House to vote on resolution encouraging Pence to remove the president using 25th Amendment

House to vote on resolution encouraging Pence to remove the president using 25th Amendment

The House of Representatives is set to hold a vote on a non-binding resolution that calls on Vice President Mike Pence to “convene and mobilize” President Donald Trump’s cabinet to remove the president from power, using the powers granted by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

“By his actions and inactions on Jan. 6, the president has proven he is unable to discharge the duties and powers of his office,” Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the Democratic Chair of the House Rules Committee said Tuesday, which is preparing to vote to send the motion to the entire House for a vote Tuesday night.

“I wish he would resign, but he is apparently unwilling to do so,” he added. “It’s past time for the Vice President to do the right thing here. It is my hope that a strong bipartisan vote on this resolution will encourage the vice president to act to remove Donald Trump from office.”

Republicans on the committee argued against the resolution. “I think this resolution is misguided and inappropriate for the legislative branch to pursue,” said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the committee.

“The responsibility for initiating the process for making a determination as to whether or not the president is unable to fulfill his or her duties lies solely with the vice president,” he added.

Section 4 of the amendment provides for instances when the president can’t or won’t admit that he is incapable of carrying out his duties, and it authorizes the vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet to declare the president to be incapable of carrying them out.

If Vice President Mike Pence and seven other members of President Trump’s cabinet were to make this declaration, Pence would assume the powers of the presidency after a message to this effect is sent to the President pro tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

President Trump would likely not accept this outcome and could fight to retain his powers by trasmitting a message to the leaders of Congress that no disability actually exists.

The Vice President and the cabinet, however, can contest this by providing a second written declaration contradicting the president. Under such circumstances Trump would not retake power immediately, rather it would trigger a four-day period for the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to reassert their belief that he is incapacitated.

Congress can confirm that the president is unable to discharge his duties with two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate, but it has 21 days to make this determination.

Reports indicate that Pence has no intention of invoking the 25th Amendment at this point, and Democrats are also preparing to impeach the president for a second time in more than a year if Pence does not act.

House Democrats released an impeachment resolution Monday that said by propagating the falsehood that the president lost the November presidential election due to widespread fraud, including during a speech outside the White House to his supporters minutes before the violence began, Trump “made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol.”

A full vote on the 25th Amendment is expected to begin no sooner than 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday, and the House is then expected to reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning to consider the impeachment resolution, according to a House Democratic aide.

Jonathan Nicholson contributed to this report

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