WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Jody Hice (R-GA), vice-chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, introduced legislation that limits the pensions of former presidents, updates the pensions of surviving spouses and reduces the allowances provided for post-presidential expenditures by amending the Former Presidents Act of 1958.
The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act streamlines the wide range of benefits provided to former presidents by taking into account the modern-day financial realities faced after leaving office. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
“By identifying outdated measures and prioritizing principles of accountability, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act creates a market-based plan to save taxpayer dollars,” Congressman Hice said. “The lifestyle of the modern post-presidency has dramatically changed in recent years, affording former presidents many lucrative opportunities, including high-dollar speaking engagements, book deals, and board memberships, just to name a few. With Americans looking down the barrel of a $20 trillion debt, we must find ways to reduce wasteful spending, and our former presidents will lead by example in cutting costs under this bill.”
The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 would:
• Set the pension for former presidents at $200,000 per year;
• Limit the cost to the taxpayer for expenses such as office space and leases, furniture and supplies as well as staff salaries to a lump monetary sum of $500,000 per year;
• Reduce the monetary allowance dollar-for-dollar if a former president makes in excess of $400,000 in earned income;
• Gradually phase out the monetary allowance so that it decreases to $350,000 in six years after the bill’s enactment and then to $250,000 in 10 years, where it remains until 30 days after the death of a former president; and
• Maintain the funding for the security and protection of a former president or a family member.
Under the Former Presidents Act of 1958, former presidents currently receive a pension of $205,700 annually as well as taxpayer money for staff salaries, office space, communications, travel, and other expenses. These additional benefits totaled $2.43 million in Fiscal Year 2016 and $2.84 million in Fiscal Year 2017.
In the 114th Congress, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2015 passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate with unanimous support, but was vetoed by President Obama. While the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 makes several modifications to the previous bill, it continues to advance the same principles of accountability and modernization.
The bill will be considered during the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Full Committee Business Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.