Ex-Presidents Cost US $3.7M Last Year
Nancy Reagan waived her $20K pension
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2013 2:52 AM CDT
Former Presidents George HW Bush,,left, Bill Clinton,center, and Jimmy Carter walk to the stage during a dedication ceremony for the Billy Graham Library.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(Newser) – Don't expect this budget item to be chopped any time soon: The government spent $3.7 million on the four living ex-presidents last year, excluding Secret Service costs, according to a Congressional Research Service report. The cash covered pensions, benefits for office staff, and expenses like travel and postage, the AP reports. George W. Bush cost the feds $1.3 million in 2012, while his father received $840,000. Bill Clinton received close to $1 million—including $442,000 for his Harlem office—and Jimmy Carter received half a million.

The $3.7 million is around $200,000 less than was spent last year, NPR notes. Nancy Reagan, the only living presidential widow, waived her $20,000 pension last year but received $14,000 for postage costs. The funding for ex-presidents is only a tiny sliver of the federal budgets, though critics say the Former Presidents Act—created in 1958 to deal with Harry Truman's post-presidency financial problems—should be re-examined now that ex-presidents are raking in huge sums from book deals and speaking tours. GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill last year to limit the payout to $400,000 per ex-president, but it died in committee.

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Showing 3 of 43 comments
Aug 19, 2013 12:00 PM CDT
If I remember correctly, starting with GWB Secret Service protection was to be limited to 10 years after leaving office. It was because there were so many ex-Presidents and spouses living. But there have been times in history when there were no ex-Presidents living. From January 1973 to August 1974 there were no ex-Presidents (LBJ had died at that time). But at that time, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy (Onassis), and Lady Bird Johnson were alive. It comes in cycles. There were several in 1861 and also in 2001.
Mar 27, 2013 9:27 AM CDT
I cannot understand why millionaires need our money to pay for their needs.
Mar 26, 2013 10:11 PM CDT
It's going to cost even more to protect Obama. An atmosphere of racism was promoted by the far right. It made protecting Obama all the more difficult. Don't think that all those Secret Service agents dress in a suit.