House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland announced a new bill Friday that would indirectly give Congress the power to remove a president from office using the 25th Amendment.
Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president can become the acting president if both the vice president and either a majority of the Cabinet or “such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine the commander in chief “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
If the president argues that he is in fact capable of staying in office but both the vice president and either the majority of the Cabinet or the aforementioned “body” disagree, a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate is necessary for the vice president to continue as acting president.
The bipartisan commission would be composed of 17 members, and would work with the vice president to determine if the president become physically or mentally incapacitated and is thus “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“This is not about President Trump,” Pelosi said Friday morning in a media conference.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 9, 2020
“He will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”
The speaker denied that the legislation had to do with the upcoming election and said a commission on presidential capacity is needed to “give some comfort to people” on the executive branch’s stability.
“We do need to do this, certainly in the next Congress,” Raskin said.
“In times of chaos, we must hold fast to our Constitution,” he added.
“The 25th amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office.”
In 2017 Raskin introduced a similar bill, saying, “Trump has thrown our country into chaos,” according to a media release from Dec. 6, 2017.
The new bill was teased at a Thursday interview with David Westin on Bloomberg News’ “Balance of Power,” when Pelosi said she would be “talking about the 25th Amendment” Friday morning after questioning Trump’s ability to serve post-battle with COVID-19.
“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now, so I don’t know how to answer for his behavior,” she said.
“I’ve quoted others to say there are those who say when you are on steroids and, or if you have COVID-19 or both, that there may be some impairment of judgment.”
In a Friday morning tweet, Trump said the bill was introduced because Democrats will want California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris to replace Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden if Biden wins the election in November.
Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2020
To go into effect, the bill would need to pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed by the president.
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