Blumenauer Applauds Movement to Strengthen 25th Amendment

October 9, 2020
Press Release
Oregon Congressman launched effort early in Trump’s presidency

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longtime advocate and leader in the movement to strengthen the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, today applauded a new effort to preserve stability and coherence in the Executive Branch.

Blumenauer is an original co-sponsor of the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office Act, which was officially introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday. The legislation would define the process by which a judgment of presidential incapacity can be made if circumstances render necessary.

“Not only is this a necessary step, but it’s long overdue. The erratic behavior of Trump has raised serious questions about his mental and emotional capacity to discharge the tremendous burdens of the most powerful position in the world. I led several forums with Oregonians discussing the 25th Amendment issue in the months after he was inaugurated and I am sad to say that we are at this place in time,” Blumenauer said. “The American people will have their say in a few weeks but this becomes more relevant in what is known as the ‘lame duck period’ when we need to make sure that the United States government is functioning and is responding to the concerns of our people and the world. We cannot allow an unhinged Trump to reject the peaceful transfer of power that America is known for and expects – which is just one of the reasons we must act quickly to strengthen the 25th Amendment in the case of mental or emotional incapacity.”

Blumenauer first began a working group to clarify and strengthen the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in February 2017.

This amendment, adopted more than 50 years ago in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination, provides a mechanism for the succession of the president for his or her replacement in the event he or she proves unfit to serve. Under the amendment, the vice president and a majority of either the cabinet or some “other body” designated by Congress, may remove the president from office.

While this authority exists today, Congress has never created the structure to promptly and effectively carry out these grave responsibilities if called to. The Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office Act would establish a bipartisan standing “body” available to act with the Vice-President in the event of medical crisis in any presidential administration.

Under the terms of new legislation introduced today, the “body” will consist of a panel of 16 members to include eight former high ranking Executive Branch officials (such as former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, or Attorneys General), and eight medical professionals—all of them selected in a bipartisan and bicameral manner by Majority and Minority leaders in Congress. The body will select a 17th member as Chair and consult with the Vice-President in the event of a presidential inability to conduct the office. 

To read the full text of the bill, click here.