By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution #local-all (CNT)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland are introducing legislation Friday morning to create a commission they say will “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the federal government’s executive branch.
The Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office is being linked to the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which outlines the presidential line of succession, or who becomes president should the president become disabled, resign or be removed from office.
During a Thursday afternoon briefing with reporters, Pelosi on Thursday told reporters to come back to Capitol Hill on Friday, saying, “we’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.” She did not elaborate on her comment.
Raskin is a Democrat from Maryland’s 8th congressional district, and sits on the House Judiciary, Rules and Oversight and Government Reform committees, among others.
Pelosi has been questioning the status of Trump’s health.
“I think that the public needs to know the health condition of the President,” Pelosi said earlier this week. “There’s one question that he refused to answer … when was his last negative test?” Pelosi said that this information is necessary in order to “make a judgment about the actions that were taken after that.”
“Let us see a date, a time when you last tested negative.”
The California Democrat made the comment while downplaying hopes Congress and the White House could reach an agreement on a stand-alone coronavirus stimulus bill to bail out the crippled airline industry. Pelosi insisted she would only consider an airline support bill, estimated at $25 billion, as part of talks for a full-blown stimulus plan that would cost about $2 trillion.
“There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill,” Pelosi said.
ExploreThe 25th Amendment and the presidential line of succession
The 25th Amendment was passed by Congress on July 6, 1965, less than two years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was ratified on Feb. 10, 1967, and outlines the presidential line of succession, or who becomes president should the president become disabled, resign or be removed from office.
Here’s what the amendment says:
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, the 25th Amendment was an effort to resolve the question of what would happen if the president died, resigned, was removed from office or became so incapacitated that he couldn’t fulfill his duties.
Here’s the line of succession for the presidency of the United States:
1. Vice President Mike Pence
2. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi
3. President pro tempore of the Senate Chuck Grassley
4. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
5. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
6. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
7. Attorney General William Barr
8. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt
9. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
10. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
11. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia
12. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar
13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
14. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Choa, who is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and cannot become president.
15. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette
16. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie
18. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf
The Associated Press contributed to this report.