House passes bill to curb presidential pensions
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The House easily passed legislation on Monday to reduce the pensions and federal benefits provided to former presidents.

Before approving the bill by voice vote, lawmakers expressed agreement that modern-day former presidents don’t need financial assistance from the government if they already earn salaries in the millions.

Under a law established in 1958, former presidents are eligible for an annual six-figure pension, plus funds for staff salaries, office space and other expenses.

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Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse Freedom Caucus roiled by Trump's attacks on Mark Sanford Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel MORE (R-Ga.), the author of the bill, questioned the necessity of providing funds for former presidents who can make millions of dollars from book deals and speaking engagements.

“Because of these opportunities, it’s no longer necessary to provide taxpayer-funded support to former presidents in the same way as envisioned in 1958,” Hice said during House floor debate.

Benefits for former presidents cost taxpayers $2.84 million in fiscal year 2017, according to Hice’s office.

Yet the lucrative opportunities for former presidents and their spouses are well documented. 

For example, former President Clinton — as well as his wife, former first lady Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE — earned an average of $210,795 for each paid speech from the time he left office in 2001 until her 2016 campaign launch, according to a CNN analysis

Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama launches voter registration initiative ahead of midterms: report Dems look for candidate who will punch Trump ‘square in the face’ Queen Elizabeth wore brooch from Obamas on the day Trump arrived in the UK: reports MORE also inked book deals that were reportedly in the tens of millions of dollars. 

The legislation would reduce the presidential pension by about $4,000 to $200,000 per year and cap the budget for each former president’s office and staff expenses to $500,000 annually.

Funds available for presidential office expenses would be reduced for every dollar a former president earns over $400,000. Eventually, the staff and office budgets would be phased down to $350,000 in six years and $250,000 in 10 years.

Former presidents and their families would still receive the same amount of security provided by the government as they do today.

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenate adds members to pro-NATO group Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act Only all-male state Supreme Court set to get female justice MORE (R-Iowa) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The House and Senate sent similar legislation to then-President Obama’s desk in 2016. But Obama vetoed the measure out of concern it would have unintended consequences by forcing out presidential office staffers without a transition period and possibly affecting government operations for former presidents’ security.

Obama wrote in a message to lawmakers that he would sign the bill into law if Congress “returns the bill having appropriately addressed these concerns.” However, lawmakers did not act before Obama left office in January.