WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will likely become the first woman to serve as the Senate pro tempore, which would make her third in line for president of the United States.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced his intention to nominate Murray for the position on Nov. 16.
"I'm so honored to be serving in this position in the new year — having an opportunity always to bring Washington state to every single table I'm on, to being a role model for young girls around the country that you can work hard and be a voice for people around you and to really bring Washington state priorities to the Senate every single day," said Murray.
Murray's nomination comes as Democrats retain control of the U.S. Senate following a contentious midterm election cycle where Republicans expected a “red wave.” Republicans narrowly won back the U.S. House with a slim majority.
Looking ahead, Murray said she will work to defend women’s rights in her new position against the Republican-controlled Congress.
“I always look across the aisle to find people that I can work with. I will do the same in the coming years. We have a lot of priorities, childcare continues to be an issue, housing,” said Murray. “There is no doubt in my mind that with a Republican-controlled Congress, they will do everything they can to continue to undermine women's rights. I will be the force on the other side of that in the Senate to stop any action they try to take.”
Murray’s nomination also comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces she will not seek a leadership role in the new Congress, after serving nearly two decades as the leader of House Democrats.
“She's a tremendous leader,” Murray said. “She's been able to bring together the House of Representatives in so many different ways on budgets and all kinds of different challenges over the years and she will be missed.”
The pro tempore is third in line for the presidency, behind the vice president and House speaker.
Murray was elected to serve her sixth term in the U.S. Senate during the 2022 general election after GOP challenger Tiffany Smiley conceded in the race.
As president pro tempore, Murray would preside over the Senate in the absence of the vice president. Additionally, the pro tempore has several other responsibilities, including appointing the director of the Congressional Budget Office, as well as the Senate legislative and legal counsel. President pro tempore also makes appointments to national commissions and advisory boards.
The president pro tempore can also administer oaths required by the Constitution, sign legislation, preside with the Speaker of the House when the houses are in joint sessions or meetings and fulfill other obligations.