Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) formally became the president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, putting the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee third in line for the presidency.
Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to the 72-year-old senator from the Senate rostrum a day after the death of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who had held the post since 2010. The president pro tempore (known informally as the Senate's president "pro tem") who officially runs the Senate when the vice president isn't present, is the current longest-serving senator of the party that controls the Senate. Leahy joined the body in 1975.
"There is no doubt that Senator Inouye will be greatly missed in these halls," Leahy said in prepared remarks. "He said he wanted to be remembered as having represented his people and all Americans honestly and to the best of his ability. I know he did, we all know he gave his everything to the Senate and his legacy will live on in the work we will continue to do."
David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy, said the senator hasn't reached a decision.