Chaffetz, Cummings Praise Passage of Presidential Allowance Modernization Act

Published: Jan 11, 2016

WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1777, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act. This bipartisan legislation limits the pensions of former presidents, increases the pensions of surviving spouses, and limits the allowances provided for post-presidential expenditures.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who cosponsored the legislation, released the following statement upon passage:

“This bipartisan bill recognizes the reality that most former presidents are wealthy individuals not in need of subsidies from the American taxpayer. The bill updates an arcane law and reduces unnecessary costs to taxpayers. It ends a needless government handout to former presidents making millions of dollars upon leaving office.”

Background:
In FY 2016, GSA estimates that it will spend approximately $3.2 million for former presidents. Former presidents currently receive the following annual benefits: a pension equal to the pay for the head of an executive department, funds for travel, office space, support staff, and mailing privileges.

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).
• The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act 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.