Ernst Effort to Cut Former Presidents’ Perks Passes Senate Committee

Legislation receives strong bipartisan support, passing unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 passed unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and now awaits full Senate consideration. This legislation reforms the outdated system that provides former U.S. Presidents with post-presidency benefits by establishing first-ever limits on the taxpayer support they receive.

“Our national debt now exceeds $20 trillion; this bipartisan effort is another important step toward reigning in Washington’s out-of-control spending,” said Senator Ernst. “It is ridiculous to continue asking taxpayers to help foot the bill for former presidents’ perks at a time when they already rake in millions of dollars from book deals, speaking engagements, and more. I look forward to seeing this commonsense legislation considered by the full Senate, and eventually signed into law.”

Currently, under the Former Presidents Act, former presidents receive a generous pension as well as a monetary allowance to cover expenses such as travel, staff, communications, and office space – all funded by taxpayers. Nowadays, with former presidents earning millions of dollars through a myriad of lucrative opportunities, the Former President’s Act should be updated to take into account the modern financial standing of former presidents.

U.S. Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) introduced the companion legislation to the Presidential Modernization Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on September 13, 2017.

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 ultimately vetoed by President Obama.

Read the full text of the bill here.

About Presidential Perks and the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017:

  • According to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service, in fiscal year 2017 alone, former U.S. Presidents cost taxpayers more than $2.8 million in travel, office space, communications, personnel, and other expenses.
  • The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 would:
    • Establish a cap on former presidents’ monetary allowances and would reduce the allowance dollar-for-dollar by each dollar of income a former president earns in excess of $400,000.
    • Set a former president’s pension at $200,000 per year and implement a first-ever cap on the monetary allowance at $500,000, gradually reducing to $250,000 over a period of 10 years.
    • Affirm that nothing in the legislation relates to the funding of the security or protection of a former president.