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What Every American Should Know About Presidential Succession – As Biden’s Health Declines

What Every American Should Know About Presidential Succession – As Biden’s Health Declines

Do you think you know who would become President if something should happen to Joe Biden? Most assume correctly that the first in line would be Vice President Kamala Harris, but what about after that? With growing concerns about the President’s physical and mental well-being, here is what every American should know about the order of succession.

Poll after poll has shown that voters have reservations about Biden’s age as he seeks another term in office. And the President’s health has also been in the spotlight after a report from special counsel Robert Hur raised allegations about Biden’s mental acuity.

Biden and other high-ranking officials facing age and medical issues, such as Mitch McConnell and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, have raised questions for voters. For example, what happens if a president or a member of his cabinet needs to step down or cannot continue serving the American people?

That’s where the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 comes into play. The Presidential Succession Act states that a sitting president may be replaced if they become incapacitated, die, resign, are unable to hold office or are removed from office. The vice president can then assume the presidency.

If the vice president is also unable to serve, the next person to assume the presidency would be the speaker of the House. Then the order of succession is as follows:

  • President Pro Tempore of the Senate (The vice president is also the President of the Senate, but the president pro tempore is a senator who typically presides over day-to-day business in the upper chamber)
  • Secretary of State 
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Defense
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Secretary of Energy
  • Secretary of Education
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • Secretary of Homeland Security

The same age and citizenship requirements for the Presidency extend to the order of succession. So right now, if Biden could not serve, Vice President Kamala Harris is first in line for the presidency, followed by House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

That extends all the way to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, though he and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm are both naturalized citizens, making them ineligible for the presidency. 

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1 Comment

  1. Tim shore

    Don’t worry about Biden. Frank thinks he’s doing great