Order of Presidential Succession
Under George W. Bush
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.