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Wenstrup Statement on 25th Amendment Resolution

Washington, January 12, 2021 Contact:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) issued the following statement regarding his intention to vote against a resolution urging the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment:

“The 25th Amendment was ratified to ensure continuity of government in the event that a sitting president is ‘unable to perform the duties and powers of President,’ largely envisioning incapacity or disability. The amendment prescribes that the Vice President and Cabinet – who are best positioned to evaluate the president’s mental fitness – take initial action. It is completely inappropriate for Congress to put political pressure on them to invoke such a grave power. This political move serves no purpose other than to further divide the country. Worse, it places improper political pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who has faithfully performed his constitutional duties. I echo Vice President Pence’s sentiment in his letter today rejecting this resolution, in urging ‘every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.’”

The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1976 following a long history of concerns with the health of the commander in chief, including the presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had health concerns, and John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated.

Section four reads:

“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.”