President Obama Gave Himself a Raise Forever-Fiction!

President Obama Gave Himself a Raise Forever-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
After President Obama released his last budget proposal, critics argued that he had given himself a pay raise because he asked for an 18% increase in expenditures for former presidents.
The Truth:
President Obama hasn’t proposed giving himself, or any other former president, a pay raise.
First, we’ll take a quick look at how pensions and benefits for former presidents, and then we’ll take a look at specific claims that President Obama gave himself a “massive raise” in his final budget request.
The Former Presidents Act (FPA) of 1958 was established to “maintain the dignity” of the presidency by providing a salary to former presidents, and their widows. Former presidents are given an annual pension equal to pay of cabinet secretaries ($205,000 in 2015), as well as Secret Service protection for life and “transition” assistance to ease the cost of post-presidency life. Additionally, the FPA gives former presidents a budget for “office staff and a suitable office space, appropriately furnished and equipped.”
President Obama requested $3.865 million in his fiscal year 2017 budget request for the General Services Administration (GSA) to support pensions and benefits for former presidents. That was an increase of $588,000 (about 18%) from the previous fiscal year’s budget, which led to claims that Obama had “given himself a massive raise.”
In truth, Obama requested an 18% increase in fiscal year 2017 because there will be another former president to support that year: himself. The president’s budget request doesn’t change the law or give himself a raise, it simply allocates funding to support terms laid out in the Former Presidents Act of 1958, the Congressional Research Office reports:

The President’s FY2017 budget request seeks $3,865,000 in appropriations for expenditures for former Presidents, an increase of $588,000 (17.9%) from the FY2016 appropriation level. The increase in requested appropriations for FY2017 anticipates President Barack Obama’s transition from incumbent to former President. For FY2016, President Obama requested and received appropriations of $3,277,000 for expenditures for former Presidents—an increase of $25,000 from FY2015 appropriated levels.

Just to make sure that the spending increases that Obama requested for former presidents wasn’t out of line, we looked at what increases President George W. Bush requested for fiscal year 2009, when he was transitioning to a former president. As it turns out, Bush’s funding increase was very similar to Obama’s, the Congressional Research Service reports:

The FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act allocated $2,478,000 for pensions and GSA assistance to former Presidents. The President’s FY2009 budget requested $2,934,000 for expenditures for former Presidents. Pending House and Senate appropriations legislation recommends the requested amount.

Bush requested a 15% increase in former presidents spending before he left office, and Obama requested about 18%. But, to be clear, those increases didn’t change the amount either president would received in pensions. The increased funding was to support pensions and benefits laid out in the Former Presidents Act of 1958.
So, reports that President Obama gave himself a huge raise before leaving office are false