Hard to image agreeing with Nikki Haley on much but... when asked about Biden's mental health by some hack right-wing propagandist on the Christian Broadcasting Network, she had a reasonable answer: cognitive testing for the elderly in elective office. She didn't mention Reagan, but it is now well known that he had Alzheimer's and was mentally incapacitated in the last couple of years of his presidency. That would never have flown on that network.
"Rather that making this about a person," she said, in reference to the right-wing talking point about Biden (or the normal American talking point about Trump) "we seriously need to have a conversation. If you’re gonna have anyone above a certain age in a position of power-- whether it’s the House, whether it’s the Senate, whether it’s vice president, whether it’s president-- you should have some sort of cognitive test. Just like you have to show your tax returns." Ummmm... she kind of messed up there, at least for her side of the aisle.
You should have some sort of health screening so that people have faith in what you're doing. And right now-- let's face it-- we’ve got a lot of people in leadership positions that are old. And that’s not being disrespectful. That’s a fact. And when it comes to that, this shouldn't be partisan."
And thence went on to feed the CBN listeners what they wanted about Biden anyway.
But she's right about so many of our leaders being mentally incapacitated. They feel like they all want to die in office. Their positions define their beings, which is personally tragic. So many of them feel they would be nothing without their offices. By the time Strom Thurmond died (age 100), he was completely senile and his diapers, often filled with shit, were stinking up the whole chamber. And he didn't seem to realize.
I don't know how many of these very old members of Congress are senile or how senile, but I know that some iff them are and that's what Haley's test would determine, which ones are fit to serve and which aren't. Dianne Feinstein should have retired-- or been retired by the voters-- long ago and should Chuck Grassley really be running for another 6 year Senate term next year? These are all the members of Congress born before 1940:
Don Young (R-AK)- June, 1933
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)- June 22, 1933
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)- September 17, 1933
Richard Shelby (R-AL)- May 6, 1934
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)- November 17, 1934
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)- December 3, 1935
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)- December 4, 1936
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)- January 25, 1937
Hal Rogers (R-KY)- December 31, 1937
Maxine Waters (D-CA)- August 15, 1938
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- June 14, 1939
You think all these ancient mariners have an understanding of modern technology? How about marriage equality? How about the Climate Crisis. Remember Jim Inhofe-- 84 and running for another term-- trying to disprove global warming by bringing a snowball into the Senate floor. Funded by the oil and gas industry, he is famous for declaring that Climate Change is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and compared the Environmental Protect Agency to the Gestapo. See this photo? That was the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2003. He claimed he had "offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax." He hadn't... just a melting snowball.
Yesterday the House passed a bill introduced by Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), the Protect Older Job Applicants Act of 2021 (HR 3992) which prohibits employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying job applicants based on an applicant's age. It's an anti-discrimination bill and 200 Republicans voted against it. All the Democrats voted for it, as did 7 Republicans (including Young, the oldest member of Congress). There already is a law that protects people over 40 from age discrimination. This bill makes sure to specifically include applicants, not just those already employed.
"Ageism is still very much present in our society. Unfortunately, this negatively affects older Americans who are seeking to return to the workforce or transition into new careers," [Rep. Garcia] said in a June press release, adding that more than three-quarters of older American workers "see age discrimination as a barrier to attaining a job," according to a 2020 AARP study.
But House Republicans argued that by banning discrimination, the bill might somehow actually hurt applicants. They also objected to the fact that people might hire attorneys to bring their discrimination cases to court.
When the House Education and Labor Committee reported the bill in September, the Republican members of the committee complained in the minority views accompanying the report, "Committee Democrats are again rushing forward with ill-advised legislation that promotes their pro-trial lawyer agenda and harms job seekers." They dismissed the legislation as "yet another example of a federal mandate that ignores the real-world job market and that will make it harder for Americans to find jobs."
On Thursday, Republicans proposed an amendment that would require a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office "to determine whether not allowing claims of disparate impact discrimination by applicants for employment under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 has a significant negative impact on such applicants, and provides that if the results of the study show there is not a significant negative impact on such applicants, then the Act shall not take effect."
Last year, the House passed a bill that would have expanded job protections for older workers-- though 154 Republicans and a conservative independent opposed it on the grounds that it might mean a "trial-lawyer payday," as Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) argued. Like hundreds of other bills, it died without ever getting a vote in the Senate under then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
After the House vote on the current bill, Garcia tweeted, "Now I call on my Senate colleagues to move quickly and send #POJA to @POTUS's desk. We will get this done and protect older workers from discrimination."