Introduce

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

House Democrats introduce $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, unlikely to pass in Senate

WASHINGTON – House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in a long-shot push to break the impasse on negotiations before the election, though the bill is likely to face opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate if it passes the House.  

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Many of the benefits approved by Congress ran out this year, leaving millions of Americans waiting for urgently needed aid. The $600 federal unemployment benefit ran out in July, a loan forgiveness program for small businesses expired, and airlines warned of mass layoffs. 

The bill, an updated version of legislation passed by House Democrats, would provide a round of $1,200 relief checks, reauthorize the small-business lending program, bring back the $600 federal boost to the unemployment benefit through January and provide assistance for the airline industry.

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The bill includes: 

  • $225 billion in education funding, with $182 billion for K-12 schools and about $39 billion for post-secondary education
  • $120 billion in grants for restaurants
  • $436 billion in assistance for state, local and tribal governments
  • $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing and isolation measures 
  • $15 billion in funding for the U.S. Postal Service 
  • Increased food assistance benefits

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats as the bill was unveiled. 

Moderate Democrats, many of whom face tough reelection contests, pushed congressional Democratic leaders for weeks to act on a pared-down COVID-19 relief bill before they leave for their scheduled recess before the election.

The House could act

House Democrats Introduce Scaled-Back Coronavirus Aid Package : NPR

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package after weeks of stalled talks.

Jose Luis Magana/AP


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Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package after weeks of stalled talks.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Democrats have released a $2.2 trillion coronavirus response package as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempt to revive long-stalled aid negotiations.

The legislation addresses many of Democrats’ top priorities, like additional money for testing and drug development, additional unemployment benefits and small business loans, that were included in the $3.4 trillion bill that passed the House in May. Some of the reduced cost comes from scaling back the duration of the benefits in order to come closer to compromise with Republicans.

Pelosi called the package an effort to follow through on the promise to work with Republicans who are seeking a narrower response.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”

The legislation would revive the expired $600 additional weekly federal unemployment benefit through January and lift caps on how long people can file for unemployment.

Democrats also included another round of direct payments of $1,200 per person and $500 per dependent, money to refresh the popular Paycheck Protection Program with new money for small business loans, additional money for food security programs and $436 billion in relief for states, local governments, tribes and territories.

Republicans balked at the $3.4 trillion package that