Joe Biden transfers power to Kamala Harris ahead of hospital visit

19 November 2021, 15:30

Joe Biden is undergoing a "routine" colonoscopy
Joe Biden is undergoing a "routine" colonoscopy. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Joe Biden is set to transfer power to Kamala Harris as he undergoes a colonoscopy at hospital.

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The procedure, described as "routine", will see the president receive anaesthesia for a "brief period of time", the White House said.

It will see the vice president, Ms Harris, take charge for a short period of time.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said: "As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, and following the process set out in the Constitution, President Biden will transfer power to the Vice President for the brief period of time when he is under anaesthesia.

"The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time."

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It comes at a challenging time for the president, who has seen his approval ratings slide.

FiveThirtyEight, which aggregates polling, has him on 42.5% approval, down from 53% in January.

Inflation worries and the handling of the disaster in Afghanistan, which saw the Taliban seize power in a matter of months after the US lost thousands of soldiers and spent years fighting a counterinsurgency campaign against the militants.

In recent governor elections, Virginia flipped from Mr Biden's Democrats to the Republicans, a year after Mr Biden won the state in his presidential contest with Donald Trump.

However, he scored a big win on Friday, with his 1.75 trillion dollar plan to "Build Back Better" from coronavirus passing in the House of Representatives – though he will now need to get it through the Senate.