On Tuesday, Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced passage of House Resolution 21, which calls on Vice President Michael Pence to activate the cabinet and immediately use the authority provided, under section 4 of the 25th Amendment, to declare President Donald Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office.
Higgins said, “By inciting a mob to commit a domestic terrorist attack on our nation, President Trump has proven himself unfit and incapable of leading this country. For the sake of our democracy and safety of Americans, he must be relieved of the responsibilities he has clearly already abandoned.”
A press release from Higgins stated, “Following months of lies by President Trump and others about the validity of the election, on Jan. 6, thousands of rioters stormed the United States Capitol, destroying property in an attempt at insurrection, which resulted in the death of six people.”
Adopted in 1967, the 25th amendment to the United States Constitution ensures a line of succession by placing the vice president in charge should the president be unable or unwilling to discharge the duties of their office. The House Resolution, cosponsored by Higgins, calls for Pence and the cabinet to utilize section 4 of this amendment to declare the president’s inability to lead and assign his duties to the vice president.
Following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Higgins issued a statement condemning the actions of rioters and the president. The next day, he announced support for articles of Impeachment and support for action to invoke the 25th Amendment to “protect Americans.”
Congressman Chris Jacobs, R-NY-27, issued a statement that read, “The Constitution entrusts the vice president and the cabinet with the authority to invoke the 25th Amendment, and it is only intended to be used when a president is incapacitated – not as means of punishment. Congress has no place in this process and the vice president’s decision not to invoke the 25th Amendment makes tonight’s vote no more than political posturing from Speaker Pelosi. At a time when our nation cannot bear more division, the speaker should pull consideration of this resolution from the floor and instead work with us to heal the country.”
In a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence wrote, “Every American was shocked and saddened by the attack on our Nation’s Capitol last week, and I am grateful for the leadership that you and other congressional leaders provided in reconvening Congress to complete the people’s business on the very same day. It was a moment that demonstrated to the American people the unity that is still possible in Congress when it is needed most.
“But now, with just eight days left in the president’s term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the cabinet and I invoke the 25th amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution. Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.”
Rather, Pence said this should be a “time to heal” as Joe Biden prepares to be sworn-in as the next president.