Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., told Axios that he favored cognitive tests for aging government leaders in order to make sure their ability to serve the American people remained intact.
On Sunday’s “Axios on HBO,” Cassidy cited past U.S. Senators he said were senile by the end of their times in office to argue a cognitive test applying across all three branches of government would be “a reasonable plan.”
“The Speaker of the House is 81. Wisdom comes with age, but the science is also clear that we aren’t who we were, that we do lose things with age. As a medical professional, is that something we should be thinking about?” Axios’ Mike Allen asked.
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“Of course,” said Cassidy, a medical doctor.
Allen asked Cassidy what concerns he had over the fact that medicine allowed government leaders to live longer and lead the country at increasing ages.
“I’ll just speak in general, not to the particular. At some point, and statistically it’s in the 80s, you begin a more rapid decline. It’s usually noticeable. So, anybody in a position of responsibility, who may potentially be on that slope, that is of concern. And I’m saying this as a doctor,” Cassidy said.
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When asked if there should be limits on the ages people are allowed to serve, Cassidy admitted it was difficult to speak on the topic because people would assume he was talking about 78-year-old Joe Biden, the oldest president ever elected. At the conclusion of his current term, he will be 82.
“I’m told that there have been senators in the past who, at the end of their term, were senile. I’m told that was true of senators of both parties,” Cassidy said. “Now you can argue, ‘Well they were elected so who cares,’ but would it be reasonable to have, for Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, and leadership positions in the Executive branch, an annual sort of evaluation in which they would have to establish, ‘Yes, I’m doing OK?'”
“I think that’s actually a reasonable plan,” Cassidy added. “We each have a sacred responsibility to the people of the United States. It is not about me, it is about my ability to serve the people whom I have the privilege –”
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“So you’d be for [it]?” Allen interrupted.
“Of course. Yeah,” Cassidy said.