Ernst’s bipartisan, bicameral bill to limit presidential perks moves forward

Joni Ernst

The U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 16 passed its version of the bipartisan, bicameral Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2019, which would end the taxpayer-funded perks that future former presidents benefit from after leaving office, including travel expenses, office space and a personal staff.

The U.S. Senate on Oct. 17 received H.R. 1496 for consideration and will reconcile it with its version, S. 580, introduced in February by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

“I’m thrilled we have growing bipartisan and bicameral momentum behind my common-sense legislation, and I’ll continue the push to get it signed into law,” Sen. Ernst said.

If enacted, the bill would establish a cap on former presidents’ monetary allowances, which are currently unlimited, and would set the pension for a former president at $200,000 per year, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Ernst’s office.

Additionally, the bill would reduce a former president’s annual monetary allowance dollar-for-dollar by each dollar of income a former president earns in excess of $400,000, according to the summary, and would apply to future former presidents; current ex-presidents would continue receiving benefits via the existing system.

“Former presidents rake in millions from speaking engagements, Netflix deals, and other big money windfalls once they leave office; but, believe it or not, taxpayers continue to foot the bills for the unlimited perks they still benefit from,” said Sen. Ernst. “That’s simply ridiculous.”

Sen. Ernst’s bill in May received approval from the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.