Bill Would Cut Pensions for Former U.S. Presidents

February 29, 2012 ( - Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives proposed legislation that would cut federal compensation to former U.S. presidents.

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the lead sponsor of the bill, and Representatives Jason Altmire (D-Pennsylvania) and Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) argue that those individuals are often wealthy and sometimes earn formidable incomes from speaking fees, International Business Times reports. 

The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act would amend the Former President’s Act of 1958, which contains a provision stating that each former president is entitled to an annual annuity of $200,000, as well as a monetary allowance of $200,000.  

The new law would keep that provision on the record, but would cut those payments dollar for dollar for all income earned above $400,000. Therefore, former presidents who earn millions from speaking engagements would not receive compensation from the government, according to the news report.  

Under current law, the widow of each former president is also entitled to $20,000 annual income, although the allowance can be suspended if she remarries before age 60. The new bill would increase that compensation to $100,000.  

The sponsors of legislation estimate the bill could save as much as $3 million in fiscal 2013.  

Before 1958, the U.S. government did not provide a pension or any other retirement benefits to former presidents, according to the Congressional Research Service.