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house Bill H.R. 1987

Should a Congressional Commission Examine the President’s Physical & Mental Fitness Under the 25th Amendment?

Argument in favor

There needs to be a process for replacing a president who lacks the mental or physical capacity to lead the nation, and this bill would bring structure to the 25th Amendment’s vague instructions. Congress should’ve set up this commission 50 years ago, but there is no better time than the present to do this.

Judy's Opinion
···
07/07/2017
REVISED 7/14/17 Mr. Trump continues to demonstrate a complete lack of leadership in the White House. Today we had a slew of emails protesting the voter registration records request released for public view without any redaction of identifying personal information. These emails were released in a manner that smacks of voter intimidation. A Republican majority sitting silently on their hands whereas if this was a Democrat in office committing any of these activities would have them in front of committee after committee. The people require recourse when the elected officials refuse to take action in a bipartisan manner. Straight down the line the Republican Party is watching and abetting Trump as he flushes our America down the toilet. And then we have Russia and Don Jr and Jared. Republicans, we are watching you do NOTHING!
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OlderNWiser's Opinion
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04/04/2018
This has been my plea and prayer: Get him out! As a retired RN and Masters level psychotherapist,I have been deeply concerned that this man contradicts himself in the same sentence, shows exceedingly poor judgment at all times, actually bragged that he could murder anyone and get by with it, provoked mob violence, is a serial liar, insists on constant adulation while inappropriately insulting anyone from world leaders to war heroes. His sexually inappropriate behaviors along with lack of curiosity, grasp of policy, or any concern about truth, Justice, or ethics lead me to see him as profoundly impaired. To support his bizarre behavior is ruthless, political and lacks patriotism. Bless you brave Representatives who see the emperor has no clothes.
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Latricia's Opinion
···
07/07/2017
We should be as concerned or possibly even more concerned about the president's mental fitness for office as we are of his physical fitness. A physical issue does not necessarily prevent a individual from performing their duties, however, an unstable mental condition does effect an individual's judgement. It is extremely important that the leader of our country be mentally stable. A annual examination should be comprehensive and include a complete physical and psychological evaluation. I support legislation to formalize this requirement.
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Argument opposed

Given that positions on this commission would be filled through political appointments, it’s possible that it could make a decision on political rather than medical grounds. That could turn the commission into a tool that each party alternates using to undermine a president they don’t like by questioning their capacity.

Loraki's Opinion
···
07/07/2017
Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) has stated publicly the following: "This is a president who has insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and that Barack Obama was born in Indonesia, and he has uttered blatant lies and never retracted them. And that is a sign of a serious mental disturbance." I submit to you that if telling whoppers is a sign of a serious mental disturbance, then there's not a one of us above the age of accountability who shouldn't be under the care of a psychiatrist, and that most certainly includes Congressman Raskin! Mr. Raskin deserves to be censured by the House of Representatives and by "We the People" for his audacious and opprobrious slandering of President Trump!
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ManfromNebraska's Opinion
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04/04/2018
Just another liberal ploy to attack the President. Get over the fact you lost the election. Support our leadership.
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Karan's Opinion
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04/04/2018
Dude the White House doctor already did. This was the same doctor that examined Obama and that doctor said Trump is in perfect health. So no this just another left wing attempt to humiliate the President
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on Rules
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedApril 6th, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 1987?

This bill would establish an Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity that would be used to carry out section four of the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president to take over for the president when he’s “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” The commission would carry out a medical exam of the president and make a determination whether the president is temporarily or permanently impaired by physical illness or disability, mental illness, mental deficiency, or alcohol or drug use to the extent that the person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to execute their duties. The vice president would have to concur with the commission’s finding that the president is incapacitated.

Congress would be able to trigger such an exam by 72 hours by passing a concurrent resolution through both the House and Senate, and within 72 hours of the exam’s the commission would notify Congress of its findings. If the president refuses to undergo such an exam, it would be taken into consideration by the commission when they make their report for Congress.

The commission would consist of 11 members appointed by the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate, including four psychiatrists, four physicians, and three political members (former presidents, vice presidents, certain members of the Cabinet). Members would need to be approved by Congress and the commission’s chair would be appointed by its members. All members of the commission would be physicians, and at least one of the two appointees chosen by congressional leadership would need to specialize in psychiatry.

Under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment the vice president has the authority to remove the president with the support of the majority of the Cabinet or “such other body as Congress” if the president can’t “discharge the powers and duties of the office.” What that other body was wasn’t clarified further by Congress.

Impact

Members of the commission; Congress; the Vice President and the President.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1987

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced this bill in response to comments made by President Donald Trump during the campaign and since his inauguration that led Raskin to question Trump's mental capacity to serve as president:

“This is a president who has insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and that Barack Obama was born in Indonesia, and he has uttered blatant lies and never retracted them. And that is a sign of a serious mental disturbance…This is a president who seems increasingly at odds with everyone and everything around him...It certainly doesn’t feel like the ship is on an even course right now. We are careening all over the place.”

A White House spokesperson declined to “dignify this with an official response.” Former Democratic congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich called it “a political statement, not a medical statement” that is “destroying the [Democratic] party as an effective opposition.” Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Raskin’s fellow member of the Maryland congressional delegation who is an anesthesiologist, said of the bill:

“To properly evaluate someone’s mental and physical health requires years of schooling, and it is an insult to the entire medical profession to assume that unqualified, agenda-pushing, partisan politicians would be able to make such a critical professional judgment. This legislation is a thinly veiled attempt by Democrats to undermine a legislative agenda they disagree with.”

This legislation has the support of 21 Democratic cosponsors in the House.


Of NoteThe 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967 in response to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It has been invoked six times since then, three of which were related to vacancies in the office of the president and vice president during the Nixon administration. The latter three resulted in the vice president becoming the acting president while the sitting president underwent medical procedures requiring anesthesia:

  • During President Ronald Reagan’s colonoscopy in 1986, he transferred power to Vice President George H.W. Bush, although he took steps to show he didn’t want to create a binding precedent for successors.

  • In 2002 President George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy and transferred power to Vice President Dick Cheney for two hours, and did so again for a colonoscopy in 2007.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act

Official Title

To establish the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity, and for other purposes.

    REVISED 7/14/17 Mr. Trump continues to demonstrate a complete lack of leadership in the White House. Today we had a slew of emails protesting the voter registration records request released for public view without any redaction of identifying personal information. These emails were released in a manner that smacks of voter intimidation. A Republican majority sitting silently on their hands whereas if this was a Democrat in office committing any of these activities would have them in front of committee after committee. The people require recourse when the elected officials refuse to take action in a bipartisan manner. Straight down the line the Republican Party is watching and abetting Trump as he flushes our America down the toilet. And then we have Russia and Don Jr and Jared. Republicans, we are watching you do NOTHING!
    Like (257)
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    Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) has stated publicly the following: "This is a president who has insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and that Barack Obama was born in Indonesia, and he has uttered blatant lies and never retracted them. And that is a sign of a serious mental disturbance." I submit to you that if telling whoppers is a sign of a serious mental disturbance, then there's not a one of us above the age of accountability who shouldn't be under the care of a psychiatrist, and that most certainly includes Congressman Raskin! Mr. Raskin deserves to be censured by the House of Representatives and by "We the People" for his audacious and opprobrious slandering of President Trump!
    Like (100)
    Follow
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    This has been my plea and prayer: Get him out! As a retired RN and Masters level psychotherapist,I have been deeply concerned that this man contradicts himself in the same sentence, shows exceedingly poor judgment at all times, actually bragged that he could murder anyone and get by with it, provoked mob violence, is a serial liar, insists on constant adulation while inappropriately insulting anyone from world leaders to war heroes. His sexually inappropriate behaviors along with lack of curiosity, grasp of policy, or any concern about truth, Justice, or ethics lead me to see him as profoundly impaired. To support his bizarre behavior is ruthless, political and lacks patriotism. Bless you brave Representatives who see the emperor has no clothes.
    Like (150)
    Follow
    Share
    We should be as concerned or possibly even more concerned about the president's mental fitness for office as we are of his physical fitness. A physical issue does not necessarily prevent a individual from performing their duties, however, an unstable mental condition does effect an individual's judgement. It is extremely important that the leader of our country be mentally stable. A annual examination should be comprehensive and include a complete physical and psychological evaluation. I support legislation to formalize this requirement.
    Like (110)
    Follow
    Share
    Trump is clearly incapable of executing his duties. Please do your job and protect the US from his destructive and unstable behavior.
    Like (82)
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    Just another liberal ploy to attack the President. Get over the fact you lost the election. Support our leadership.
    Like (69)
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    Like #45 was ever mentally fit?!
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    Dude the White House doctor already did. This was the same doctor that examined Obama and that doctor said Trump is in perfect health. So no this just another left wing attempt to humiliate the President
    Like (59)
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    Paul Ryan, are you going to do anything to stop this President?
    Like (57)
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    This has merit as physical and mental conditions may both affect the ability of a president to perform the duties of the office.
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    #45 is the Best President this country has had since Reagan! If he needs a medical check up, he’ll ask for it.
    Like (41)
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    I don't agree with the congressman's characterizations of the President, but I agree that President Trump has given plenty of cause to warrant a commission to investigate his fitness for office. There is no buffer between the President and a nuclear launch, therefore all precautions must be taken to ensure the President is of sound mind and body. I do not believe the medical examinations he has had to this point are adequate enough to ensure the public of his fitness for office.
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    This should happen before elected in to office as well!
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    Absolutely. I was willing to give him a chance to prove he could pivot from the crazy candidate to someone who wouldn't embarrass our country. He obviously hasn't and won't. Please let's get him out before our country goes completely down the tubes.
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    Some day you will have to come to terms with the fact that your candidate crooked Hillary lost. The majority of the country chose Trump. In defiance of your repugnant slander, I stand by OUR president. Sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride.
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    His childish need to bully his opponents by using crude nicknames is enough proof of his mentality which is stuck in toddlerhood.
    Like (24)
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    This is obviously a Democrat created initiative. It undermines the authority of the president , and is as an insult to the citizens of the United States in general. For hundreds of years this is never been either, and there is not a need to start this now.This is being done out of spite , general hatred, personal malice and without lack of regard for the welfare from the American people. I find the action and the notion disgusting on its face. Democrats have done nothing to dance to welfare of American people. They’re wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on personal event that is against a very popular effective president who by fortunate circumstances or Republican. The malicious actions of Democrats needs to stop, and It needs to stop now!
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    Mr Trumps impulsiveness and irrationality is not just an issue for jokes on Saturday Night Live but affect our livelihoods and national security. It is truly a horrific time to be an American as one tweet can change the course of history in a second. And his blatant non-caring attitude regarding the laws of the land, the position of President, and the people of this country does make me wonder if he’s just that dense or if what medical professionals have said is true (that he has a narsasistic personality) which is not great for leadership by a person who refuses rather than tries.
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    The current president appears to be mentally unstable.
    Like (20)
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    It us of the utmost importance that the President should not have any mental health issues. Someone who can’t logically discern factual evidence from untrue information is NOT fit to be the the leader of our country.
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