The House passed a bill spearheaded by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) that limits a president’s post-office taxpayer-funded perks.
The House passed by voice vote Rep. Jody Hice’s (R-GA) legislation, H.R. 1496, the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2019, Wednesday, sending the bill to the Senate.
The legislation would put limits on taxpayer-funded benefits for former U.S. presidents, which include their travel, personal staff, office space, and communications after they leave office. The bill would put a president’s pension at $200,000 per year.
Rep. Hice said he was “thrilled the House took an important step to reform this outdated pension and ensure responsible use of taxpayer money.”
Thrilled the House took an important step to reform this outdated pension & ensure responsible, measured use of taxpayer money. I look forward to continuing to work with @SenJoniErnst to get this forward-thinking legislation across the finish line.
— Rep. Jody Hice (@CongressmanHice) October 17, 2019
Sen. Ernst, along with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), sponsored the Senate version of the legislation in February.
The Iowa senator noted that former presidents receive generous speaking engagements, and even Netflix deals in the case of former President Barack Obama.
For instance, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton made tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees since Bill left office, while former President Obama made a deal with Netflix in the “high-8” dollar figures, as well as a joint book deal reportedly worth $65 million.
Sen. Ernst said that the American taxpayer should not need to keep funding former presidents’ luxurious lifestyles.
Ernst said in a statement Thursday:
Former presidents rake in millions from speaking engagements, Netflix deals, and other big money windfalls once they leave office; but, believe it or not, taxpayers continue to foot the bills for the unlimited perks they still benefit from, like travel expenses and office space. That’s simply ridiculous. My bipartisan bill would put a stop to these unlimited perks for future presidents, saving taxpayers millions.
The bill moves to the Senate, where it passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in May. Now that the legislation passed through the House, Republicans and Democrats could seize upon the momentum to pass it through the Senate and send it to President Donald Trump’s desk to sign.
Sen. Ernst first sponsored the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act in 2015. The bill passed through both the House and Senate; however, then-President Obama vetoed the bill.
“I’m thrilled we have growing bipartisan and bicameral momentum behind my commonsense legislation, and I’ll continue the push to get it signed into law,” Ernst said.