17 People in Line for the Presidency

A postmarked picture of Harry Truman
President Harry Truman signed into act the presidential succession act of 1947 manley099 / Getty Images

It's common knowledge that if the president of the United States dies or is removed from office, the vice president takes over. But what happens if the V.P. is unavailable?

President Harry Truman signed into law the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, placing the Speaker of the House second in line for the presidency and creating the following order of successors to the White House.


Here is our list of 17 people in line for the presidency:

1. Vice President

1. Vice President

2. Speaker of the House of Representatives


3. President Pro Tempore of the Senate

4. Secretary of State

5. Secretary of the Treasury

6. Secretary of Defense

7. Attorney General

8. Secretary of the Interior

9. Secretary of Agriculture

10. Secretary of Commerce

11. Secretary of Labor

12. Secretary of Health and Human Services

13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

14. Secretary of Transportation

15. Secretary of Energy

16. Secretary of Education

17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs



Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen