USA Today: “WASHINGTON — Last year, then-president Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have curbed the pensions of former presidents if they took outside income of $400,000 or more.
So now that former president Barack Obama has decided to accept $400,000 for an upcoming Wall Street speech, the sponsors of that bill say they’ll reintroduce that bill in hopes that President Trump will sign it.
“The Obama hypocrisy on this issue is revealing,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and sponsor of the 2016 bill. “His veto was very self-serving.”
Chaffetz and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the sponsor of the companion Senate bill, say they will re-introduce the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act this month. The bill would cap presidential pensions at $200,000, with another $200,000 for expenses. But those payments would be reduced dollar-for-dollar once their outside income exceeds $400,000.
The issue isn’t a partisan one — or at least, it wasn’t last year. The bill passed both the House and Senate with no opposition, and no veto threat had come from the White House.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 4, 2017
So when Obama’s veto came one Friday night last July — on the last day for him to sign or veto the legislation — it took lawmakers by surprise. It was the 11th of Obama’s 12 vetoes.
At the time, Obama argued that the bill would have “unintended consequences” and “impose onerous and unreasonable burdens” on former presidents by requiring them to immediately lay off staff and find new office space.
Republican leaders did not call up the bill for a veto override, which would have required a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
Democrats say they won’t necessarily oppose changes.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the top Democrat on Chaffetz’s committee, was a co-sponsor of the original bill. “Cummings definitely supports the concept, and if we can work out the technical issues with the bill that arose late in the last Congress, we expect he would strongly support it again,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Hoffman Werner.