Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) is facing heat at home after his state was passed over for a proposed missile defense site; his colleagues in Congress think Amash's outspokenness about unchecked defense spending is to blame.
Following a vetting period, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a letter stating that it would be choosing Fort Drum in New York over Fort Custer in Michigan as the site for a potential Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) interceptor. The proposed ICBM interceptor would be designated to defend the East Coast from foreign attacks. The project, however, is currently in limbo as the Pentagon determined that the ICBM sites in Alaska and California are sufficient.
The decision inspired a bout of drama from Michigan Republicans, who ultimately decided that Amash's stances on defense spending accountability were to blame for the department's decision to look elsewhere for this hypothetical project.
"We always thought and were led to believe that on the merits, the Fort Custer site would be the best for the taxpayer and the defense of the country to build a new missile defense site. In fact, in the letter the Pentagon provided to the Committee on Armed Services, it makes clear that Fort Custer provided clear strategic advantages. It also states that the decision could be re-evaluated, and we would encourage them to do so," wrote Republican Reps. Fred Upton, Bill Huizenga, Tim Walberg, Paul Mitchell, and Jack Bergman.
"It appears that Congressman Amash's consistent opposition to all defense spending bills over the years was too much for the Pentagon to accept. It did not help, and now they selected New York for the new missile defense site."
Amash responded to his critics on Twitter.
It appears that my colleagues' consistent support for trillions in new debt over the years was to buy the Pentagon's affection. Taxpayer dollars for defense should be used to boost Americans' safety, not to boost politicians. The Department of Defense is not a jobs program. https://t.co/bd2vnnhBuB
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) June 28, 2019
"It appears that my colleagues' consistent support for trillions in new debt over the years was to buy the Pentagon's affection," he wrote. "Taxpayer dollars for defense should be used to boost Americans' safety, not to boost politicians. The Department of Defense is not a jobs program."
This is nothing new from Amash, who has made limited government and fiscal accountability the center of his campaigns and rhetoric for years. But he's faced significant backlash from members in his own party in recent months. Just this year alone, Amash stepped away from the House Freedom Caucus, said President Trump "engaged in impeachable conduct" based on findings in the Mueller report, and has criticized other Republican politicians who have failed to challenge Trump's trade war and spending.
While his actions have earned him cheers from his more libertarian-leaning supporters, conventional Republicans may be looking to unseat him. A third Republican primary challenger announced for Amash's seat on Thursday and mid-June poll also showed one of his pro-Trump challengers with an early lead.