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What Is the US Presidential Line of Succession?

What Is the US Presidential Line of Succession?

Who’s next in line?

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The United States presidential line of succession is the order in which officials in the federal government assume the powers and responsibilities of the president of the United States, or in other words, become the president. The current line was established by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. Here's who would be next in line to become president should the need arise.

#1 Vice president

#1 Vice president

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The vice president has the responsibility of succeeding the president upon death or resignation, but they also have the responsibility of presiding over the Senate. The vice president cannot vote in the Senate unless there is a tie, in which case they act as the tiebreaker.

#2 Speaker of the House of Representatives

#2 Speaker of the House of Representatives

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives acts as the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Their duties entail administering the oath of office to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives, giving members permission to speak on the House floor, counting and declaring votes, and signing bills and resolutions that pass in the House.

#3 President pro tempore of the Senate

#3 President pro tempore of the Senate

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The Constitution requires that the Senate elect a president pro tempore to be the presiding officer in the absence of the vice president. They are authorized to preside over the Senate, sign legislation and issue the oath of office to new senators.

#4 Secretary of state

#4 Secretary of state

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The secretary of state is appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate. The secretary of state is the president’s chief foreign affairs adviser. They carry out the president’s foreign affairs policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.

#5 Secretary of the treasury

#5 Secretary of the treasury

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The secretary of the treasury is the head of the Treasury Department, which is responsible for maintaining a strong economy, fostering economic growth and creating job opportunities. The secretary of the treasury is also responsible for combating economic threats and protecting the country’s financial system.

#6 Secretary of defense

#6 Secretary of defense

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The secretary of defense is responsible for the development and planning of policy that concerns military affairs and the national security of the United States.

#7 Attorney general

#7 Attorney general

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The attorney general is essentially the lawyer for the United States, representing the country in legal matters. They also advise and make recommendations to the president concerning the appointment of federal justice positions and other positions within the department.

#8 Secretary of the interior

#8 Secretary of the interior

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The secretary of the interior is responsible for managing public lands and resources thereof. This includes national parks, monuments and wildlife refuges.

#9 Secretary of agriculture

#9 Secretary of agriculture

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This secretary is essentially responsible for providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition and related issues based on public policy.

#10 Secretary of commerce

#10 Secretary of commerce

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The secretary of commerce has the duty of promoting job creation and economic growth by making sure there is fair and reciprocal trade. They also are responsible for representing U.S. businesses within the president’s cabinet and interacting with communities, businesses, universities and other American workers.

#11 Secretary of labor

#11 Secretary of labor

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This secretary oversees the enforcement of laws covering millions of workers and workplaces.

#12 Secretary of health and human services

#12 Secretary of health and human services

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The duties of the secretary of health and human services revolve around human conditions and concerns in the country. They advise the president on matters of health, welfare and income security programs.

#13 Secretary of housing and urban development

#13 Secretary of housing and urban development

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The secretary of housing and urban development advises the president on issues regarding housing. The secretary makes policies, creates rules and makes sure that all offices in the department are serving the same purpose, which is to make programs that address America's housing needs and improve and develop the nation's communities.

#14 Secretary of transportation

#14 Secretary of transportation

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This secretary oversees the creation and formulation of national transportation policy and promotes intermodal transportation. Other responsibilities include negotiation and implementation of international transportation agreements, assuring the fitness of U.S. airlines, and other things to make sure transportation in all forms is safe.

#15 Secretary of energy

#15 Secretary of energy

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The secretary of energy leads an agency that is responsible for maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and reducing the threat of nuclear growth. The secretary also oversees the country’s energy supply.

#16 Secretary of education

#16 Secretary of education

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According to the Department of Education, this secretary is responsible for the overall direction, supervision and coordination of all activities of the department and is the principal adviser to the president on federal policies, programs and activities related to education in the United States.

#17 Secretary of veteran affairs

#17 Secretary of veteran affairs

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The secretary of veteran affairs is the head of the department concerned with the benefits, health care, memorial and cemeteries of veterans across the United States.

#18 Secretary of homeland security

#18 Secretary of homeland security

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The final federal position in the United States presidential line of succession is the secretary of homeland security. This secretary is responsible for counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, border security, port security, maritime security, and administration and enforcement of our immigration laws. They are also responsible for the protection of national leaders, any chemical, biological or nuclear threats against the country and natural disaster response.

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