Talk:President pro tempore of the United States Senate

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President pro tempore (other than the United States)[edit]

President pro tempore redirects to this page. I don't think it should, as there are presidents pro tempore in other countries as well (such as the Philippines, to name one). -TheCoffee 05:56, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Make a disambiguation page and check for links that need to be changed, then. john k 17:50, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I notice that the term is capitalized as "President pro tempore," when I am under the impression that GPO style manual and Latin grammar (as well as long-held Senate convention) require that the actual term be capitalized as "President pro Tempore," with the second "p" lower-case, when used as a proper noun (in conjunction with the name of the individual or in reference to a specific individual), and "president pro tempore" - all-lowercase - when used generically. Has the style changed, or is this new capitalization as used on this web page simply a mistake? As the graphic designer for a particular State Senate, we've always deferred to the GPO style manual (and our own "correct" use of the term, going back to 1850), but I'm very surprised to see the Wikipedia page capitalize it in what I think may be the incorrect fashion. I will change it now, but understand if someone with a better grasp of both Latin grammar and the history of the term changes it back. Moehong 18:24, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

  • The correct spelling, according to the U.S. Constitution, is "President pro tempore. It may have latin origins, but Latin rules don't apply-> I would go from the following sources: U.S. Constitution (Ppt), Senator Stevens, the current officer (PPT), and the Senate reference desk (ppt). Heck, they can't be consistent, how can you expect us to do it right? Wikipedia has, historically, been a but unreliable as far as capitalization, so that should explain your surprise at finding a different rule.—Markles 21:21, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Regardless of the way things were concluded regarding appropriate capitalization, it is my thought the term should be presented consistently on the page. Using both possibilities looks sloppy. Reading the Senate article on the office [1] would indicate that the title should be printed without capitalization in general print, though the heading of this article should likely be capitalized. It seems as though this should be the primary authority, since grammar in the Constitution is archaic, and Senator Stevens occupies the position, but isn't necessarily any authority on it. Respectfully, Chuchunezumi 200607142154

The correct spelling of "pro tempore" is without capitalization, except the heading of an article. It is sure and unquestionable. V79benno 200607251308 -- A latin scholar and expert of linguistics.

'As of'[edit]

Is there any good reason 'as of' (at the beginning of the last sentance of the first paragraph) is a wiki link? 'As of' doesn't seem to be that complicated a phrase, and it being a link is clearly not a typo. Tkessler 20:37, Jun 19, 2005 (UTC)

If you follow the link, it points to a project page about the use of "as of..." links. Basically, you try to keep article pages from being date-sensitive; however, when this is unavoidable, you attach a link whose target is as of yyyy, where yyyy is a year. This helps people to keep track of the pages which may expire so that they can keep them up to date. Please see Wikipedia:as of and Wikipedia:Avoid statements that will date quickly for more information about these topics. — DLJessup 03:02, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Counterpart in the House[edit]

The introduction currently contains the sentence:

The President pro tempore's counterpart in the House is the Speaker, who wields considerably more political power.

I don't think that this is an accurate statement. The Speaker is the default chair of the House of Representatives. The default chair of the Senate is the President of the Senate, i.e., the Vice President. The problem here is that there really isn't a counterpart to the President pro tem in the House. Originally, the Speaker pro tempore would have been analagous to the President pro tempore, but ever since the President pro tem became a permanent office, that role has been taken over by Acting Presidents pro tempore.

In any case, I'm going to remove that sentence shortly.

DLJessup 13:37, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Incorporating article on Presidents pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1911-1913[edit]

Should we just incorporate Presidents pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1911-1913 into this article, and "afd" the 1911-13 article? I don't know, really. Just a thought. —Mark Adler (markles) 19:09, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

As the creator of the article, I have to disagree. The list is necessary information, but to big to effectively put on the main page. I think the current system (having the article noticably linked in the History section of President pro tempore of the United States Senate) is effective as a split-off (where content is important, but too great to fit into the main article, like Episode lists from television shows. Staxringold 14:08, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Merge proposed[edit]

Support. (I'm proposing the same for House Speaker & Senate Floor leaders). Most other articles about Congressional officers have their lists included in the articles. I think, just for the sake of consistency, that they should be merged for the Speaker, too. The only reason for keeping them separate that I can imagine is if we had multiples lists like we do for POTUS (for example: by age, by time served, by state, etc). —Mark Adler (markles) 15:48, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Oppose The difference is the list for Senate pro tem is INSANELY long. We really need the seperate article for it to be readable... Staxringold 12:54, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Oppose The list is too long. Behun 03:51, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Feeble old men[edit]

There has been considerable discussion over recent years, especially since the custom of giving the post to the longest-serving member of the majority party, of removing this office from the Presidential succession or moving it further down. In recent years it has been held by very elderly men, such as Robert Byrd and the late Strom Thurmond, who seem unlikey to have been good choices to have served as Acting President, especially in the time of crisis that surely would be ongoing were the President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House were all to have died or become incapacitated relatively simuletaneously. (I'm personally not all that sanguine about the prospects of Acting President Ted Stevens, either.) Failing this, it has been suggested that this custom should be abrogated and replaced with something like the "emeritus" designation. Shouldn't this at least be mentioned somewhere in the article where presidential succession is covered? Rlquall 16:12, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Order of Succession[edit]

In one place in the article, the officer was said to be "fourth" in the line of presidential succession, and in another, the office was said to be "third". I'm inferring that the editor who said "fourth" was considering the President himself to be first.

Since the President does not actually succeed himself, I've changed "fourth" to "third", to make the statements consistent with one another. -- Heath 21:29, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

I see the order was changed again to fourth with no comment. I'm putting it back to third. Even the link to the line of succession page starts with the vice president as 1, and President pro tempore (Ppt) is number 3. This page should be consistent with that page, even if you don't agree on the definition of succession (and should be consistent with itself elsewhere in the article). As it is worded now, "in line of succession to the presidency..." also suggests the line coming afterward. And, most of the search results on google start with VP as number 1. One article shows the Presidential Line of Succession starting with the president, which is a different way to phrase it. So rephrasing might help you get Ppt as number 4, but as it stands, it should be 3. goodeye 15:05, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Illogical statement[edit]

Senator Robert Byrd, the President pro tempore at the time, took the place of Vice President Dick Cheney, who was still under Secret Service and military protection as a precaution against an attempt on President Bush's life.

The final part of this sentence makes no sense. Why would the VP be under protection if the President's life was in danger?

Someone please clarify this. If I did, I'd go with 'as the evil Dr. Cheney was secreted in his headquarters, planning to kill thousands of Iraqis.' So you obviously don't want me doing it...


Please excuse me, but would not Sen. Kennedy become President pro tempore rather Sen. Byrd, since the latter is already President pro tempore emeritus? I would assumed that that position was permanent (for as long the holder was in the Senate). --Anglius 02:34, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

There's no real precedent, because the office of President pro tempore emeritus was only created in 2001 (for Senator Thurmond), and Senator Byrd is the only other one who has held it. The assumption is that the Presidency pro tempore will return to Senator Byrd, who would certainly claim the office, as he is a great afficionado of and stickler for Senate rules procedure and enjoyed the role. Newyorkbrad 02:42, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I thank you, sir. Also out of curiosity, would the Republicans remain in office if one more senator of their party had been elected or re-elected (in the place of a Democrat)?--Anglius 03:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
If one more Republican had been elected, the party division would have been 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. The Constitution provides that the Vice President is the President of the Senate with the power to break ties, and Vice President Cheney is a Republican, so if that had happened, we would have had a divided Congress with the Democrats controlling the House and the Republicans controlling the Senate. Newyorkbrad 03:09, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Sir, I appreciate your information and apologise if I wasted your time.--Anglius 03:13, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Sharing information is why we are here. Newyorkbrad 03:17, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I thank you.--Anglius 03:53, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Continuous office?[edit]

Is the office continuous? or was it vacant (for example), from Noon EST Jan 3, 2007 to Noon EST Jan 4, 2007. If continuous, wouldn't have Stevens had to resign (as PPT), so that Byrd could be sworn in? GoodDay 21:30, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Even in the middle of a session, a resolution electing a new President pro tempore would have the effect of ousting the old one. I need to do some research on whether the President pro tempore holds over into a new Congress. I believe that despite the fact that the Senate, unlike the House, is a "continuing body," the answer is No. I based this on, among other things, the fact that in 1947, when there was a dispute at the outset of the 80th Congress over the seating of reelected Senator Theodore Bilbo, at a time when there was no Vice President in office, sessions were presided over by the Secretary of the Senate rather than the President pro tempore from the preceding Congress. I'll update this and work the information into the article when I can get to the library. Newyorkbrad 21:41, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
The office is a continuous office, held until the Senator who is President pro tempore dies, resigns, is replaced by another Senator, or if his term as Senator expires. Thus, from noon EST 3 January 07 until passage of Senate Resolution 3 (I think) which elected Robert C. Byrd as President pro tempore around 1:00 PM EST on 4 January 07, the President pro tempore was Ted Stevens. Stevens did not have to resign as President pro tempore since the office is held at the pleasure of the Senate. When the Senate elects a new member as President pro tempore, the former PPT just ...stops having that title and the new member becomes PPT.
I have no knowledge over the dispute in the 80th Congress that Newyorkbrad mentioned above, except that the Rules of the Senate provide for the Secretary of the Senate to preside in the absence of a Vice President and pending an election for President pro tempore.
I suppose people might enjoy a source for my information. U.S. Senate>Art & History Home>Officers & Staff>President Pro Tempore which says in pertinent part: "Before 1890, the Senate elected a president pro tempore only for the period when the vice president would be absent. Since 1890, the president pro tempore holds office continuously until the election of another president pro tempore." Also, Rule I of the Standing Rules of the Senate which says, in pertinent part:
"1. In the absence of the Vice President, the Senate shall choose a President pro tempore, who shall hold the office and execute the duties thereof during the pleasure of the Senate and until another is elected or his term of office as a Senator expires.
2. In the absence of the Vice President, and pending the election of a President pro tempore, the Acting President pro tempore or the Secretary of the Senate, or in his absence the Assistant Secretary, shall perform the duties of the Chair."
Hope this helps clear it up. JasonCNJ 00:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
That interpretation seems to be consistent with Congress of the United States#Term, although I still plan to hit the books for a better source when I can. Newyorkbrad 01:08, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
You're going to look for a better source than the standing rules of the Senate? I can't imagine, other than some sort of ruling by the Supreme Court (which I am quite certain does not exist) that a "better" source exists. I'm curious as to what you have in mind? Cheers, JCO312 13:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Clarification: It's not 100% clear to me whether the Rules speak to the situation at the opening of the session as opposed to between sessions. What I have in mind is something like a senator saying on the first day of the new Congress, "we don't need a resolution electing a President pro tempore this year because Senator X is still in office." (Incidentally, although not relevant to this situation, some of the Standing Rules of the Senate are out-of-date and do not necessarily reflect actual current practice.) Newyorkbrad 14:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
There's almost certainly not going to be any such statement (if only because there's no particular reason to say such a thing). The best anecdotal evidence I can think of is the absence of any resolution electing Senator Thurmond President Pro Tempore from the 106th Congressional Record. Such a resolution exists in the 105th Congress, when Senator Thurmond replaced Senator Byrd, and a similar resolution exists in the 107th Congress when Senator Byrd takes back the position. Other than searching the Congressional Record I can't think of a way to demonstrate that (since proving a negative remains quite tough to do). JCO312 14:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I just checked the Congressional Record and found exactly what you did. The Senate doesn't elect a President pro tempore when the sitting President pro tempore continues to serve as a member of the majority party, which confirms your position exactly. With regard to 1947, the incumbent President pro tempore could not preside because he had been reelected in 1946 and had not yet been sworn in as a member of the new Congress, and hence was not deemed capable of presiding (although the Constitution doesn't require the President pro tempore to be a sitting Senator, that has always been the practice). Bottom line, I now agree in full with JCO312. (We won't get into the old debates about whether the Vice President had to leave the room before a President pro tempore could be elected. :) ). Regards, Newyorkbrad 16:46, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

President Sucession Act[edit]

So, had Bush & Cheney died/resigned, during Jan 3-4, 2007. Senator Ted Stevens, would have become President (serving out term 'til January 20th, 2009), as the House Speakership was vacant. GoodDay 18:33, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Kinda. If Bush and Cheney died/resigned between noon on January 3 until about 1:30 PM on January 4th, Senator Stevens, as President pro tempore of the Senate, would have become Acting President of the United States until the expiration of the then-current Presidential term. (Although I suspect he would no longer server if he nominated, and Congress confirmed, a person for the office of Vice President.)—Preceding unsigned comment added by JasonCNJ (talkcontribs)
Acting President? Don't you mean President? GoodDay 21:40, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
No, he means Acting President (see the article). Only the Vice President can assume the Presidency directly. Any other individual would only become Acting President, and could assume the office only by appointing themselves as Vice President, and being confirmed of course. JCO312 21:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
That's not what the 1947 Presidential Succession Act says. GoodDay 22:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Reviewed, an external link of the 1947 Succession Act: Indeed it does state; that ONLY the Vice President can assumes the Presidency upon the death, resignation, removal from office of the President. The other officers, could only be Acting President. Amazing, I though the Succession Act was created to prevent a Presidential vacancy (it doesen't). GoodDay 22:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
An Acting President can't nominate a vice president. The 1947 Act is confusing, furthermore if the Speaker (for example) resigns before assuming (only) the presidential powers & duties, he/she can't assume duties ,as he/she is no longer Speaker. GoodDay 22:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
As we discussed on our talk pages, an Acting President could absolutely nominate a Vice President. The Act gives all of the powers of the presidency to the Acting President, which would, of course, include the power to appoint a Vice President, who would immediately assume the office of President (as ONLY the Vice President can actually succeed to the Presidency). As far as the resignation thing goes, I think you're reading is hyper-technical. The Act requires the person to resign immediately before taking over as Acting President, and as the law itself requires it, it can't reasonably be said to mean that the person would no longer be qualified. JCO312 23:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Recommend, this discussion be moved to Talk: Presidential Succession Act. GoodDay 23:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

How is the President Pro Tempore elected?[edit]

As well, who elects them? --Notmyhandle 05:50, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

The President pro tempore is elected by the membership of the Senate and serves office until his term as Senator expires, he dies or resigns or is expelled, or another Senator is elected as President pro tempore. Traditionally, the longest-serving Senator of the majority party is elected unanimously as President pro tempore. When a new President pro tempore is to be elected, the Majority Leader brings a privleged resolution to the floor (to wit: "Resolved, that N, a Senator from the State of X, be and is hereby elected President pro tempore.") and asks for consent that it be agreed to. (Consent is always granted.) There is no record vote or even, really, a voice vote on it. That answer your question? JasonCNJ 08:01, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Good explanation! Can you provide a source and then copy it to the main article?—Markles 12:57, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Longest serving Senator[edit]

For how long, and since when, has it been the practice to appoint the longest serving Senator from the majority party to the position, and how did this custom come about? Also, how, when, and why did the Vice President stop presiding over daily sessions?

- Matthew238 (talk) 07:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

First question: It started in the early 20th century, and I'm not sure how. Second question: Nixon was the first VP to be given significant responsibilities in the Executive Branch. I've read, though I don't remember the source, that Eisenhower was worried about his own health (having had a couple of heart attacks) and wanted Nixon to be as well-prepared as possible if he had to become President, so he assigned him to attend or chair Executive Branch meetings and perform other duties on Ike's behalf. Once the VP had something else to do, he stopped routinely presiding over the Senate. The same has been true of Nixon's successors. Of course, the VP can still show up whenever he wants to. JTRH (talk) 13:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Mel Martinez[edit]

I realize it would take a long time before this would be an issue but... As a naturalized citizen, is Mel Martinez inelgable to become President pro tempore or would he be simply skipped in the Presidentail line of succsession should he become President pro tempore and a succession emergency arises? Just curious.--Dr who1975 (talk) 15:44, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Nevermind, I got the answer from United States presidential line of succession. He can become President pro tempore but would be skipped in the succession.--Dr who1975 (talk) 15:49, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Citation tag[edit]

Who put the citation tag on the main article in full? What areas did he/she feel were lacking citations or needed verification?


Shouldn't "pro tempore" be in italics? -- LightSpectra (talk) 23:21, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

VP is Ex Officio?[edit]

I removed reference the Vice President being the ex officio President of the Senate. There is nothing ex officio about it. The Constitition states that the the VP is the President of the Senate, so it is an official position. Normally, ex officio, as in members of a congressional committee, is someone who isn't an "official" member of that committee but it allowed to participate. I might be arguing the semantics too much, but the old way just seemed off.DCmacnut<> 17:13, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

You misunderstand the term "ex officio." It does not mean "unofficially," it means that a person hold one office (in this case President of the Senate) because they hold another office (here, Vice President of the United States). The "ex" in this case refers not to "former" or any other connotation of "not", but is a Latin term meaning "coming from." In this case, the VP's position as President of the Senate comes from his primary office. I have restored the link. oknazevad (talk) 15:17, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I know that ex officio means "coming from." However, he is not President of the Senate by virtue of being Vice President.
He is both. I guess I objected mainly to the "serves ex officio as President of the Senate" formulation. He doesn't serve ex officio. He is the President of the Senate and Vice President. "Ex officio" has a specific connotation with respect to congress, since it is so often used for congressional committees where some people are on the committee solely by virtue of other offices. Traditionally, ex officio has not be used to describe the President of the Senate, and the term is not found in the constitutional establishment of that office. There are actually two offices, one for the President of the Senate and one for the Vice President. I know that Dick Cheney has corrupted some of this nuance by claiming he is not part of the executive branch, but as a former Senate employee I know that there is a distinction between Vice President and President of the Senate, even though they are the same person. I believe including the term confuses the issue and it much more simple to state the facts that the VP is the President of the Senate. Reverting to previous verson.DCmacnut<> 16:28, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
However, he is not President of the Senate by virtue of being Vice President.
This statement I must disagree with. The Constitution specifically says that "The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided." In short, he is President of the Senate because he's Vice President. That is the classic, general definition of ex officio: "By virtue of office or position; 'by right of office'. Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another.( emphasis added) A common misconception is that ex officio members of a committee or congress may not vote, but this is not guaranteed by that title."
Any other variant usage of the term in the Senate is specific to that body and only confusing to those who know that usage. Your status as a former Senate employee may have caused such confusion. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to the article, so I'll leave it out, but I think that this should remain here. oknazevad (talk) 17:37, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Ex officio is used in reference to the VP's role as President of the Senate and has been since the debates at the Constitutional Convention.[2] That the usage may differ from other uses of the term in the Senate is irrelevant. That the VP is ex officio the President of the Senate is so obviously the case that dictionaries use it as the example of how to use the term.[3] -Rrius (talk) 01:42, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I guess I'm overruled here, but I still object to the use of the term. Madison may have used ex officio and that term may have been proposed originally during the Constitutional Convention, but the fact remains that ex officio appears no where in the Constitution. My main goal is to make sure the terminology accurately reflects what the Constitution says. See this discussion on how this area of the Constitution was drafted. Ex officio was struck out of the final draft because it was superfluous. While that it may be technically how the office is structured, the fact remains is that ex officio is not a term commonly associated with the President of the Senate's office or one used regularly by the United States Senate itself. As such, I feel it the term is merely excess wordage, and the simplest declaratory sentence per common usage is the best one. However, I'm not going to loose sleep over it or get into an edit war. I'll focus my efforts elsewhere.DCmacnut<> 03:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
It's a bit moot now, but the fact that the language was thought superfluous suggests it is accurate. Our purpose is not to quote the Constitution, but to reflect the truth. The term "ex officio" reflects the arrangement created by the Constitution, so there is nothing wrong with using it. -Rrius (talk) 07:03, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Ted Stevens, Convicted Felon![edit]

I'm not sure the notation that our ex-Pro Tem was a convicted felon is particularly encyclopedic or relevant, especially seeing as how his trial had absolutely nothing to do with his holding or losing the position. You can find out all about that debacle on his page, so I'm removing reference to it from this one. Dextrose (talk) 22:07, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

President pro tempore of the United States Senate Correction[edit]

The following is incorrect and needs to be changed: "The U.S. Constitution states the Vice President of the United States serves ex officio as President of the Senate, and is the highest-ranking official of the Senate even though he only votes in the case of a tie. During the Vice President's absence, the President pro tempore is the highest-ranking official in the Senate and may preside over its sessions." it is leading to believe the Vice President resides over the Senate which is not in the constitution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Assuming you mean "presides" over the senate, that is what it says. "The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate" means he is to preside over the body. As this article states, the vice president actually did preside over daily sessions until the 1960s. In the last 40-some years, we have reached a point where it would seem odd for the vice president to do that, but that is the essence of what the Constitutions says his role is. -Rrius (talk) 18:33, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Date of formation[edit]

The Constitution mentions, but does not absolutely require a PPT. A PPT is to be chosen "in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of the President of the United States". As the this article states, elections were only held in the absence of the VP until the 1890s. Had a VP never been absent from a session of the Senate, one would never have been elected. The office was therefore not truly formed until a PPT was first elected on April 6, 1789. -Rrius (talk) 07:52, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The burden still rests with you to establish it wasn't created until the first holder was elected. As you admit, the Const. and its framers clearly foresaw the need for the officer and provided for it. Thus, once the federal gov't stood under the new Const., the office existed, thought it wasn't filled. You've cut down any legs which you have to stand on with the quote you provided. Anything else you assert is just a weak hypertechnicality. Foofighter20x (talk) 08:00, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, nice try on pulling a fast one by not quoting the entire clause:

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The office was named specifically. I don't get how you can think it didn't exist until if was first filled. Foofighter20x (talk) 08:10, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Since you seem to not believe that the federal gov't took effect on March 4, 1789, I suggest you look at the U.S. Senate's own website: Trust me, dude, I know what I'm talking about. I've studied to be a Const. Scholar and am also a law student. Foofighter20x (talk) 08:14, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

"Studied to be a Const. Scholar"? That doesn't even mean anything. Also, I'm a lawyer, so your being a law student doesn't impress me much.
Since you are the one proposing a change, the burden is actually on you. Nonetheless, I have already set out an argument. You'll note that despite your edit summary saying to see the talk page, I was the one to bring the discussion here despite giving you plenty of time to do so.
I wasn't pulling a fast one. Whole quote or partial, the significant portion is "in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States". As I said, there would have never been a PPT if the VP had never been absent or acting as president. The first time there was ever a need for one, they elected one.
Also, your edit to the body of the article, despite your intent, implies that the Constitution created the government on March 4, 1789. Of the possible interpretations of what you wrote, none is accurate. As you are hopefully aware given the link you provide (which I have already read and which doesn't mention the PPT), the last Congress under the Articles of Confederation set that date.
-Rrius (talk) 08:45, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Again, you've proved nothing except that you have an interpretation which is tenuous and illogical, at best. All offices named in the Constitution existed from the day it took effect, March 4, 1789, regardless if they were filled later or not at all. If they didn't, then please explain why Washington's 2nd Inaugural was March 4, 1793; please explain why the first Congress ended on March 4, 1791; please explain why March 4 was the date for both the transition of Congress and the presidency until the 20th Amend.; please explain why the U.S. Senate's website backs me up in my assertion. No, it couldn't possibly be that I'm right...
Here's the story:
1.) The Const. was proposed, to take effect when the ninth state ratified.
2.) The framers didn't know when (or if) the ninth state would ratify, so they left the detail of when government under the new Const. would commence to the Congress under the Articles of Confederation.
3.) The Congress under the Articles, once the ninth state ratified in 1788, called for elections and set the commencement day as the first Wednesday in March of the year following; March 4, 1789.
4.) When the government commenced, all office so created existed from that day, regardless of the fact they sat vacant (you do realize a brand new gov't was being stood up, yes? that takes a little time).
5.) The elected offices were filled with their first holders on various dates; but one thing was the same for all of them: their last day in office was the March 4 following the sequence of their tenure. For the House and a class of senators, they all ended on March 4, 1791 (two-years from the commencement of their office). Washington, Adams, the 2nd House, and the 2nd class of Senators ended on March 4, 1793 (four-years from the commencement of their office). The third house and the third class of senators ended their terms on March 4, 1795 (six-years from the commencement of their office).
Now, maybe I'm just bad at math, but it's pretty clear that if their two-, four-, and six-year terms ended on March 4, it's more than obvious that they all had to begin on the same date at the beginning of their term. Assertions of any other date are, as I said above, just nit-picking hypertechnicalities.
Also, your being a lawyer doesn't impress me to the same degree my educational background seems to do nothing for you. I'm glad you mention you are a lawyer, since it colors why you disagree: you went to law school. I'm interested in what your undergrad degree is in. Was it in government/political science? Did you focus on the history of American government, with a focus on the constitution itself? If you didn't, then I know your lack of understanding stems from your own infamiliarity with the document, how it came about and was put into effect. Law schools don't teach lawyers that. There focus is not on the history, except where it helps explain what the law was at the time you were in school. These facts I'm trying to put in the article are also so ancillary to what you probably learned in your Const. Law classes that it was never brought up, which makes me wonder if your insistence in disagreeing is merely ad hoc or misguided.
If I come off to you as condescending, well then, sorry. I know what I'm talking about here. After explaining myself and showing you why I'm right, you still don't seem to get it, which is frustrating to no end. I'm not just offering up a plausibility here. Also, the way you're hawking over this article appears to violate WP:OWN. Finally, don't preach to me on my talk page, please. If I'm going to be a lawyer, I'm going to know what I'm talking about and I'm going to be damned confident about it. If that bugs you... oh, well. Besides, the lawyers I know who left the profession left because of their clients. All of this is anecdotal anyway, and pointless. You need to go review the history books, not your legal notes, and you'll come to the same conclusion that the U.S. Senate has. Then, you can go from there. Foofighter20x (talk) 16:23, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
No one is disputing that the federal government came into being on March 4, 1789, so you can stop arguing that. I am also not disputing that the terms of the Washington, Adams, Senators, and Representatives began on March 4, 1789. What I am saying is that there was no such thing as a president pro tempore until April 6. The reason this office is different from the others is that its existence was dependent on a condition: the absence of the vice president. At the time of the founding and for nearly a century afterward, senators believed they could not elect a president pro tempore in the presence of the vice president. There simply was no office until the vice president was absent or the vice presidency was vacant. When the vice president returned, the president pro tempore ceased having that title.
Since you are curious, yes I was a poli sci major, and yes, I concentrated in the Constitution. I have a different understanding the office than you do, and your belief that you just know better is arrogant nonsense. Your inability or unwillingness to respect the fact that others may have good and informed reasons is frankly disappointing. Your continuing allegations of bad faith (e.g., your ridiculous claim of a WP:OWN violation) are offensive. If you cannot have a discussion here without getting into the personal background of other participants and without assuming bad faith, you should rethink participating at Wikipedia. -Rrius (talk) 20:13, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Foofighter20x has provided a source for his claim as to when that office was created. Does Rrius have any sources for his contrary claim? SMP0328. (talk) 19:52, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
No he hasn't. He has cited a source for the undisputed proposition that the government under our current Constitution commenced operation on March 4. It does not at all address the point that the office of president pro tempore only commenced upon the first absence of the vice president. I would refer you to Article I of the Constitution and this document (the latter to establish the date of April 6). Foofighter20x has not and cannot cite a source for the proposition that the office of President pro tempore came into being on March 4. -Rrius (talk) 20:13, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
As a former Senate employee and amateur Senate historian, I tend to side with Rrius on this one, given the historical background in the source provided. While the Senate technically had the authority to elect someone President Pro Temp on March 4, 1789, by virtue of the Constitution, the fact remains that the Senate did not do so until April 6. Moreover, the Senate lacked an official quorum to conduct business until April 6, 1789, and therefore could not conduct any business let alone elect an President Pro Temp prior to that day. Electoral If a quorum had been mustered prior to April 6, it is likely that the president pro temp would have been elected at that time. The Senate uses that April 6, and as it is a reliable source WP should not substitute its own judgement. DCmacnut<> 20:52, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and join the growing chorus of Rrius supporters who can read Article I of the Constitution and determine that the office of PPT is conditional on the absence of the Vice President. Thus it was not "created" on 4 March. Furthermore, the opinion of the Senate that it wasn't authorized to elect a PPT until the VP left is well known (and can be verified if need be). I know it's hard to imagine such a smart law student like Foofighter20x could be incorrect, but facts are facts.JasonCNJ (talk) 21:32, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The argument of most everyone here is again incorrect. Everyone here appears to be confusing the word form for the word filled. You have an office specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Therefore, it was created thereby on the date that document came into effect. It doesn't matter when they first elected someone to physically fill the office. The Constitution created it. Thus it existed, even if it sat vacant. For if it didn't exist, then how can they fill it unless they first create it and subsequently appoint someone to it? The idea that an office need to have someone hold it before it can exist is laughable. Is the Vice Presidency non-existant when vacant? No. It still exists, to be filled. Is a Supreme Court seat non-existent when vacant? No. It still exists, to be filled. Is a House or Senate seat non-existent when vacant? Again, no. They still exist, to be filled. Same for the this Senateoffice. All these offices existed as institutions of government on the day the Constitution came into effect. Don't confuse the institution with the warm body that fills the seat; i.e., don't equate the office and the person who executes it. That appears to be the illogical connection, the non sequitur, that most everyone here is making. Foofighter20x (talk) 23:43, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Another handy link from the U.S. Senate website:

The Constitution provides for a president pro tempore to preside over the Senate in the absence of the vice president. ... The Constitution provides for two officers to preside over the Senate.

If being right means I'm arrogant, then yes, I'm as arrogant as they come. </sarcasm>. Foofighter20x (talk) 00:01, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
No one is confusing "formed" and "filled". No one is suggesting that the office is not mentioned in the Constitution. My argument is that the office was contingent on the absence of a the vice president. It was only on April 6, when the Senate finally convened, that the Senate was in session and the vice president was absent. It is therefore that date when the office was formed. I have described the difference between this office and the other offices multiple times now. Your failure to recognize the distinction does not mean it doesn't exist. You seem to not realize that the office was for a century not the same as it is now. It was a fleeting office until the 1890s, only springing back when the vice president was absent. In other words, when the President of the Senate was presiding over the Senate, there was no President for the time being because the office was not necessary. It is nothing like a vacancy in the vice presidency because there always should be a veep. Under 18th/19th century thinking, there wasn't supposed to be PPT unless the veep was absent. -Rrius (talk) 00:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
"I am also not disputing that the terms of the Washington, Adams, Senators, and Representatives began on March 4, 1789." quote -Rrius (talk) How ever, Washington and Adams could not be 'elected' to the offices of President and Vice-President until the President of the Senate could open the electoral ballots with a quorum from both houses present under Article 2 Section 1 Paragraph 3. Ergo, the office of the Vice-President from the get go (on March 4, 1789) was in effect vacant, or absence (as further selections of PPT during VP vacancies), until the ballots were opened thus requiring them on March 4 to select a President Pro-Tempore to open the electoral college ballots. With no quorum in the Senate, the office of PPT lay vacant until a quorum was available on April 6. The President Pro Tem. was thus required and formed on March 4, 1789 but filled on April 6, 1789. Spshu (talk) 18:22, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Inouye as President pro tempore[edit]

He has not yet been formally elected to this position by the Senate, and this position will remain vacant until that has happened. If it has, please provide a reliable cite. Musashi1600 (talk) 18:48, 28 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:13, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
It was the first thing they did after the prayer and pledge today. -Rrius (talk) 19:16, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I've been updated since someone added references for that in the article. Thank you. Musashi1600 (talk) 19:17, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Presidential Succession[edit]

The President Pro Tempore is the fourth in line to the Presidency of the U.S. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is third. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

The VP is first, the Speaker is second, the PPT is third. The President is not "in the line of succession," because he already has the job. JTRH (talk) 13:41, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Wages error[edit]

" The salary of the President pro tempore for 2006 was $188,500, equal to that of the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of both Houses of Congress. The salary increased to $188,100 in January 2008."

The increase appears to be a decrease. Not sure what the correct figures are so I won't change it myself. Grcaldwell (talk) 23:06, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Purple Leader[edit]

The text in Power and responsibilities references "purple leader" yet the link goes to the colour purple, which is not very descriptive. Perhaps it should be linked to or at least to Dcorrin (talk) 21:33, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Secret Service protection[edit]

Can I assume that the President pro tempore has a 24-hour Secret Service detail similar to the Vice President and Speaker of the House? Should this be noted on the page? (talk) 19:47, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

If you can find a source, then sure. I've found contradictory sources: some say Secret Service, some say Capitol Police. Perhaps it's both. -Rrius (talk) 20:39, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Vacant position[edit]

It is my understanding, according to the legislative votes, that the Senate has not elected anyone into this position yet, since Sen. Inouye passed away. CB...(ö) 22:59, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

The Senate will elect a new PPT when they convene in January, and the position will remain vacant until then. They don't have to go into special session to elect someone. Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont is now the senior Democratic Senator. JTRH (talk) 23:04, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
The Senate was still sitting, and it just now elected Leahy.--Ibagli (Talk) 23:47, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I stand corrected. JTRH (talk) 23:49, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

They swore in Leahy today, per and He was elected last night, per I think the date should be adjusted to reflect his taking office today. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:10, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

So what if they swore him in today? He was elected to the post last night, so that is when he became PPT. It's not even clear that there is a legal requirement for the PPT to take an oath beyond that of a senator. Even where oaths are required, they are generally only required before the office holder can enter into the execution of the office, which is different from holding an office. For example, the president becomes the president at noon on January 20 following his election and a judge becomes a judge at commissioning, not at taking the oaths required for that office. -19:24, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Title (Mr. President)[edit]

I am of the opinion the Mr. President is not his title (as indicated by the info box) at any point but rather that that is the reference to the separate office of the current presiding office of the Senate as opposed to the office of the PPT. I think we should consider removing it. Krimin killr21 (talk) 02:15, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

First, "Senate" is a proper noun, and so should be capitalized. Second, the infobox does not say "Mr. President" is his title. What is says is that it is his "style". Style is a vague concept that can encompass, among other things, titles and forms of address (which is what "Mr. President" is). -Rrius (talk) 02:31, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

114th Session[edit]

Orrin Hatch does not take office until January 6, 2015. Please do not change it until that date. Thanks, Corkythehornetfan (Talk) 04:32, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

How do we number it?[edit]

On Patricky Leahy's page it lists him as the 89th PPT. How do we number them, it separate for each tenure (like President and Speaker) or is it only once and that's your spot (ie John Langdon would be the 1st, and not the 1st and 3rd)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nofix (talkcontribs) 05:53, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

It's the latter. See the table on PPT's per state, and how that adds up. Dhtwiki (talk) 11:30, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

President or Vice-President: Who do they serve under?[edit]

Some of the pages list the PPT as serving under a President (between their date of service and predecessor/successors), and I was wondering: Wouldn't it be more appropriate to list the Vice-President there? The President Pro Tempore is meant to act when the Senate President himself isn't there, or is given the responsibility, technically speaking there isn't really a reason to put the POTUS in their wikibox, or for that matter to put anyone in. Just a thought.--Nofix (talk) 10:12, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

  • I don't know if there's any value at all to having a column listing "served under."—GoldRingChip 15:01, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Some long-serving senator (I think it was Robert Byrd) was asked, "How many presidents did you serve under?" His response was something to the effect that, "I didn't serve under any. I served with nine," the point being that the executive and legislative branches are equal and distinct, and POTUS does not head the legislative. I think this is a problem with Wikipedia's infobox templates - some of them prevent the most accurate terminology from being used or displayed. The most accurate, in this case, would be to list the presidents who served at the same time that Senator X was PPT, without implying a relationship of superior to inferior. (talk) 15:15, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Separate page for the list[edit]

I have moved the list to its own page, which was previously a redirect to this page, and propose that we remove the extensive list from this article into that one. The list as it is takes up the vast majority of this page, and it seems to me would make more sense as a standalone list. This was done on the Speaker of the House page, after a proposal that didn't result in much discussion (though no opposition) but I wanted to offer for discussion first before moving anything here. JCO312 (talk) 15:41, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Fine with me. My only questions would be if the Note in the section below the Emeritus table should be part of the list, rather than the article (and presumably link to the appropriate entries in the table, too). meamemg (talk) 16:20, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
It could probably go in both. We could move it into the history section of the main page and also include it as a note to the list page. JCO312 (talk) 16:40, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Order of succession history[edit]

The article makes this claim: The President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House were removed from the presidential line of succession in 1886. Both were restored to it in 1947… I know what changed in 1947, because the article mentions the Presidential succession act of 1947. But it makes no mention of what changed in 1886. Obviously, the rules of succession changed. Shouldn't there be a mention of what happened? —MiguelMunoz (talk) 07:38, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

I've just made sure of the reference, which gives an explanation, in part that the PPT was removed from the succession in 1886 due to concerns that that senator wasn't likely to have requisite executive experience for the presidency, and restored to the succession in 1947 due to Truman's concerns that the secretary of state wasn't necessarily politically experienced enough. Should some context along those lines be added to the article itself? Dhtwiki (talk) 23:08, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
If you have a reliable source for the context, yes. meamemg (talk) 23:43, 2 May 2017 (UTC)