Sen. Patty Murray to be nominated president pro tempore

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced his intention to nominate Washington Sen. Patty Murray for the position of president pro tempore, a role that not only fills in for the vice president if they are absent, but also is third in the line of succession to the presidency.

“It’s really an honor that that’s what my colleagues have asked me to do,” Murray told KIRO 7. Murray will be the first woman in the role. “I hope it is a strong message to young women across our state and our country that if they work hard and fight for what they believe in, they can achieve great dreams,” Murray said.

According to senate.gov, the Constitution instructs the president pro tempore to preside over the Senate if the vice president is absent.

In Latin, pro tempore means “for the time being” and assuming the vice president would preside over the Senate on regular basis, the president pro tempore would be available for only short periods of time.

“I care deeply about the work we do here in Congress and how that work can help the friends and neighbors I grew up with and the constituents I represent. I look forward to the opportunity to serve our country in this position,” said Murray.

The president pro tempore also consults with Senate leaders when they appoint the director of the Congressional Budget Office, as well as Senate legislative and legal counsel.

They also may administer all oaths required by the Constitution and may sign legislation and fulfill all other obligations, except for casting tie-breaking votes in the Senate.

The Senate is built on seniority, and the current president pro tempore, Vermont’s Patrick Leahy, is retiring after nearly 50 years.

Murray is also in line for Leahy’s position to chair the Appropriations Committee.

“This is such a great opportunity for Washington state. It means I will be chair of the committee that decides all the funding for the country,” Murray said.

Murray said she will prioritize money for salmon recovery, fighting wildfires, new housing and infrastructure, and money for Planned Parenthood.

Next year, Murray will surpass Henry M. Jackson as Washington’s second-longest serving senator, behind only Warren Magnuson, who was in the Senate 37 years.