Obama reinstates lifetime Secret Service protection for US presidents


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk with former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush in the Cross Hall towards the East Room of the White House, May 31, 2012. The President and First Lady hosted a ceremony to unveil the Bushes' official portraits, which will be displayed in the White House.


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that reinstates lifetime Secret Service protection for US presidents and their wives, USA Today reported.

That means he and former President George W. Bush are now entitled to a benefit Congress had previously abolished to cut costs, ABC News reported.

In 1994, Congress voted to stop paying for Secret Service protection 10 years after a president left office, USA Today said. The reduced protection applied to presidents first elected after Jan. 1, 1997.

New risks convinced Congress to bring it back, the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP:

A sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, says increased terrorist threats and the greater mobility and youth of former presidents made the change necessary.

The reinstated law also provides children of former Presidents with Secret Service protection until age 16, the AP said.

Some former White House inhabitants have declined to be shadowed by Secret Service for the rest of their lives, according to ABC News. Barbara Bush, wife to President George Herbert Walker Bush, let her Secret Service agents go when her husband left office and they moved back to Texas.

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