Trump impeachment trial: What is the Former Presidents Act?

Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, in his presentation during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Tuesday, made reference to an act that sets apart a former president as someone different from an average American citizen.

Cicilline argued that while Trump may wish to paint himself as a private citizen when it comes to being the subject of an impeachment trial, he is far from it.

As a former president, Cicilline said, Trump is granted certain privileges and perks from the federal government. The perks Trump and other former presidents get, fall under something called the Former Presidents Act.

What is the Former President’s Act? Here is how it works:

In 1958, the Former Presidents Act was passed, providing former presidents certain benefits following their terms.

Those benefits include:

Pension: A pension equal to that of the head of an executive department (currently, that is $219,200 per year. The money is taxable. A first lady may get a lifetime pension of $20,000 as long as they relinquish any other statutory pension.

Transition: For seven months after leaving office, a former president will receive funding for the expenses of physically leaving office, the cost of office space, paying staff, communications services, printing and postage associated with leaving office.

Staff and office: The former president will receive money to run an office after he leaves the White House. Each former president fixes basic salary rates for those he employs. That rate cannot exceed $150,000 for the first 30 months and $96,000 thereafter.

Medical insurance: Former presidents can be treated at military hospitals. This is not free health care coverage. They are charged at rates set by the Office of Management and Budget. A two-term president has the option of buying health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Secret Service protection: Currently, presidents are entitled to protection by the U.S. Secret Service for life.

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