31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

  • The Speaker of the House

If both the president and vice president cannot serve, the next person in line is the speaker of the House of Representatives. This has not always been the procedure.

Soon after the country was founded, a law was passed that made the Senate president pro tempore the next in line after the president and vice president.

The president pro tempore presides over the Senate when the vice president is not there. Later in U.S. history, the secretary of state was third in line. With the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, Congress returned to the original idea of having a congressional leader next in line.

In 1967, the 25th Amendment was ratified. It established procedures for presidential and vice presidential succession.

** As you prepare for U.S. citizenship, Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons will help you study for the civics and English portions of the naturalization interview. There are 100 civics (history and government) questions on the naturalization test. During your naturalization interview, you will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. You must answer correctly six (6) of the 10 questions to pass the civics test.

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