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US congress to put limits on ex-presidents' budgets

Former US presidents and current president Obama Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Serving US President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter

On Friday the US congress voted to place limits on expense accounts allotted to former presidents.

These accounts cover travel, staff and office costs.

The new bill caps spending at $200,000 (£154,381) and reduces it further if the former president has made over $400,000 in a year.

The bill's authors said most ex-presidents did not need support from taxpayers since they make millions in book deals and speaking fees.

"Upon leaving office, most presidents go on to make millions of dollars and are not in need of taxpayer subsidies," said the authors of the bill, Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, in a joint statement.

In 2014 US taxpayers covered $3.5m in expenses for the four living US presidents.

This included $1.3m for George W. Bush and $950,000 for Bill Clinton both of which were mostly for office costs.

Under the new plan, that allowance would be cut by a dollar for every dollar of outside income above $400,000.

The changes do not affect costs for security.

The bill also sets pensions for presidents at $200,000 a year and $100,000 for spouses if they outlive the former president.

The bill cleared a voice vote (where representatives literally say 'yes' or 'no') in the House of Representatives and has been sent to President Obama to sign.

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