Bill Would Limit Presidential Pensions
Ex-presidents will share in the experience of pension caps if the U.S. House of Representatives has its way. The House passed a bill Jan. 11 that would place a limit on pension payments to former presidents, and the Senate now is considering it.
Under the 1958 Former Presidents Act, former presidents are entitled to a pension equal to the annual salary of a cabinet secretary, which in 2015 amounted to $203,700. Former presidents also receive stipends to pay for postage, office space and staff salaries.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is the sponsor of the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act
(H.R. 1777). The measure would:
- allow each former U.S. President a lifetime annual annuity of $200,000 and an annual monetary allowance of $200,000, each adjusted annually for inflation;
- provide for the annual allowance to be reduced by the amount that a president’s adjusted gross income in a taxable year exceeds $400,000;
- deny such annuity and monetary allowances to a former president who holds an appointive or elective position in or under the federal government that pays more than a nominal amount;
- increase from $20,000 to $100,000 the annual annuity of a surviving spouse of a former president, with an annual inflation adjustment; and
- apply to the widows of former presidents.
The bill would not affect providing security or protection services to former presidents or their family members.
The bill was referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Jan. 12. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced S. 1411, a similar measure, on May 21, 2015; the bill did not progress.