Republican Congressman Tries to Rein In Ex-Presidents' Perks04:44
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U.S. taxpayers spent $3.7 million on the expenses of our four surviving former presidents this fiscal year. That does not include the cost of Secret Service protection. It does include an $85,000 phone bill for George W. Bush, $440,000 dollars in rent for Bill Clinton, and $15,000 dollars in postage for Jimmy Carter.

The hefty bills are a change for taxpayers since they first started footing the bill for ex-presidents in 1958. Historian David McCullough writes that when Harry Truman left office in 1953, "He had no income or support of any kind from the federal government other than his army pension of $112 a month."

In addition to having the government pay some bills, being a former president today can be down right lucrative. ABC News reports that Clinton brought in more than $10 million last year in speaking fees, while George W. Bush made $15 million from speeches. Meanwhile, for the same year, taxpayers funded $1.1 million in expenses for Clinton, and $1.3 million for George W. Bush.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah has sponsored a bill that would cut off those taxpayer dollars to any ex-president who makes more than $400,000 a year. One Democrat and six Republicans have signed on to co-sponsor the legislation.

Guest:

  • Jason Chaffetz, Republican congressman of Utah

This segment aired on May 24, 2012.

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