It looks like future presidents who are expecting the government to reimburse their living expenses will find themselves having to pay their own bills.
Congress is cracking down on the lavish lifestyles of former-presidents, having just approved a bill that would reduce taxpayer funding for the former heads of state. Although it was a problem that persisted before now, legislators never saw the need for the bill until after the Obama administration, according to The Washington Examiner.
The House approved a bill Monday that would reduce taxpayer funding of former-presidents. Authored by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), the legislation is similar to a previous bill passed in 2016. That bill was vetoed by former-President Barack Obama.
“The lifestyle available to former presidents in this day and age is filled with high-paying opportunities, such as top-dollar speaking engagements, book deals, and board memberships,” Mr. Hice said. “Despite the millions of dollars offered by these lucrative deals, American taxpayers continue to foot the bill for yearly pensions, staff salaries, and office space. Given that our federal deficit is more than $20 trillion, it is imperative that our past presidents lead by example in cutting costs and prioritizing accountability as we strive toward a balanced budget.”
The bill would cap the annual expenses for offices, leases, furniture and staff salaries for former-presidents to $500,000 annually. It would also cap pensions at $200,000. Finally, the bill will also reduce monetary allowances if a former-president earns more than $400,000 per year.
This legislative push comes in light of recent findings that ex-presidents are becoming exceedingly wealthy, and not because of the taxpayer funding they receive. Former-President Bill Clinton earned $104.9 million for 542 speeches between 2001 and 2013, as reported by The Washington Post.
As for former-President Obama and his wife, they have already earned over $65 million in advance money for books that each is writing.
These ex-president funding cuts will be implemented over time, reducing it to $350,000 in six years and eventually down to $250,000 in ten. Under the Former Presidents Act of 1958, ex-presidents receive a pension just over $200,000 along with unlimited taxpayer money for staff salaries, office space, communications, travel, and other costs.
According to Rep. Hice, these benefits cost American taxpayers millions of dollars every year, costing $2.84 million in the fiscal year of 2017 alone.
The representative tweeted that “my bill, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act, sailed through the House last night, which limits expense accounts for our past presidents to lead by example in cutting costs and prioritizing accountability as we strive toward a balanced budget.”
Rep. Hice’s efforts have been met with approval from the GOP, including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who re-introduced the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 alongside Rep. Hice back in September. “The reality is that post-presidential life already provides fruitful opportunities on its own, with former presidents raking in tens of millions of dollars from book deals, speaking engagements, and more,” said Ms. Ernst, according to The Hill.
American taxpayers will appreciate this new legislation, as ex-presidents who earn millions in speaking engagements and book deals don’t need the average American to subsidize their living expenses.