A new bill seeks to cap taxpayer-funded pensions for former presidents at $200,000

By Tierney McAfee
Updated May 20, 2015 05:40 PM
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Finally, something Democrats and Republicans agree on.

Lawmakers from both parties unanimously passed a new bill in the House Oversight committee Tuesday that would cut some taxpayer funds to former presidents, The Washington Post reports.

The legislation, introduced by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, would cap ex-presidents’ pensions at $200,000 and reduce their annual allowance dollar-for-dollar for any outside income earned above $400,000.

That means Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and other former presidents who have earned millions in speaking fees over the years would be looking at a considerable cut in their taxpayer-funded allowances for travel, staff and office expenses.

The vote comes amid heavy scrutiny over the personal wealth of the Clintons, who, according to financial disclosure reports they filed last week, have earned more than $25 million in speaking fees since the beginning of 2014.

That’s on top of the $950,000 taxpayer-funded pension former President Clinton received in 2014. (Bush got a $1.3 million pension last year, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.)

“This simple legislation is designed to end unnecessary government payments to former presidents who earn substantial income from post-presidential work,” Chaffetz and Cummings wrote in a press release. “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.”

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“This legislation also provides an equitable adjustment to taxpayer-funded pensions for former presidents and their surviving spouses,” they added.