Criticism of former President Obama‘s speaking fees is now taking a tangible step toward legislation to cut his pension.
Legislation that would cut allowances of former presidents was vetoed last year by Obama but its sponsors are planning to reintroduce the bill for President Trump to sign, USA Today reported.
Barack Obama’s $400,000 speech could prompt Congress to go after his pension https://t.co/cMMxbQRh6r
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 3, 2017
“The Obama hypocrisy on this issue is revealing,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said. “His veto was very self-serving.”
The Utah Republican and sponsor of the 2016 bill and Sen. Joni Ernst, the sponsor of the companion Senate bill, will re-introduce the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act this month.
The bill caps a former president’s lifetime annual annuity at $200,000, with another $200,000 annually for expenses. But if the former president’s income exceeds $400,000 in a year, that amount would be reduced.
Obama vetoed the original bill last July, stating that it would have “unintended consequences” and “impose onerous and unreasonable burdens” on former presidents with regard to staff and office space.
He has come under fire recently for reportedly accepting $400,000 speaking fees, prompting members of his own party to criticize him. Much of the backlash is due to his acceptance of the September speaking engagement for a Wall Street investment firm after his own attacks on “fat-cat bankers.”
And while former chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, snapped that everyone should mind their own business regarding Obama’s decision, members of Congress are taking action steps.
Chaffetz tweeted out the USA Today report, adding his own “yes it will” comment to the captioned headline.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 4, 2017
According to USA Today:
Under the Former Presidents Act, the nation’s five living former presidents — Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama — get a pension equal to the salary of a current cabinet secretary: $207,800 in 2017. They also get $150,000 to pay staff, and “suitable office space, appropriately furnished and equipped.”
In 2015, the entire benefit package ranged from $430,000 for Carter to $1.1 million for George W. Bush.
With Obama joining the club as of Jan. 20, the 2017 spending bill approved by the House Wednesday contained nearly $3.9 million for all the former presidents through Sept. 30 — a $588,000 annual increase.
Co-sponsor of the original bill and top Democrat on the oversight panel, Rep. Elijah Cummings said he would be open to re-introducing the bill.
“Cummings definitely supports the concept, and if we can work out the technical issues with the bill that arose late in the last Congress, we expect he would strongly support it again,” spokeswoman Jennifer Hoffman Werner told USA Today.
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