Former President Ronald Reagan's $2-million speaking tour for a Japanese company prompted introduction Monday of a bill to reduce or eliminate pensions for ex-presidents with high outside earnings.
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) said his proposal in the House would apply an earnings test to presidential pensions along the lines of the limits on outside income now used for recipients of Social Security benefits.
Ex-presidents now receive a $99,500-a-year pension. DeFazio's bill would allow them to earn an additional $99,500, but then reduce the pension in the following year by $1 for every $3 earned above $199,000. At this rate, a former chief executive who earned $400,000 or more in any year would not receive any pension in the next year.
"Presidential pensions were originally granted to spare a former President the indignity of job seeking," DeFazio said. Alluding to Reagan's trip to Japan, he added: "It's unseemly, to say the least, when a former President cashes in on his prestige this way, and doubly so when he continues to receive his full presidential pension."
The bill was sent to the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee for consideration.