Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined the push to cut back former presidents’ federal benefits on Thursday by introducing the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2015.
It would reform the system that provides former presidents with perks and federal taxpayer-funded benefits.
Current law – the Former Presidents Act – gives ex-presidents an annual pension. In fiscal year 2015, taxpayers shelled out more than $2.4 million for perks including travel, office space and personnel, among other expenses.
Ernst’s legislation would set a cap for the annual allowance at $200,000 and would reduce the amount of pension available dollar for dollar for any former president making over $400,000 annually.
“Taxpayers should not be on the hook for subsidizing former presidents’ lives to the tune of millions of dollars,” said Ernst. “Although this is a narrow item, this is an issue of restoring taxpayer trust by looking at reforms in the allowances and perks given to these former presidents who generate significant incomes after leaving office. At a time when we are more than $18 trillion in debt, it is critical that we stop talking and start cutting wasteful spending.”
A co-sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), adds:
As Americans, we are grateful for the service of former presidents and have seen how many of them can go on to lead active and impactful careers once they’ve left office. But taxpayers no longer need to foot the entire bill for all the endeavors presidents undertake after leaving office, which is why I support Joni Ernst’s effort to reform the benefits afforded to former presidents.
Or as Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), another co-sponsor on the bill, puts it: “Last year, Presidents Clinton and Bush collected $2.2 million from taxpayers. I believe the majority of Americans would prefer to keep that money in the treasury.”
There is a companion bill in the House of Representatives that was previously introduced by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
Breitbart News previously reported on this measure and how the Washington Post pointed out, “with so much focus on the Clintons’ income these days, this bill might as well be called the ‘Clinton Cash’ Act.”