President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday used section 3 of the 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution to temporarily transfer power to Vice President Kamala D. Harris as he undergoes a routine colonoscopy at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland.
“Today, I will undergo a routine medical procedure requiring sedation. In view of present circumstances, I have determined to transfer temporarily the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States to the Vice President during the brief period of the procedure and recovery,” Biden wrote in a letter to Senator Leahy, President of the Senate. “In accordance with the provisions of section 3 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, this letter shall constitute my written declaration that I am presently unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of the President of the United States. Pursuant to section 3, the Vice President shall discharge those powers and duties as Acting President until I transmit to you a written declaration that I am able to resume the discharge of those powers and duties.”
Harris was Acting President for about 85 minutes, becoming the only woman in the United States history with presidential powers.
“This morning, the President will travel to Walter Reed Medical Center for a routine physical. While he is there, the President will undergo a routine colonoscopy,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
She added, “As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, and 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. The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.
“Later this afternoon, the White House will publicly release a written summary of the President’s physical.”