Biden’s Cabinet has not discussed invoking 25th Amendment, Yellen says

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday said there has been no discussion among Cabinet members of invoking the 25th Amendment in the wake of a politically disastrous debate that reignited concerns about President Biden’s age and mental acuity. 

Asked while she was testifying before the House Financial Services Committee whether Cabinet members have talked about invoking the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Yellen said: “No.” The 25th Amendment enables the vice president and a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries to declare the president unfit to serve, and immediately transfer power to the vice president.

A president can challenge the move; however, the decision would then be up to Congress. A two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate would be required for the president to remain in office.

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The 25th Amendment has never been invoked. 

Biden’s shaky performance in his debate performance against former President Donald Trump at the end of June sparked widespread concern over his age, health and memory. Some Democrats have called on the president – who is 81 years old – to pull out of the race. Biden said this week that he will not step aside, and dared Democrats to “challenge me at the convention.”

But Yellen defended her boss on Tuesday, when she was pressed by Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., about whether she has witnessed any mental or cognitive decline in meetings with him. 

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“The president is extremely effective in the meetings that I’ve been in with him,” she said. “That includes many international meetings that are multi-hour,” including with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders. 

Yellen declined to say when she last met with Biden in person.

House Speaker Mike Johnson previously said that Biden’s Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment, and said there are calls from within his own conference for the Amendment to be invoked. 

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“I would ask the Cabinet members to search their hearts,” Johnson told reporters after the debate. “And we hope that they will do their duty, as we all seek to do our duty to do best by the American people. These are fateful moments.”

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The Louisiana Republican said he believed the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Biden from office. 

“I would be having that discussion with my colleagues at the Cabinet level,” he said. “We’ll see what action they take. It’s a serious situation.”

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