You're Footing the Bill for These Perks for Former US House Speakers

PHOTO: Outgoing Speaker John Boehner sits in the Speakers chair for the final time as Speaker in the House Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015. PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
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John Boehner may have retired as House speaker, but taxpayers are still expected to shell out hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars, for him to run his post-speaker office.

It's a little known perk for former speakers: a government-funded office for five years that may include up to three aides, with six-figure salaries, postage-free mailing privileges and an office allowance for furnishings.

Two Republican lawmakers have had enough with the practice and are calling for a bill to deauthorize the program immediately.

“I’m confident that when we get this legislation to the floor, every member of Congress will vote with us to eliminate this waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who is leading the charge with fellow Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina.

Former speakers of both parties have taken advantage of the privileges. After leaving the position, Former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office came with a $1.9 million price tag over five years, but could have cost up to $4 million had he used all the available benefits, according to Massie and Jones.

Boehner is taking advantage of the allowance, which was established more than 40 years ago, setting up shop in the Longworth House Office Building, although the space could be located anywhere in the United States.

Boehner can use the office to “facilitate the administration, settlement, and conclusion of matters pertaining to or arising out of” his service in Congress, but not for political purposes, according to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.