Story at a glance

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said over the weekend he supports cognitive tests for aging political leaders in the federal government.
  • The 64-year-old physician first elected in 2006 said mental decline is “usually noticeable.”
  • “So anybody in a position of responsibility who may potentially be on that slope, that is of concern,” Cassidy, a gastroenterologist, said. “And I’m saying this as a doctor.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said over the weekend he supports cognitive tests for aging political leaders in the federal government. 

The 64-year-old physician first elected in 2006 told Axios’ Mike Allen in an interview that aired on Sunday that mental decline is “usually noticeable.” 

“So anybody in a position of responsibility who may potentially be on that slope, that is of concern,” Cassidy, a gastroenterologist, said. “And I’m saying this as a doctor.”

Some prominent members of leadership in both major political parties are well into their 70s and early 80s, including 81-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.) and 79-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“I’m told that there have been senators in the past who, at the end of their Senate terms, were senile,” Cassidy added. “I’m told that was true of senators of both parties.”


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Meanwhile, several members of the Supreme Court, who serve lifetime appointments, are also in their 70s and 80s. Justice Stephen Breyer is 83. 

Yet Cassidy said his reasoning transcends personal ambition and ideology, telling Allen that it comes down to one’s ability to serve their constituents. 

“We each have a sacred responsibility to the people of the United States," Cassidy said. "It is not about me. It is about my ability to serve the people."


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Published on Oct 19, 2021