House lawmakers next week are expected to pass legislation that would cap pensions for former presidents, and also scale back the monetary allowance they're allowed to use to rent an office and keep a staff.
The Former Presidents Act is expected to get a vote early next week. The bill, from Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., would cap the pensions of former presidents at $200,000, just a bit lower than the $205,000 they receive today.
It would also cap office and staff payments at $500,000. That would drop to $350,000 after five years, and drop again to $250,000 five years after that.
That monetary payment would also be lowered by $1 for every dollar a former president earns over $400,000 each year. Hice and other lawmakers believe that former presidents, who increasingly earn millions of dollars through speeches and book sales once they leave office, don't need taxpayer subsidies.
"The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act presents a fair way to reduce taxpayer support to those former presidents who simply do not need such assistance, while modernizing outdated measures," he said when he introduced the bill in September.
Office expenses vary widely among former presidents. For example, former President Jimmy Carter was given $230,000 in expenses outside his pension in fiscal year 2016, while George H.W. Bush received more than $600,000, Bill Clinton received more than $700,000, and George W. Bush received more than $800,000.
Last month, the Senate Homeland Security Committee passed similar legislation offered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
"Our national debt now exceeds $20 trillion; this bipartisan effort is another important step toward reigning in Washington’s out-of-control spending," she said in October. "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."