Chaffetz and Cummings Introduce Bill to Modernize Payments to Former Presidents

Published: Apr 15, 2015

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings introduced the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act [H.R. 1777]. This legislation updates the Former President’s Act of 1958, which governs annual pension payments and allowances for former U.S. Presidents and surviving spouses.

The legislation introduced by Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings would set pensions for former presidents at $200,000 and survivor benefits for spouses would increase to $100,000, adjusted annually to reflect the Social Security cost of living increase. Under the proposed bill, the annual allowance for costs associated with post-presidential life, including travel, staff, and office expenses, would be reduced dollar-for-dollar for every dollar of outside income earned by a former president in excess of $400,000. This would have no impact on funding for security or protection.

Under the 57-year-old law, former U.S. Presidents receive an annual pension equal to pay for cabinet secretaries and spouses receive a survivor benefit of $20,000.

“This simple legislation is designed to end unnecessary government payments to former presidents who earn substantial income from post-presidential work. History shows that former presidents do very well financially after they leave office. In fact, all living former presidents are millionaires, making it very unlikely that they depend upon their tax-payer funded allowances to make ends meet,” said Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings. “This legislation also provides an equitable adjustment to taxpayer funded pensions for former presidents and their surviving spouses.”