Cheney to take charge of government this weekend
When President Bush undergoes a colonoscopy Saturday, the power of the presidency will transfer to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush is sedated, White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday.
"Because the president will be under the effects of anesthesia, he once again has elected to implement Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution," Snow said during his regular White House press briefing. "Once enacted, the vice president will serve as acting president until such time that the president notifies the appropriate authorities that he is prepared to reassume the authority of the president."
While a small camera probes the president's colon, Cheney will be Acting President, giving him identical constitutional "powers and duties" of the President. For the few hours the procedure is expected to last, Cheney will be able to sign bills into law, petition Congress for a declaration of war and issue executive orders.
This weekend will not be the first time Bush transfered his executive power to Cheney. When he had the same procedure in 2002, Cheney temporarily took over.
"I did so because we're at war, and I just want to be super cautious," Bush said at the time.
Bush is not showing any symptoms of colon cancer, and Saturday's screening is just a routine follow-up on the procedure from five years ago.
The 25th Amendment requires President Bush to inform House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd in writing of his decision to hand power to Cheney. A spokeswoman in Byrd's office told RAW STORY the senator has received Bush's written declaration. Pelosi's office and the White House did not return calls seeking comment.