Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) introduced a bill on Monday that would require the sitting president to undergo an annual cognitive evaluation, after GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley called for “mental competency tests” for politicians older than 75.
The measure is the second piece of legislation the embattled congressman has spearheaded since coming to Congress in January.
“Regardless of political affiliation, this should be a common sense and bipartisan agreement that when a man or a woman becomes President, they submit to an annual cognitive evaluation,” Santos wrote in a statement.
If the commander in chief were to ignore the requirement, Santos is proposing that the White House does not receive federal funds for official travel.
“Physical examination results are publicly released throughout their time in office, and a thorough cognitive assessment should also be included, and failure to comply will result in no federal funds being obligated or expended for official travel,” the congressman said.
Santos’s bill would require that the assessment include general intellect; reading and comprehension; attention and concentration; processing speed; learning and memory; reasoning; executive functions; visuospatial skills; motor speed and dexterity; mood and personality; and memory retention.
It is the second bill he has led, following a measure that would increase the deduction limit for state and local taxes. Since arriving in the House, Santos’s tenure has been mired by controversy amid questions surrounding his background and finances.
The congressman admitted to embellishing parts of his resume, but has contended that he will not step down from his seat. A number of entities, including the House Ethics Committee, are currently looking into Santos.
The New York Republican’s legislative proposal comes a month and a half after Haley — the former South Carolina governor and U.S ambassador to the United Nations — turned heads with her call for all politicians older than 75 to undergo “mental competency tests.”
She announced the idea during her 2024 campaign kickoff speech as part of a broader push for generational change. The recommendation was seen as a dig at President Biden, 80, and former President Trump, 76.
Santos, however, is not pinning an age requirement on his legislation, simply requiring that all presidents undergo the examination.
Haley received mixed reviews on her call for mental competency tests. Trump backed the idea, while former Vice President Mike Pence, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024, said “I think the American people can sort that out.”
The White House, for its part, brushed off Haley’s call to action.
Biden underwent a physical exam in February, after which his physician, Kevin O’Connor, said he was “fit for duty.”
“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief,” O’Connor added.