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Pelosi eyes creation of panel to determine a president’s fitness to serve

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin unveiled a bill Friday that would create a standing committee to evaluate the mental or physical capacity of any sitting president.

They said the legislation was not intended to remove the current president from office before the election, but to set out a process stemming from the 25th Amendment.

“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of the voters,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said. “He shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”

“This isn’t about any judgment that anybody has about someone’s behavior. This is about a diagnosis,” she added.

The 25th Amendment provides for the transfer of presidential power in the case of removal from office, death, or disability. Congress, the president’s cabinet, and the vice president have the power to remove a president unable to serve, but it would take a 2/3 vote in both chambers to be implemented.

This bill would address Congress’ authority, by creating a bipartisan, bicameral 17-member committee to review the president’s ability to fulfill the duties of the office — and to ensure a smooth transfer of power in drastic situations.

Mr. Raskin, Maryland Democrat, said this legislation was particularly important in the age of COVID-19, which has infected several members of government, including Mr. Trump.

“When I found that the body had never been set up and I guess the reason is that there’s never really a good time to do it, because its always seen in its local circumstance as opposed to the need to have this institutionally,” Mr. Raskin said. “The situation has focused everybody’s mind on the need for following through on this suggestion in the 25th Amendment.”

The proposal has no chance of being enacted as it would have to be passed by the GOP-controlled Senate and then signed into law by the president himself.

In recent days, Mrs. Pelosi has repeatedly questioned the president’s mental health given his coronavirus diagnosis but said it wasn’t her place to determine if the 25th Amendment was appropriate.

“What I said about the president and the drugs was there are those who believe taking certain medications can affect [your] judgment. I don’t know,” she said.

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Pelosi To Propose Panel To Assess Trump’s Fitness For Duty

“We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, previewing legislation she plans to introduce that would create a commission to evaluate President Donald Trump’s health and ability to serve as president.


AP:
In 25th Amendment Bid, Pelosi Mulls Trump’s Fitness To Serve


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is questioning President Donald Trump’s fitness to serve, announcing legislation Thursday that would create a commission to allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and remove the president from executive duties. Just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, Pelosi said Trump needs to disclose more about his health after his COVID-19 diagnosis. She noted Trump’s “strange tweet” halting talks on a new coronavirus aid package — he subsequently tried to reverse course — and said Americans need to know when, exactly, he first contracted COVID as others in the White House became infected. On Friday, she plans to roll out the legislation that would launch the commission for review. (Mascaro, 10/8)


The Washington Post:
Citing 25th Amendment, Pelosi, Raskin Move To Create Panel That Could Rule On President’s Fitness For Office 


The panel would be called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the offices of Pelosi and Raskin said in a statement announcing the move. The 25th Amendment formalizes that the vice president takes over the duties of the presidency in the event of a president’s death, inability to perform his duties or resignation from office. It also lays out a process by which a sitting president may be removed from office. Congress’s role in this, however, is limited.(Sonmez, 10/8)

Work on a COVID-relief bill drags on —


Politico:
Pelosi Signals No Relief For Airlines Without Bigger Covid Deal


Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to move a standalone coronavirus bailout for airlines unless the administration also agrees to a broader stimulus package, sowing further confusion in the already tangled talks that have dragged on since early summer. “I have been very open to having a single standalone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill. But there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly news conference. (Caygle, Ferris and Mintz, 10/8)

FDA Panel: All Thumbs Down for Amphetamine Product Meant to Deter Abuse

An FDA advisory committee voted unanimously Thursday that the risks of a novel amphetamine designed to deter abuse outweighed the benefits, concluding it may in fact be misused and could be even more dangerous than conventional stimulant medications for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The panel also voted 19-2, with two abstentions, that drugmaker Arbor Pharmaceuticals did not adequately address the safety of AR19 (amphetamine sulfate), with many panelists noting that the drug appeared safe when administered orally, but that high levels of talc and polyethylene oxide in the drug’s composition could be toxic if taken through snorting or injection.

The joint meeting of the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee also concluded with a 15-8 vote that Arbor did not adequately demonstrate AR19 would deter intravenous use, and voted 19-4 that it did not adequately demonstrate it would deter intranasal use.

In fact, the product’s ability to deter manipulation was “slim to nonexistent,” while the risks of the excipients were “too high and uncharacterized” to establish safety, said panel member Steven B. Meisel, PharmD, of M Health Fairview in Minneapolis.

The immediate release, pellets-in-capsule drug contains the same active ingredient as Arbor Pharmaceuticals’ currently-approved ADHD amphetamine Evekeo, but with physical and chemical barriers to deter non-oral intake.

Many panelists agreed that an abuse-deterrent amphetamine would be beneficial. But the likely impact on abuse would be relatively small, they said.

Moreover, the vast majority of amphetamine abuse occurs through the oral route, and non-oral misuse often starts with oral misuse, said Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, MD, MPH, DrPH, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. AR19 was not proposed to deter oral abuse.

“I think this approach would make sense if manipulation were working very well and [AR19] was the only amphetamine on the market,” Hernandez-Diaz added.

The conclusions of the panel may come as no surprise after the skeptical review FDA staff gave the product received in advance of Thursday’s meeting. Agency scientists wrote that it was feasible to extract a minimum reinforcing dose (10 mg amphetamine per mL over 1 minute) suitable for injection when using higher doses of AR19.

Arbor’s own studies aimed at determining whether manipulation could allow the drug to be snorted showed that ordinary household tools couldn’t significantly reduce particle size. But with modifications, one tool was able to crush AR19 particles down to snortable size.

Philip Posner, PhD, the panel’s patient representative from Gainesville, Florida, voted yes to both the intranasal and intravenous deference questions. He argued the evidence showed users would be far less likely to abuse AR19 compared to other stimulants on the market.

“When you compare this product with everything else that’s on the market, or that students can get elsewhere, I think they’re going to take the easy way out,” Posner said. “They’re not going to go through the excess work of emptying capsules, crushing tablets, and putting them in powder form to snort.”

That view failed to persuade Karim Anton

Pelosi eyes 25th Amendment panel to assess presidential capacity

Pelosi plans to introduce legislation to create a commission as outlined under the 25th Amendment to assess the president’s capacity to hold office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation Friday that would allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove the president, insisting it’s not about President Donald Trump but inspired by the need for greater congressional oversight of his White House.

Pelosi has been raising questions about Trump’s mental fitness since his COVID-19 diagnosis and demanding more transparency about his health. The bill would set up a commission to assess the president’s ability to lead the country and ensure a continuity of government. It comes one year after Pelosi’s House launched impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“This is not about President Donald Trump — he will face the judgment of the voters,” Pelosi said at a press conference at the Capitol.

Just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, with no hopes of the bill becoming law, the rollout was quickly dismissed as a stunt by Trump’s team and top 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.

The president’s opponents have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment for some time, but are raising it now, so close to Election Day, as the campaigns are fast turning into a referendum on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.


Pelosi said Trump needs to disclose more about his health after his COVID-19 diagnosis and when, exactly, he first contracted COVID as others in the White House have become infected. More than 210,000 Americans have died and millions more have tested positive for the virus, which shows no signs of abating heading into what public health experts warn will be a difficult flu season and winter.

The legislation that would create a commission as outlined under the 25th Amendment, which was passed by Congress and ratified in 1967 as a way to ensure a continuity of power in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

It says the vice president and a majority of principal officers of the executive departments “or of such other body as Congress” may by law provide a declaration to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the vice president would immediately assume the powers of acting president.

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

Pelosi was joined by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a constitutional scholar, who has proposed similar bills in the past.

“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

Citing 25th Amendment, Pelosi, Raskin move to create panel that could rule on president’s fitness for office

The 25th Amendment formalizes that the vice president takes over the duties of the presidency in the event of a president’s death, inability to perform his duties or resignation from office. It also lays out a process by which a sitting president may be removed from office. Congress’s role in this, however, is limited.

President Trump’s four-day hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after contracting the novel coronavirus forced the administration to answer questions about the 25th Amendment and succession.

Administration officials said Trump remained on the job despite his hospitalization for covid-19 and there were no plans for Vice President Pence to assume even temporary authority as president. Trump returned to the White House Monday evening.

Pelosi, who as speaker is second in line to the presidency, previewed the move on Thursday, telling reporters that she would discuss the 25th Amendment to the Constitution on Friday. She did not elaborate.

“Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow,” Pelosi abruptly told reporters at her weekly news conference, during which she mainly spoke about the need for a new round of coronavirus economic relief. “We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.”

Asked toward the end of her news conference whether she could give more details, Pelosi only reiterated her call for reporters to return Friday.

Raskin introduced a similar measure in 2017 that would establish a congressionally appointed commission of physicians and top leaders who could evaluate the president’s health — both mental and physical — and work with the vice president on a transfer of power.

At the time, the Maryland Democrat said the move was necessary because Trump had “thrown our country into chaos at every turn” since his inauguration that January.

“For the security of our people and the safety of the Republic, we need to set up the ‘body’ called for in the 25th Amendment,” Raskin said in 2017. “The president can fire his entire Cabinet for asking the same question tens of millions of Americans are asking at their dinner tables, but he cannot fire Congress or the expert body we set up under the Constitution.”

Since Trump’s discharge Monday, some Democrats have voiced concern about the potential side effects of his medical treatment.

During an interview Wednesday on ABC News’s “The View,” Pelosi suggested that Trump’s covid-19 medications, which include steroids, may be having an effect on his mental capabilities.

“I said yesterday to my colleagues, I said there are those who say that the steroids had an impact on people’s thinking. I don’t know, but there are those health-care providers who say that,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “Also, if you have the coronavirus, it has an impact, as well.”

Under the 25th Amendment, a president could be declared “disabled” and involuntarily removed from office by joint agreement of the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet, something that has never happened.

In an event with the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday, Pelosi dismissed any suggestion of the 25th Amendment