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- The House speaker does not automatically become vice president if the president steps down.
- If Joe Biden were elected president and then stepped down, his vice president, Kamala Harris, would assume the office. She could then nominate Nancy Pelosi to become vice president, or someone else.
- Whoever she nominates would have to face confirmation by the House and Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her fans and her detractors, but now some social media posts are trying to use the California congresswoman to steer voters away from supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.
"Biden steps down, Harris becomes president! Makes Pelosi vice president. Think about that one," a Facebook post says.
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
If both the office of the president and the office of the vice president are vacant, the House speaker is next in line for the presidency, under U.S. law.
But it’s the 25th Amendment to the Constitution that outlines what would happen if Biden stepped down and Harris became president.
Under the amendment, which was ratified after the assasination of President John F. Kennedy, whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the vice president, the president must nominate a vice president. That person must then be confirmed by a majority vote in both the House and Senate.
Gerald R. Ford was the first person chosen to be vice president under the terms of the amendment, according to his biography on the White House’s website.
After Richard Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned in October 1973, Nixon nominated Ford, who was then a Republican congressman from Michigan and House minority leader, to replace him.
When Nixon himself resigned in August 1974, Ford became president and nominated former New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller to be vice president. Rockefeller was confirmed and took the oath of office toward the end of that year.
If Biden were elected president and then stepped down, Harris would assume the office, and she could nominate Pelosi to become vice president, or someone else. Whoever she nominates would have to be confirmed by both houses of Congress..
We rate this Facebook post False.
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Facebook post, Aug. 15, 2020
3 U.S. Code § 19. Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act, visited Sept. 15, 2020
The 25th Amendment, visited Sept. 15, 2020
The White House, Gerald R. Ford, visited Sept. 15, 2020
Cornell Law School, Presidential Vacancy, and disability 25th amendment, visited Sept. 15, 2020
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