Proposed Bill Cuts Ex-Presidents' Expenses

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 01:05 PM

By Martin Gould

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The United States’ four ex-presidents are costing taxpayers nearly $4 million in expenses alone each year, and now moves are underway in Congress to cut the gravy train for former Commanders-in-Chief.

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz is leading a bipartisan bid to limit the amount of cash that goes to presidents once they leave the White House, Yahoo News reports.

"Presidents should get a compensation package. They should get a retirement, and they should get some expenses," Chaffetz told reporter Jonathan Karl.

"But if they're going to go out on the trail, and they're going to give speeches and write books and make money, then there comes a point where you say, OK, the tax payer shouldn't be responsible for also footing the bill for the office expenses, and the telephone and paper, and the personnel to man those offices."

And the expenses are enormous. George W. Bush charged $80,000 in telephone bills alone in 2010; rent for Bill Clinton’s Harlem office totaled $579,000; Jimmy Carter’s postage bill came to $15,000. The total expenses for the four came to a whopping $3,736,000.

“Nobody wants our presidents to be destitute, but the reality is they are making millions and millions of dollars through speeches and books, so this legislation says if you’re going to do that don’t be submitting your receipts,” Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz’ bill would limit presidents to a pension of $200,000 plus $200,000 in expenses but that would only be paid to those who earn less than $400,000 a year. Last year George W. Bush made $15 million and Clinton $10 million in speeches alone.

But the congressman noted there is one shining beacon among former White House occupants. The other person entitled to expenses – former first lady Nancy Reagan – does not claim any.

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