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Ernst Legislation to Cut Former Presidential Perks Passes Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), along with Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded Senate passage of the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act, legislation to reform the system for providing former U.S. presidents certain benefits and perks.

“At a time when we are more than $19 trillion in debt, taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for the perks of former presidents to the tune of millions of dollars,” said Senator Ernst. “We have got to cut spending, and subsidizing former president’s expenses—when they don’t even need it—is just downright wasteful. This bipartisan bill reforms and cuts many of the perks given to former presidents to better reflect the realities of today’s post-presidential life.”

"Cutting wasteful spending is a key priority of mine to protect taxpayers and identifying outdated measures in our government should be a top priority for Congress,” said Senator Kirk. "I applaud the passage of this bipartisan bill to reform the allowance of former presidents by setting real restrictions to prevent further misuse of taxpayer funds.

"Times have changed, and it’s become clear that taxpayers no longer need to foot the entire bill for all the endeavors presidents undertake after leaving office,” said Senator Rubio. “We remain grateful for the service of our former presidents, but this reform that Joni Ernst has passed through the Senate makes all the sense in the world.”

Senator Ernst introduced the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act last spring, and it passed with bipartisan support out of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in February. Original co-sponsors of her bill included Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The House companion bill was introduced by Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

About Presidential Perks and the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act:

  • According to the Congressional Research Service, post-presidency funding dates back to 1958 when Congress created the Former Presidents Act designed to “maintain the dignity” of former presidents and provide benefits to help cover costs associated with holding the office of the president.
  • In fiscal year 2015, former U.S. presidents cost taxpayers more than $2.4 million in travel, office space, communications, personnel, and other expenses.
  • The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act would:
    • Set former presidents’ monetary allowance and pension at $200,000 each per year.
    • Place reductions on perks if the former president earns more than $400,000 per year in income.
    • Affirm that nothing in the legislation relates to the funding of the security or protection of a former president.

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