If Nikki Haley’s competency test was in place, nearly 7% of Congress would have to test
Under Haley’s proposal, Mitch McConnell and Bernie Sanders would have to test, and Mitt Romney would start next year
If Nikki Haley becomes president, some members of Congress would have to start testing their mental competency under her proposal.
During her presidential campaign kickoff speech in South Carolina, the 51-year-old former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor called for politicians over 75 years old to take a mandatory mental competency test.
Her proposal — seen as a veiled swipe at President Joe Biden, 80, and former President Donald Trump, 76 — would also require nearly 7% of Congress to take competency tests.
There are 10 members of the Senate who are 76 or older and 27 members of the House, according to data from Congressional Quarterly.
Lawmakers who would have to take a test under Haley’s proposal include 80-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the oldest member of the Senate at 89 years old. Feinstein announced she won’t seek reelection next year, but fellow 89-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, doesn’t finish his current term until 2029. Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, 75, would have to start testing beginning next year.
A Fox News poll found a 77% majority of registered voters support mental competency tests for politicians older than 75 and 20% are opposed.
Trump said he doesn’t have a problem with competency tests, but he believes all presidential candidates should have to take one, regardless of age.
“ANYBODY running for the Office of President of the United States should agree to take a full & complete Mental Competency Test simultaneously (or before!) with the announcement that he or she is running, & likewise, but to a somewhat lesser extent, agree to a test which would prove that you are physically capable of doing the job,” Trump wrote on his social network last week. “Being an outstanding President requires great mental acuity & physical stamina.”
Sanders called the proposal “absurd,” saying “there are a lot of 40-year-olds out there who are not particularly competent.”
“You look at the individual, I don’t think you make a blanket statement,” he told “Face The Nation.”
Older voters make up a larger percentage of the Republican electorate than they once did. In 2004, 18% of Republicans and Republican leaders were 65 or older, and in 2019, that figure grew to 25%, according to Pew Research Center.
At 25 years old, Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., is the youngest member of the House and the first member of Gen Z in the chamber. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., is the youngest member of the Senate at 35.
The average age of the Senate is 64 and of the House is 57.