Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is now third in the line of presidential succession.
Leahy, 72, became the Senate's President Pro Tem Monday night, putting him behind the vice president and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in the line of succession.
President Pro Tem Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, died Monday, and within hours, the Senate passed a resolution appointing Leahy, the senior member of the Senate's majority party.
The new job comes with few responsibilities. He's supposed to preside over the Senate in the absence of the vice president, but that chore is usually given to less senior members.
Leahy, though, could get a more powerful position: Succeeding Inouye as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which votes on spending. Inouye had chaired the panel and Leahy is next in line.