WASHINGTON — Sen. Patty Murray, D-W., on Tuesday became the Senate’s first female president pro tempore, the second-ranking seat in the chamber.

The president pro tempore ranks second below the president of the Senate, the vice president, and presides over the chamber in the absence of the vice president.

Since the middle of the 20th century, the president pro tempore has been the oldest member of the majority party out of tradition.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 89, is the highest-ranking Democrat in the upper house, having served since 1992, but she declined the role of speaker pro tempore after the November midterm elections. Murray, 72, is the next-ranking Democrat, having served in the Senate since 1993.

Murray has been an aide to the Democratic leader in the Senate since 2017.

murray told MSNBC on Tuesday who wants to prioritize child care, invest in families, and improve access to education in the new Congress.

«I’ll be working with my fellow Republicans in the Senate and members of the House, and I hope they also know that their job here, as we all fight and care about things, is to get things done and move things forward, and I hope let that be what comes out of this Congress,» he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., celebrated the defining moment for Murray on Tuesday.

«Making history today: Senator Patty Murray is now the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the first woman in US Senate history to hold this title!» Schumer tweeted.

Murray succeeds Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., 82, who retired from Congress at the end of the year after serving in the Senate since 1975.