Skip to content

Ernst continues fight to cut costly presidential perks

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KCRG-TV9) -- U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has re-introduced the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017.

This legislation reforms the outdated system that provides former U.S. Presidents with post-presidency benefits by establishing first-ever limits on the taxpayer support they receive.

Currently, under the Former Presidents Act, former presidents receive a pension as well as a monetary allowance to cover expenses.

The expenses funded by the American taxpayer include travel, staff, communications, and office space.

According to the Congressional Research Service, this post-presidency funding dates back to 1958, when Congress passed the Former Presidents Act in an effort to “maintain the dignity” of former presidents and help cover the costs associated with having held the office of the president.

With former presidents earning millions of dollars through speaking engagements, consulting, book deals, and board memberships, Ernst believes the Former President’s Act needs to be updated to take into account the modern financial standing of former presidents.

Senator Ernst’s legislation would establish a cap on former presidents’ monetary allowances, which are currently unlimited and fund resources like office space, staff salaries, cell phone bills, and more. It would reduce the allowance dollar-for-dollar by each dollar of income a former president earns in excess of $400,000.

The legislation, however, does not impact funding for the security or protection of a former president.

“With the national debt quickly approaching $20 trillion, we cannot afford to generously subsidize the perks of former presidents to the tune of millions of dollars,” Senator Ernst said.

Senator Ernst first introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Presidential Allowance Modernization Act on May 21, 2015.

After passing both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with unanimous support, it was vetoed by President Obama.

Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) will introduce the companion legislation to the Presidential Modernization Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read the full text of the bill here.

Click here to read the article on KCRG-TV's website.