Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) suggested on Wednesday that former President Barack Obama‘s planned $400,000 speech to a Wall Street firm is the driving force behind a coming measure to cap presidential pensions.
Chaffetz is poised to reintroduce a bill later this month that would seek to limit the pensions of ex-presidents to $200,000, with an additional $200,000 in expenses, USA Today reported Wednesday. That pension would be reduced if a president’s outside income exceeds $400,000.
Tweeting the USA Today link and its headline — “Obama’s $400,000 speech could prompt Congress to go after his pension” — Chaffetz added, “Yes it will.”
The Utah Republican sponsored the same measure last year. Obama vetoed that bill, and congressional leaders never attempted to override the veto. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced the companion bill in the Senate. She is also set to reintroduce the measure, according to USA Today.
Obama has drawn fierce criticism in recent weeks over reports that he will speak at investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference in September. That speaking engagement comes with a $400,000 paycheck for the former president.
After taking office in 2009, Obama set out to aggressively regulate Wall Street. The speaking engagement has led some critics to label the former president a hypocrite for being willing to take money from the financial industry that he once claimed to fight.
But Eric Schultz, a spokesman for Obama, said the Wall Street payment would not influence Obama and noted that as president, he pushed through with financial reforms despite having raised money from Wall Street during his campaign.