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Pelosi Introduces Bill to Form 25th Amendment Commission to Rule on President’s Fitness

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday introduced a bill to establish a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office.

The bill, which Pelosi introduced along with Congressman Jamie Raskin, would form a congressionally-appointed body called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, which would serve as “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.

On Thursday, Pelosi expressed doubts about President Trump’s health after his coronavirus diagnosis and announced that over the next day she will be discussing the constitutional measure that allows the vice president to take over if the president becomes incapacitated.

The measure is meant to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” regarding the presidency.

Pelosi stressed Friday that she is unaware of Trump’s current mental fitness but said some medical professionals have cautioned that certain drugs could alter a patient’s state of mind. Trump has been prescribed several drugs since he tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

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

“We have to give some comfort to people that there is a way to do this,” the speaker continued, “based on a medical decision again, with the full involvement of the vice president.”

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Watch live: Democrats introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin are introducing a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday.

At the conference press conference announcing the bill on Friday morning, Pelosi insisted that the bill was not intended to determine President Trump’s fitness of office.

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

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

“The 25th Amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office,” Raskin said in the conference announcing the bill, noting that it was ratified on a bipartisan basis after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“In the age of COVID-19, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and now ravaged the White House staff, the wisdom of the 25th Amendment is clear,” Raskin continued, referring to the multiple White House officials who have tested positive for the virus. Raskin noted that the commission would be bipartisan, with members chosen by both Republicans and Democrats, and could only act in concert with the vice president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing

House Democrats will introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin will introduce a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday. They will formally announce the bill at a press conference on Friday morning.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing Pelosi for appearing to consider implementation of the 25th Amendment.

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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

What California’s new equity rule means for economic reopening

OAKLAND, Calif. — California has launched the nation’s first mandate on reopening that requires local officials to control the coronavirus in their most impoverished communities before easing business restrictions across their entire county.



a group of people sitting at a table in front of a building: Patrons eat at table set up on a sidewalk in Burbank, Calif.


© AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Patrons eat at table set up on a sidewalk in Burbank, Calif.

The approach is aimed at tackling a persistent inequity in California, where low-income people of color have disproportionately struggled to avoid contracting the disease.

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“If you believe in growth and you don’t believe in inclusion, then we’re going to leave a lot of people behind,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week. “And one of the things we value as a state is inclusion, and we believe that we’re all better off when we’re all better off.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has laid stark the health disparities that have long existed, with poor, Black, Latino, Pacific Islander and Native communities being hardest hit by the pandemic. Latinos, for example, make up about 40 percent of the state’s population, but account for more than 60 percent of coronavirus cases and half the deaths.

California’s “equity metric” attempts to tackle that disparity by requiring that the 35 largest counties invest more in testing and ensure that positive rates of infection in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods come close to meeting the county’s overall positivity rate. The rule ensures that restaurants in Beverly Hills can’t resume indoor dining unless the most impoverished census tracts also show low rates of infection.

The change adds a third metric to the state’s newest reopening structure, which Newsom unveiled in late August and billed as an improvement to the previous approach that has been blamed for the state’s summer infection surge. Before now, the new structure has relied only on a county’s overall positivity mark and the rate of new infections.

The equity move could prompt counties to expand testing in low-income neighborhoods and provide tests to anyone who fears they have been exposed, not just those who show symptoms. That may allow such communities to more quickly isolate patients, especially those who are asymptomatic.

The metric uses the California Healthy Places Index to identify the lowest, most disadvantaged quartile in the larger counties’ census tracts. The smallest 23 counties are exempt — with populations of 106,000 or below — but still have to provide the state with an equity plan for their most vulnerable populations.

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner, a former Republican state lawmaker who has been critical of Newsom’s restrictions, called the new measure “virtue signaling” on the part of the Democratic governor. He also described it as another example of “moving the goal posts,” potentially delaying further business reopenings.

“Even if you meet others but don’t meet the equity one, you’re stuck,” Wagner said.

Tuesday marked the first state update to county tiers since the equity metric was quietly rolled out last week. There remained plenty of confusion and mystery around how it might impact county status, but its debut mostly had no effect

LA Sees Rash Of Reopenings, But New Rule May Stall More Openings

LOS ANGELES, CA — Angelenos can once again get their nails done indoors, and next week they’ll be able to shop at indoor malls again, as the Los Angeles emerges from the summer lockdown. However, a new state requirement may put the brakes on LA’s fledgling reopening.

California issued a new requirement for reopening, forcing large counties to address coronavirus infections in the hardest hit communities, which tend to be poor and minority communities. The measure, which goes into effect later this week, would require counties to invest in testing and contact tracing, while helping infected people to isolate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In the meantime, county health officials Thursday allowed salons to offer indoor services at 25% capacity. Though it’s allowed, health officials strongly encouraged salons to keep working outdoors as a safety measure.

Card rooms can reopen with outdoor operations only beginning Monday, minus food and beverage service. Indoor shopping malls can open their doors Wednesday, also at 25% of capacity, but food courts must remain closed. Nail salons that reopen indoors were encouraged to continue offering outdoor service as much as possible.

Health officials said they are still working with county attorneys to finalize plans for the reopening outdoor beverage service — with food sold by third-party providers — at breweries and wineries. That process is expected to be “completed in a week,” according to the county.

Outdoor playgrounds can open at the discretion of individual cities, but visitors over age 2 must wear face coverings and adult supervision and physical distancing will be required.

Schools that want to provide in-person instruction for students in pre- kindergarten through second-grade can submit applications to the county for waivers beginning Monday. Waivers will be limited to 30 schools per week, with priority given to campuses in the generally lowest-income areas.

Schools that are granted waivers will have to limit groups of students to no more than 12, and no more than two supervising adults in each classroom. Those teacher-student groups must remain together for the entire day “for all activities,” according to the county.

Complete safety protocols for all reopening businesses will be posted on the county’s website. Public health director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday strict adherence to the protocols is essential to ensuring infection control and the continues operations of the businesses.

“We have determined that with really good adherence — and this is critical — to the directives that are in place, these are activities that we think can be done with a lot of safety,” Ferrer said. “And if they’re done with a lot of safety we’re hopeful that we won’t see a big surge in cases. It’s pretty easy to know when things aren’t going well because our cases tend to increase within a couple of weeks.”

Ferrer noted Wednesday that the county was moving ahead with the openings despite seeing a recent uptick in daily COVID-19 case numbers and the local transmission rate. She warned in a statement Thursday that

New possible health care benefit rule roils theater world

The U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 theater actors and stage managers is blasting a proposal that would raise eligibility requirements for members to receive health care

“We all understand that there is no escaping the devastating loss of months of employer contributions nationwide, and no alternative aside from making adjustments to the plan. But I believe that the fund had both the obligation and the financial reserves to take the time to make better choices,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association.

Many actors and stage managers have been unable to qualify for the necessary weeks of work for eligibility since theaters went dark in March. Equity represents actors and stage managers across the nation.

In a statement, the fund said: “The past six months have been among the most difficult any of us has ever faced. We recognize the emotional and financial burdens you are facing.” It added: “After looking at many different approaches, the Trustees have developed a solution that balances meaningful coverage with the long-term sustainability of the fund.”

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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Alabama governor extends pandemic rule requiring face masks

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey and health officials extended an order requiring face masks in public Wednesday, arguing that the requirement — while unpopular among many — has proven effective at helping control the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

The five-week extension, announced during a Capitol news conference, means the mask requirement will be in effect on Election Day and through much of the remaining high school and college football seasons.


Ending the mask ordinance could harm the state by leading to a “false sense of security,” Ivey said, and a “safe environment” is needed for in-person voting.

The mask rule, which took effect in mid-July, was set to expire Friday but will continue through Nov. 8 under a health order released by Ivey. It requires anyone over the age of 6 to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when it’s impossible to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.



In a move aimed at combatting isolation among people in nursing homes and hospitals, residents and patients will now be allowed one visitor or caregiver at a time.

More than 2,500 people in Alabama have died of COVID-19, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, giving the state the nation’s 21st high death count. Alabama has reported 153,554 positive results out of 1.1 million tests for an overall positivity rate of 13.7%, according to the COVID Tracking Project.


But the illness caused by the new coronavirus has spread at a slower pace since the state enacted the