Congress looks like it’s finally getting rid of one perk for former speakers, but not before a little partisan gamesmanship between Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan.
Under current law, former speakers of the House get funding for office space, equipment, franked mail and “staff support” for a five-year period. Only former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is eligible for this benefit currently, but Ryan – who is retiring after the November elections – would be expected to get it as well. Pelosi would be as well when she leaves.
But in marking up the 2019 legislative branch funding bill, which covers congressional operations, the five-year period for funding was reduced to one year.
However, Pelosi told Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and Ryan in an April 26 letter she wants to cut out these funds entirely. “It is my opinion that funding for the office of former Speaker should be removed altogether,” Pelosi wrote.
Pelosi and Lowey were planning on having a Democrat offer an amendment to do that when the legislative branch funding bill is marked up in the Appropriations panel Tuesday.
But a House GOP aide said that Ryan’s office was actually behind the reduction in funding from five years to one year, and that Ryan is totally fine with eliminating the provision entirely. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) is planning on offering a manager’s amendment that will do that anyway.
“Speaker Ryan is a strong proponent of Mr. Yoder’s manager’s amendment to eliminate all funding for former speaker offices,” said AshLee Strong, Ryan’s spokeswoman.