Congressional Republicans have introduced a bill that would reduce the amount of money presidents could make from their federal pension. Currently, the United States taxpayers will pay out $3.9 million to all the living past presidents through September 30th (the last day the federal government is currently funded through due to a recent temporary budget bill).
Presidents are entitled to several hundred thousand dollars for pension payments and staffing reimbursements for the rest of their lives. In 2015 President Carter banked $400,000 in government payments while George W. Bush took home $1.1 million in taxpayer money.
A bill proposed by budget minded Republicans would seek to reduce those numbers somewhat drastically.
According to a recent USA Today article:
Last year, then-president Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have curbed the pensions of former presidents if they took outside income of $400,000 or more.
So now that former president Barack Obama has decided to accept $400,000 for an upcoming Wall Street speech, the sponsors of that bill say they’ll reintroduce that bill in hopes that President Trump will sign it.
“The Obama hypocrisy on this issue is revealing,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and sponsor of the 2016 bill. “His veto was very self-serving.”
Chaffetz and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the sponsor of the companion Senate bill, say they will re-introduce the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act this month. The bill would cap presidential pensions at $200,000, with another $200,000 for expenses. But those payments would be reduced dollar-for-dollar once their outside income exceeds $400,000.
If the bill passes, that would President Obama would have already reached his income cap after giving an upcoming Wall Street speech that he is being compensated $400,000 for.
President Obama also has a book deal in the works worth a purported $65 million and will likely yield substantial royalties for the rest of his life.
President Clinton has also had a prestigious speaking career. Often landing multiple six figure speaking deals per year.
So far, no former presidents have expressed opposition to the law. A spokesman for George H.W. Bush said the following:
“At age 93, he recognizes that any change to the act would have a greater impact on the other former presidents,” said spokesman Jim McGrath. “For the sake of future occupants of the office, he does think some consideration should be given to the public role former presidents play — and we are told that very positive conversations addressing that and other matters have taken place.”