H.R. 3739 reforms the pension and allowance provided to former presidents; thereby reducing unnecessary costs to taxpayers. Specifically, the bill sets an annual pension for each former president at $200,000 (which is a slight reduction under current law), and provides for a means tested $500,000 annual allowance for all other costs (except security) associated with being a former president.
The bill provides that the annual allowance will be reduced by $1 for every dollar a former president earns in earned income in excess of $400,000. This annual allowance replaces amounts currently provided for travel, staff, and office expenses. For eligible former presidents, this allowance will be reduced to $350,000 five years after leaving office and then to $250,000 after ten years. The bill also establishes a $100,000 survivor benefit for the surviving spouse of a former president. Currently, such surviving spouses receive a $20,000 annual pension.
The bill does not affect funding relating to the security or protection of a former president or a family member of a former president.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Nov 13, 2017.
Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Former Presidents Act of 1958 to to revise provisions governing the compensation provided to a former President. Each former President shall receive from the United States an annuity of $200,000 per year. The General Services Administration (GSA) is authorized to provide each former President a monetary allowance of $500,000 per year for five years beginning six months after the expiration of his or her term, $350,000 per year for the next five years, and $250,000 per year thereafter.
Such annuity and allowance shall be increased each year by the same percentage as Social Security benefits.
Such allowance shall be reduced by the amount the former President's earned income exceeds $400,000.
The bill: (1) limits the office staff provided for each former President to not more than 13 individuals, and (2) requires that suitable office space for a former President be provided on a reimbursable basis.
The increases from $20,000 per year to $100,000 per year, and provides for cost-of-living adjustments to, the monetary allowance amount for surviving spouses of former Presidents.