WASHINGTON, D.C. — (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced that the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act (H.R. 1496), which updates the 1958 Former Presidents Act, includes language that removes the current law’s treatment of the District of Columbia government as part of the federal government. The bill, which was passed today by the Committee on Oversight and Reform, treats employment of former presidents and the widows of former presidents by the District government in the same manner as employed by any other local or state government. Under current law, former presidents and widows of former presidents are prohibited from collecting pensions during any period in which they work for either the federal or D.C. government. The law has not been updated to recognize D.C. as an independent jurisdiction with a locally elected government, which was established by the Home Rule Act of 1973. The bill makes this home-rule correction.
In 1958, the District had no elected local government. Instead, the D.C. government was run by three presidentially appointed commissioners, all locally raised D.C. funds were deposited in the U.S. Treasury, and the federal government paid the employer contribution of the pensions of D.C. government employees. However, the Former Presidents Act became outdated as to the D.C. government after Congress passed the Home Rule Act and the District was no longer a part of the federal government.
“I am grateful to Representative Jody Hice and Chairman Elijah Cummings for their hard work on this legislation,” Norton said. “The 1958 law was designed to keep a president or his or her widow who worked for the D.C. government from double dipping by collecting both a federal pension and salary from the D.C. government. However, D.C. is an independent jurisdiction that places its locally raised funds in its own accounts, making the double dipping reason for that provision in the law an anachronism. This small but significant change ensures that D.C. is treated just like every other jurisdiction and not as a part of the federal government.”
The Home Rule Act granted D.C. a locally elected government. Under the Home Rule Act, D.C. local funds, consisting of local taxes and fees, are deposited in D.C. government accounts, not the U.S. Treasury. Under the Home Rule Act, former presidents and widows of former presidents would not be double dipping by collecting both a federal pension and a salary from the D.C. government, because they are funded by different governments.