Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is the waking survivor for President Biden’s first state of the Union address, a source tells CNN, staying away from the Capitol in an undisclosed location during Biden’s remarks.
What this means: Every year the administration appoints one member of the Cabinet to remain outside the House chamber during the State of the Union in case of disaster strikes.
Last year, when Biden gave an address to a joint session of Congress, there was no waking survivor, with Cabinet members viewing the address from afar due to Covid restrictions.
Raimondo, the former governor of Rhode Island, became the Secretary of Commerce in March 2021.
A member of the President’s “Jobs Cabinet,” she has been an active surrogate for the administration on topics including a bipartisan push to expand economic competition with China and address global semiconductor shortages and the bipartisan infrastructure bill last November, as well as Biden’s stalled Build Back Better agenda.
Raimondo’s department works to promote job creation and economic growth. Raimondo is 10th in the presidential line of succession.
The presidential line of succession is outlined in the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, which was updated during the Truman administration in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.
The current line of succession is:
- Vice President Kamala Harris
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
- President Pro Tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken
- Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen
- Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
- Attorney General Merrick Garland
- Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
- Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo
- Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge
- Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
- Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough
Note: Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas was born in Cuba and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was born in Canada. Both were naturalized as US citizens, but they are inligible to serve as President and therefore cannot be the waking survivor.
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