JUST IN: US President Biden transfers power to VP Harris

Biden and Harris

Biden and Harris

President Joe Biden on Friday wrote the United States Senate to convey his decision to temporarily transfer the powers and duties of his office to Vice President Kamala Harris as he undergoes a routine surgery which will require sedation.

in the letter addressed to Honourable Patrick Leahy, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, Biden said the transfer of power to Harris was in accordance with section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

He added that the letter is a written declaration that he is presently unable to discharge the powers and duties of the 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,” Biden said in the letter.

The White House had earlier revealed that Biden will transfer power briefly to Harris on Friday while he is under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy.

The decision makes Harris the first woman to hold presidential power in U.S. history.

Reuters reports that Biden is undergoing his annual physical at the Walter Reed military hospital outside of Washington.

“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,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

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“The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time,” Psaki said.

Presidential power has been transferred to the vice president before, when President George W. Bush had colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007.

Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, is the oldest person to take office as U.S. president, leading to high interest in his health and well-being.

But he has promised to be more transparent about his health than predecessor Donald Trump.

The Republican visited Walter Reed in 2019 for an undisclosed reason that a former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later revealed was for a colonoscopy.

With reports from Reuters

See the Biden’s letter

Biden's letter transferring presidential power to VP Harris
Biden’s letter transferring presidential power to VP Harris