Order of Presidential Succession

Under George W. Bush


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The procedure for filling vacancies in the presidency and vice presidency is outlined by the 20th and 25th amendments to the Constitution. The Presidential Succession Act of 1792 had placed the Senate president pro tempore1 and the Speaker of the House next in the line of succession, but in 1886 Congress replaced them with the cabinet officers. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947, signed by President Harry Truman, changed the order again to what it is today.

Vice President Richard Cheney

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert

President pro tempore of the Senate Robert Byrd

Secretary of StateColin Powell

Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill

Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld

Attorney General John Ashcroft

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton

Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman

Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Melquiades Rafael Martinez

Secretary of Transportation Norman Yoshiro Mineta

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham

Secretary of Education Roderick Paige

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi


NOTE: An official cannot succeed to the Presidency unless that person meets the Constitutional requirements.

1. The president pro tempore presides over the Senate when the vice president is absent. By tradition the position is held by the senior member of the majority party.




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