the Republican doesn't sit on any military, foreign affairs or intelligence-related committees, he cut his summer break short last week to attend voluntary classified briefings on Syria. After several, he said he was "more skeptical" than ever about the need to wage war with Syria.

During one briefing, Amash donned jeans and a Darth Vader T-shirt, highlighting the renegade persona propelling him into star status within the GOP. His popularity has led many to push him to run for Michigan's open Senate seat in 2014, a move he says he's considering.

Amash, like Sen. Rand Paul — the outspoken Kentucky Republican who the Michigander often is compared to — hasn't been afraid to take on his party's leaders and elders. When Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., earlier this year called Amash and others "wacko birds" for supporting a Paul-led filibuster of CIA Director John O. Brennan's nomination, Amash fired back with a sarcastic tweet: "Bravo, Senator. You got us. Did you come up with that at DinnerWithBarack?"

While some may find it odd that a conservative Republican would champion an anti-war effort, Amash has shown strong libertarian leanings since arriving on Capitol Hill in January 2011. He has pushed for a reduction in military spending as a way to balance the federal budget and has proposed replacing the federal income tax with a "consumption tax" on spending.

Amash also joined liberal Democrats to sponsor a resolution to defund several National Security Agency intelligence-gathering programs. The measure narrowly lost in the House, but he gained bipartisan widespread praise for his effort.

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