President pro tempore of the United States Senate

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President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate
President Pro Tempore US Senate Seal.svg
Leahy2009.jpg
Incumbent
Patrick Leahy

since December 17, 2012
Style The Honorable
(Diplomatic)
Mr. President
(When presiding over the Senate)
Appointer Elected by the U.S. Senate
Inaugural holder John Langdon
April 6, 1789
Formation U.S. Constitution
March 4, 1789
Succession Third

The President pro tempore (/ˌpr ˈtɛmpər/ or /ˌpr ˈtɛmpər/),[1] or president pro tem, of the United States Senate is the longest serving Senator from a major political party in the United States Senate. According to the Constitution, this is the fourth highest office in the United States. It is the third in the presidential line of succession (behind the Vice President and the Speaker of the House).

Officially the Vice President is person in charge of the Senate, but he is not a Senator. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the President pro tempore. When the Vice President cannot be in charge, the President pro tempore is in charge of the Senate. Many people still think of the President pro tempore as de facto president of the Senate. Benjamin Wade was only one vote into becoming the President of the United States due to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. No president pro tempore has taken over the presidency as of 2014.

Probably the most famous Presidents pro tempore were John Langdon (first in this office), David Rice Atchison (D-MO), Benjamin Wade (R-OH), Arthur Vandenberg (R-MI), Carl Hayden (D-AZ) Richard Russell, Jr. (D-GA), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

When Senator Hubert Humphrey, a former Vice President of the United States, was seriously ill the Senate showed its respect for him by creating the office of Deputy President Pro tempore for any former President or Vice President who is elected to the Senate. No Vice-President since Humphrey has done this.

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