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Following Presidents’ Day, Ernst Fights to Cap Presidential Perks, Stop Taxpayer-Funded Presidential Campaigns

WASHINGTON – Following Presidents’ Day, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the Senate’s biggest foe of government waste, is continuing her push to protect taxpayers by ending unnecessary perks for future and former presidents and putting a stop to taxpayer-funded presidential campaigns.


“Just last week, the Congressional Budget Office issued a dire warning about our nation’s financial future as the national debt exceeds $31 trillion,” said Ernst. “Washington can’t afford to pay for the perks of former presidents or fund the campaigns of politicians hoping to someday be president. I’m fighting to cut both.” 


Ernst is renewing her effort to limit taxpayer-funded perks for future former U.S. presidents, including expenses for their travel, personal staff, office space, and communications after they leave office.


The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act would:

  1. Reduce a future former president’s annual monetary allowance dollar-for-dollar by each dollar of income a former president earns in excess of $400,000.
  2. Provide future former presidents with a pension of $200,000 and a monetary allowance of $200,000 a year.
  3. Affirm that nothing in the legislation relates to the funding of the security or protection of a future former president.


Ernst is also reintroducing the Eliminating Leftover Expenses for Campaigns from Taxpayers (ELECT) Act, which would end a federal program – the Presidential Election Campaign Fund – used to fund presidential campaigns. It would then redirect the more than $400 million in the fund to pay down the federal deficit.


Currently, candidates for president may seek public funding provided by federal tax dollars in exchange for agreeing to limit private donations and overall campaign spending. A check-off on individual income tax returns allows taxpayers to direct $3 from their federal tax bills to the program. Over the last fifty years, more than $1 billion in taxpayer money has been doled out from this program, going towards presidential campaigns and political party conventions. It has been nearly twenty years since a candidate receiving these funds was elected president.