Vice president Kamala Harris is set to become acting President of the United States as president Joe Biden undergoes a medical procedure.
Harris will stand in for the president, who turns 79 tomorrow, while he has a routine colonoscopy during his physical examination at Walter Reed medical hospital today, November 19.
Biden drove to the medical centre in the Washington suburbs early this morning for his exam and is expected to briefly undergo anaesthesia for his procedure, at which time power will be transferred to Harris.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shared the news of Biden’s procedure and said Harris will ‘work from her office in the West Wing during this time’.
The White House explains that the primary responsibility of the vice president is to ‘be ready at a moment’s notice to assume the Presidency if the President is unable to perform his or her duties’.
It continues: ‘This can be because of the President’s death, resignation, or temporary incapacitation, or if the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet judge that the President is no longer able to discharge the duties of the presidency.’
The transfer of power will come as Biden signs a letter to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives saying he is unable to discharge his duties while under anaesthesia. Upon his return, he will send them another letter to resume his duties.
Psaki pointed out that the same transfer of power was carried out when ‘President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007’.
Psaki continued: ‘Following the process set out in the Constitution, President Biden will transfer power to the Vice President for the brief period of time when he is under anesthesia.’
Biden’s physical examination comes after Psaki was pressed last week about when the president would undergo the exam, according to the New York Post, keeping in mind he has been in office for nearly 10 months and is the oldest person to hold the office of president.
At the time, Psaki responded: ‘He will be doing his physical soon. As I’ve noted before, as soon as he does that, we will provide that information transparently to all of you.’
Biden’s last full exam was conducted in December 2019, the Seattle Times reports, at which time doctors found him to be ‘healthy, vigorous’ and ‘fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency’.
The press secretary has assured the White House would provide more details after Biden arrived at the hospital.
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Topics: News, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Now, President