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house Bill H.R. 1777

Should Wealthy Former Presidents Have Smaller Pensions?

Argument in favor

Former Presidents earn enough money from giving speeches and writing books, and don't rely on their allowance from the federal government. This bill maintains the payments as a safety net — but saves the money when it isn’t needed.

GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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01/11/2016
Absolutely! Just look at Bill and Hillary Underwood, oops I mean Clinton raking in the cash through the bogus Clinton Foundation. This has to be the greatest money laundering scheme in history. Makes Mr. Ponzi look like a JV team. These folks don't need a pension on the backs of the taxpayers.
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Leo's Opinion
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01/11/2016
Considering the ease with which former Presidents make money on simple appearances, the pension they get is really unnecessary.
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operaman's Opinion
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01/11/2016
Seems fair. This is very similar to lowering Social Security benefits for rich retirees to maintain the Fund.
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Argument opposed

Former Presidents should be richly compensated for their service to the country once they leave office. It may not be their old salary, but these payments represent the nation’s gratitude for the president’s contributions while in office.

Steven's Opinion
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01/13/2016
While this may be an issue that needs attention, I find the timing highly suspicious. Lets discuss a pay cut for ex Presidents as Barack Obama is on his way out the door. I'm sure he'll be financially well off I just don't care for the principle of it after having to endure so much BS while in office. It reads to me as flipping him the bird one last time. It's waited this long, revisit this after the next President takes office.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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01/11/2016
While I hate waste spending, wealth discrimination is never something I'm a fan of, and these people did their part for the country.
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Pastor's Opinion
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01/11/2016
As much as I may not agree with some presidents positions, I must stand on the side of what is ethically and morally right! No one other than the ones in that seat could understand the responsibilities, pressures, and weight that being a President of the greatest Nation deals with! Not even the media gets it! To take it a step further, I believe in many ways we should take care of our seniors in some like manor!
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What is House Bill H.R. 1777?

In 2015 around $2.4 million was set aside for former president allowances — ~$600,000 per president. These taxpayer funded allowances are used to cover costs for offices, staff, supplies, and other services intended to help former Presidents perform duties related to their unofficial public status. This bill would reduce that amount to a maximum of $200,000 per President, indexed to inflation. 

The change would come through changes to the Former Presidents Act to allow each former president to receive a lifetime annual annuity of $200,000 — plus an annual monetary allowance of $200,000 — each adjusted annually for inflation.

The annual allowance would decrease by the amount that a President’s adjusted gross income in a tax year exceeds $400,000. Any former President who holds an appointive or elective position in the federal government that pays more than a nominal amount would be denied the lifetime and annual allowance.

Nothing in this bill would impact the security and protection of a former President or their family members, or the funding to provide that security and protection.

This bill would apply to any former President or the widow of a former President as of the date of enactment.

Impact

Former Presidents, their surviving spouses, their families, and tax payers.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1777

$0.00
The CBO estimates that this bill would reduce spending by $10 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: This legislation was introduced by the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee — Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) — who released a joint statement in a press release detailing their bill:

“This simple legislation is designed to end unnecessary government payments to former presidents who earn substantial income from post-presidential work. History shows that former presidents do very well financially after they leave office. In fact, all living former presidents are millionaires, making it very unlikely that they depend upon their taxpayer funded allowances to make ends meet. This legislation also provides an equitable adjustment to taxpayer funded pensions for former presidents and their surviving spouses.”

Of Note: The Former Presidents Act, which this bill amends, was passed in 1958 because prior to that the federal government offered no pension or retirement benefits to former U.S. Presidents. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first President to leave office and receive a pension, while both Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman began receiving benefits upon the bill’s enactment.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "Photograph of the Four Presidents (Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon) toasting in the Blue Room prior to leaving for Egypt... - NARA - 198522" by Unknown or not provided - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons)

AKA

Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2016

Official Title

To amend the Act of August 25, 1958, commonly known as the "Former Presidents Act of 1958", with respect to the monetary allowance payable to a former President, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Vetoed
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate Passed June 21st, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 11th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedApril 14th, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Absolutely! Just look at Bill and Hillary Underwood, oops I mean Clinton raking in the cash through the bogus Clinton Foundation. This has to be the greatest money laundering scheme in history. Makes Mr. Ponzi look like a JV team. These folks don't need a pension on the backs of the taxpayers.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    While this may be an issue that needs attention, I find the timing highly suspicious. Lets discuss a pay cut for ex Presidents as Barack Obama is on his way out the door. I'm sure he'll be financially well off I just don't care for the principle of it after having to endure so much BS while in office. It reads to me as flipping him the bird one last time. It's waited this long, revisit this after the next President takes office.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Considering the ease with which former Presidents make money on simple appearances, the pension they get is really unnecessary.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    While I hate waste spending, wealth discrimination is never something I'm a fan of, and these people did their part for the country.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    Seems fair. This is very similar to lowering Social Security benefits for rich retirees to maintain the Fund.
    Like (6)
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    Public servant.
    Like (4)
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    As much as I may not agree with some presidents positions, I must stand on the side of what is ethically and morally right! No one other than the ones in that seat could understand the responsibilities, pressures, and weight that being a President of the greatest Nation deals with! Not even the media gets it! To take it a step further, I believe in many ways we should take care of our seniors in some like manor!
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    This will give the tax payers a small break. Every million dollar counts. We are so far in debt, it's a wonder China has not let us drown already since they own most of our debt. And they stole untold millions of public employee identities due to the incompetence of the Obama administration.
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    The Presidency is a difficult position & has lasting, detrimental effects on a person -- it shouldn't matter if s/he was already wealthy before taking office, receiving compensation after their term, etc. However, I expect that a (former) President wants what's best for our democracy & would voluntarily decline a government salary IF it would cause an undue burden on the nation.
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    They'll make enough money after their terms anyway. We don't need to keep increasing taxpayer burdens on something that is a "drop in the bucket" financially to them.
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    It just makes sense. Another good option would be to let any former president apply all or part of their pension directly to national deficit reduction or a rainy day fund if we ever get rid of the deficit.
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    Show me where the Founding Fathers put a provision in the Constitution providing a pension or health care for Presidents & members of Congress.
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    Why do we give pensions to anyone? I have a 401k. That's what public employees should have. They need to understand what it's like out here.
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    Before Truman went broke, ex-presidents didn't have any pension. If their finances are fine, there isn't a reason to continue the program. Remove/reduce the pension, and revisit the issue if ex-presidents run into problems again. We can always change it back.
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    If they are rich they don't need it, it should be put to better use like reducing the debt
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    Government employees should get paid for the work they are doing, not the work they did.
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    I think all politicians should have less pensions. The amount they get is absurd for something that is a civil service to the people. We need to eliminate the incentive for politicians to make a career out of a civil duty.
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    This bill is just silly and accomplishes essentially nothing. I highly doubt this is a financial matter that's really worth time debating or even considering given the myriad of other expenses faced by the federal government.
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    When you talk about cutting welfare and entitlement programs, this should be a priority.
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    One small way to cut back !!
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