Bipartisan Presidential Allowance Modernization Bill Heads to President’s Desk

Published: Jul 8, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1777, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act sponsored by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD). The legislation limits the pensions of former presidents, increases the pensions of surviving spouses, and limits the allowances provided for post-presidential expenditures.

Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings released the following statement upon passage:

“We are pleased this important legislation is on its way to the president to finally become law. The bill updates an outdated law and saves taxpayers money. Upon leaving office, most presidents go on to make millions of dollars and are not in need of taxpayer subsidies. This bill reforms government and ends an unnecessary expense on the American people.”

Bill Highlights:
• Amends and modernizes the Former Presidents Act (of 1958) by authorizing a $200,000 annual pension for each former president and a $100,000 annual survivor benefit for each surviving spouse (currently set at $20,000).
• Sets an annual allowance of $200,000 for costs such as travel, staff, and office expenses that are associated with post-presidential life. For those former presidents that earn outside income, the $200,000 annual allowance is reduced dollar-for-dollar for every dollar a former president earns in outside income in excess of $400,000.
• The bill does not affect funding for the security or protection of former presidents or a family member of a former president.

Background:
For FY 2016, the General Services Administration estimates it will spend approximately $3.2 million for former presidents who receive a pension equal to the pay for the head of an executive department, funds for travel, office space, support staff, and mailing privileges. The bill previously passed the House on January 11, 2016. The Senate version of the bill, S. 1411, sponsored by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), passed the Senate on June 22, 2016.