Thursday, the U-S Senate unanimously named Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, to be Senate president pro tempore, a position that has historically been bestowed upon the most senior member of the majority party in the upper chamber of Congress. Upon his swearing in, Grassley became third in the line of presidential succession following the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Grassley has represented Iowa in the U.S. Senate for 38 years and succeeds Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah as Senate president pro tempore. The only other Iowan to hold the office was Sen. Albert B. Cummins, who assumed office in 1919, 100 years before Grassley assumed the role. Cummins served as Senate president pro tempore in the 66th, 67th, 68th and 69th Congresses.
“This is an honor for me and the state of Iowa. Iowans have trusted me to represent them in the Senate for 38 years. This constitutional office is another opportunity to deliver results for the people of Iowa and to defend the institution of the greatest deliberative body on Earth, the United States Senate,” Grassley said. “I may only be three heartbeats away from the Oval Office, but my heart is and always will be in Iowa and here in the U.S. Senate.”