Thomas Amlie, the son of a farmer, was born in Griggs County, North Dakota, on 17th April, 1897. Amlie was educated at the University of North Dakota, the University of Minnesota and the law department of the University of Wisconsin.
Amlie was admitted to the Wisconsin Bar in 1923 and worked as a lawyer in Beloit before moving to Elkhorn in 1927. A member of the Republican Party, Amlie was elected to Congress in 1931. Over the next few years he worked closely with William Borah, Gerald Nye, Bronson Cutting, Lynn Frazier, John Elmer Thomas, Henrik Shipstead, Robert LaFollette Jr., Burton K. Wheeler and other progressives in Congress.
Amlie was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1932. He joined the Progressive Party and was elected to the 74th and 75th Congress (January 1935 to January 1939). Amlie supported Huey P. Long and his Share Our Wealth campaign and Francis Townsend and his Old Age Revolving Pension Plan.
Amlie wanted a more radical New Deal and for a while he considered supporting Charles Coughlin and his National Union of Social Justice in the 1936 presidential campaign. However, he eventually decided to support Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to appoint Amlie as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, but he rejected the offer.
After leaving Congress he worked as a lawyer and author. Thomas Amlie died in Madison, Wisconsin, on 22nd August, 1973.