WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Former Presidents Amendment Act of 2017, which would reform the federal processes currently in place to provide various taxpayer-funded services for former U.S. presidents.
In 1958, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act (FPA) as a response to the difficulties former presidents faced earning a living after their service had ended. The original Act passed was designed to provide a reasonable pension in order to ensure our past presidents didn’t fall into poverty. Over the years, however, the benefits have continued to grow while the need for them has significantly decreased.
In the modern era, former presidents now have a greater ability to earn a generous living through various means, such as featured speaker engagements and book deals. Despite this, the FPA has grown from simply providing a healthy pension to including a transition fund, health insurance, lifetime Secret Service protection, and additional funds for office space and a personal staff.
While some things, such as lifetime Secret Service protection, still make sense, others do not. Certain benefits, such as providing funding for office space and a personal staff, are not only unnecessary but an abuse of taxpayer dollars, especially considering these funds are often used for political activity.
The Former Presidents Amendment Act of 2017 is a common sense reform bill aimed at scaling back non-essential benefits while still maintaining crucial protections for our former presidents.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The benefits currently allocated to former U.S. presidents are outdated and put an unnecessary financial burden on American taxpayers. The common sense reforms in the Former Presidents Amendment Act would update these benefits to reflect today’s society while still maintaining the necessary levels of protection our past presidents deserve.”