GOP Congressman Aims To Cap On Presidential Pensions Paid By Taxpayers

Barack Obama’s $400,000 corporate speaking fee proves there should be a limit on the amount of money former presidents receive from taxpayers in the form of pensions, Rep. Jason Chaffetz suggested Wednesday.

According to USA Today, the Utah Republican plans to sponsor legislation capping the annual pensions at $200,000, plus $200,000 for expenses. Ex-presidents earning more than $400,000 from other sources would receive lesser pensions. Chaffetz tweeted USA Today’s headline, “Obama’s $400,000 speech could prompt Congress to go after his pension.” The lawmaker added: “Yes it will.” He was referring to Obama’s scheduled address at a health-care conference, hosted by the Wall Street investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald, in September.

The legislation will be the second attempt by Chaffetz to limit the pensions, which five ex-presidents are receiving. A similar measure passed the House and Senate without opposition last year, but Obama vetoed it. GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, who sponsored a companion bill in the Senate in 2016, reportedly intends to do the same this year.

The Hill pointed out that Obama claimed to be a critic of Wall Street. His administration imposed regulations on big banks and other large companies. Now that he is cashing in, the ex-president’s political opponents are accusing him of hypocrisy. However, Obama spokesman Eric Schultz noted that his boss advocated Wall Street reforms despite having received large campaign contributions from corporate America.

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, recently announced that he will not run for another two-year term next year. According to CNN, he wrote on his Facebook page: “After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018. After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018. For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. … I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”

Source: The Hill
Photo: Flickr/ Don Lavange

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