Pelosi, Raskin Unveil Bill to Create ‘Presidential Capacity’ Commission

October 9, 2020 by Dan McCue
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation on Friday that would task a congressional commission with reviewing whether future presidents are mentally fit to remain in office.

Pelosi has been raising questions about Trump’s mental fitness since his COVID-19 diagnosis and has been demanding more transparency about his health.

She rolled out the bill with Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., during a news conference on Capitol Hill.

Pelosi stressed during the announcement that the bill applies to “future presidents,” but comes as President Donald Trump continues to recover from the coronavirus at the White House.

“This is not about President Donald Trump — he will face the judgment of the voters,” Pelosi said

Word of the proposal immediately drew an angry response from the president’s allies.

“It’s an absurd proposal,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox.

“Absolutely absurd,” said Senate Majority Leader McConnell during an appearance in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Michael McAdams, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, said, “Every week Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats remind voters that they are a dangerous threat to the country.”

The panel is the first step of a never-used removal process spelled out by the fourth section of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

Once impaneled, the commission would determine presidential fitness for office as outlined by the Constitution’s 25h Amendment, which spells out presidential removal procedures.

Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of either the president’s Cabinet “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” can declare that they believe a president cannot fulfill his or her official duties.

If a president refuses to step down, two-thirds of both the House and Senate could vote to force the ouster.

“Let Congress exert the power the Constitution gave us,” Pelosi said Friday standing before a poster of the amendment.

Rep. Raskin introduced a similar bill three years ago, calling for a commission made up of medical doctors, psychiatrists and former public officials chosen by House and Senate leaders of both parties.

In a statement announcing the legislation in 2017, Raskin said 50 years had elapsed since the 25th Amendment was adopted, but Congress had simply never gotten around to establishing the commission it called for.

“Now is the time to do it,” he said.

Raskin’s former proposal also stated that Congress could pass a resolution directing the commission to conduct an examination of the president to determine whether they are incapacitated mentally or physically.

Members of the commission would then report back to Congress on their findings, the bill said.

“In times of chaos we must hold fast to our Constitution,” he said Friday.

Raskin said the commission would be launched “only for the most extreme situations.”

But, as Congress showed by impeaching — and acquitting the president over the past year — the legislative branch is determined to exert itself at times as a check on the executive branch.

“Congress has a role to play,” Raskin said.

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