U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was sworn in as Senate President Pro Tempore for the 116th Congress. Grassley was unanimously nominated by the Senate Republican Caucus for a role that is traditionally held by the longest-serving majority member. Grassley has served in the Senate since 1980.

The role mentioned in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution is limited. The President Pro Tempore technically presides over the U.S. Senate when the Vice President, who is the President of the Senate, is not in the chamber but in reality rarely does so. The President Pro Tempore in the third in line of presidential succession after the Vice President and Speaker of the House. 

The only other Iowan to hold the office was U.S. Senator Albert B. Cummins, who was first chosen in 1919, 100 years before Grassley is set to assume the role early next year. Cummins served as Senate 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.”

Watch Vice President Mike Pence give Grassley the oath of office on the Senate floor.

Watch Grassley discuss his new role:

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