The House passed legislation this week that would restructure the annual pensions and personal allowances paid to former presidents.
The bill, known as the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act (H.R. 1777), was introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).
Under current law, ex-presidents get a pension equal to the pay that the head of an executive department (Executive Level I) would be paid (currently $203,700). This new legislation would set it to $200,000 per year.
The bill also dramatically boosts the pensions paid to spouses of ex-presidents. Currently, they receive a $20,000 per year pension, but this new bill would take it up to $100,000.
On the personal allowance side, 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. However, 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.
According to the language in the bill, both the annuity and allowance paid to the former presidents would be increased by the same percentage as the percentage by which benefit amounts under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 and following) are increased.
According to Chaffetz:
“No former US president today is dependent on taxpayer subsidies alone for his living. Former presidents have shown they can earn millions of dollars through book tours and speaking engagements alone. The time has come to reduce the taxpayer’s heavy burden of supporting former presidents who have proven to be highly capable of supporting themselves. With strong bipartisan and public support, this bill deserves to be considered by the Senate and sent to the President’s desk.”
The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act does not affect funding for the security or protection of former presidents or a family member of a former president.