Former President Barack Obama may have reasons to be worried as there's a chance Congress may seek to cut his pension as a result of his decision to accept a $400,000 fee for an upcoming speech to Wall Street executives.
Interestingly, Obama vetoed a bill last year that would have set a cap on the retirement funds of former presidents should they accept large sums of outside income. Such possibility now applies to Obama himself and he should brace himself. Republican sponsors of the bill he vetoed are planning to revive the legislation. The Republican lawmakers are more optimistic that President Trump would sign the bill into law once it reaches his desk.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Republican Jason Chaffetz, sponsor of the 2016 bill, said that "the Obama hypocrisy on the issue is revealing" and that his veto was "very self-serving". Chaffetz, along with Republican senator Jodi Ernst, who sponsored the companion bill in the Senate, has announced they will re-introduce the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act this month.
The bill caps the presidential pensions at $200,000, plus the same for expenses. But those payments would be reduced dollar-for-dollar once their outside income exceeds $400,000. Obama said last year that he was vetoing the bill because it would force former presidents to fire their support staff. He also added that capping the expenses at such amount would cripple the initiatives of several former presidents, forcing them to lay off staff, and cancel office leases. As things stand now, the General Services Administration must provide "suitable office space, appropriately furnished and equipped." The total cost of maintaining and staffing offices ranges anywhere from $430,000 for former president Jimmy Carter to $ 1.1 million for former president George W. Bush.
The 2017 spending bill as approved this week has nearly $3.9 million to fund all the former presidents until the 30th of September. Trump has yet to comment on the plans of Republican lawmakers to reintroduce the bill. He said, though, during the campaign that he would take a close look at pensions for elected officials.