Another day, another legislative attempt from the opposition party to take power away from the Republicans and their president. This instance takes the form of a bill introduced by Democratic Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, recently known for issuing a one-word press release whose entire text was the word "resist" in all caps. The bill is intended to make impeachment easier in the case of presidential instability or unfitness, but it's unclear whether or not Blumenauer's efforts will pay off.
While easing impeachment is certainly welcome to many in Blumenauer's party (and the rest of the country), the specifics of his bill are somewhat strange. His bill proposes that former presidents and vice presidents coordinate with the sitting vice president to figure out whether or not the president is unfit — a departure from the current rules outlined by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution that empowers the vice president and a majority of cabinet members to declare presidential unfitness as one avenue of impeachment.
To his credit, Blumenauer's concerns with the current rules are fairly sound:
Because the cabinet can be fired by the president, there is a natural bias that would make them reluctant to acknowledge the president’s inability to serve. It’s time to revisit and strengthen the Amendment and make sure there is a reliable mechanism in place if the president becomes unable to discharge the powers and duties of office.
The issue lies not in the concern, however, but in the theoretical application of such an amendment, which would have to be agreed upon by a majority of members of both houses of Congress, and signed into law by the president himself.
Blumenauer's goal, of course, is noble — he's been even more hard-lined against Trump than the rest of his fellow Democrats. The issue with this bill lies in its sheer audacity. And its almost sure death in session is representative of not only this audacity, but also of the party's failure to properly push back against Trump.
There's very little possibility that this bill will make it through session — indeed, it's more likely to elicit chuckles from House Republicans than it is to be somehow signed into law. Its effect will lie not in whether or not it passes (because it almost surely won't), but that it was introduced at all. Like protest campaigns and satirical feminist-leaning bills, Blumenauer's impeachment bill is the first of many legislative attempts to undercut Trump's power, and although it's doomed, the fact that he introduced it at all should count for something.