While Congress has had its share of difficulties in getting important legislation passed, it seems it is making progress in saving money.
The Daily Caller reported that a Senate committee recently approved a bill that would reduce the salaries paid to former presidents two years after former President Barack Obama vetoed similar legislation. This bill would significantly decrease the amount of taxpayer dollars paid to former presidents, who already receive a sizable income from speaking engagements and other endeavors.
The bill would update the Former President’s Act to reduce the amount of money former presidents receive in pensions from the federal government. It would also decrease the amount of money taxpayers contribute to providing other benefits for former presidents.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is one of the sponsors of the legislation. She said, “Our national debt now exceeds $20 trillion; this bipartisan effort is another important step toward reining in Washington’s out-of-control spending.”
She added, “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.”
The members of the committee unanimously approved the language of the bill and it is currently awaiting a vote by the Senate chamber. The House is expected to consider passing a companion bill.
Currently, former presidents receive an annual salary of about $207,000. Taxpayers also pay for their security, staff, and other perks. The proposal would cap the salary at $200,000 per year and reduce many of the other services former presidents receive. According to a Congressional Research Service report, the five former presidents who are currently living cost taxpayers about $2.8 billion.
One of the other provisions in the bill would slowly wean former presidents who earn income from other sources off of taxpayer support. Put simply, every dollar a former president earns above $400,000 from speaking engagements or other types of work, the annuity would decrease by $1.
A similar bill was introduced in the House and Senate previously. It passed both chambers of Congress, but Obama vetoed it. The president’s reasoning is that reducing the amount of taxpayer dollars going to former presidents would leave “no time or mechanism for them to transition to another payroll.” That’s right — former presidents need the taxpayers to provide them with funding because it’s so difficult for them to find other ways to earn money.
A Senate committee recently approved a bill that would reduce the salaries paid to former presidents. Do you agree with this reduction?
While the proposed bill would cut a lot of the funding former presidents receive, it will not apply to security detail — which makes sense. But it will remove a lot of the perks given to former heads of state.
It is believed that if passed, this bill will save taxpayers millions of dollars. The impact on former presidents will be minimal given the fact that they rarely have issues finding other sources of income.
Fortunately, if the bill becomes law, then Congress will have found a way to decrease the amount of money going towards unnecessary causes. Hopefully, our lawmakers will continue to find ways to reduce wasteful spending.