by JENNIFER EPSTEIN
1/10/13 1:19 PM EST
President Obama on Thursday signed a bill granting him -- along with George W. Bush and future ex-presidents -- lifetime Secret Service protection, reversing a 1990s law that limited post-presidency security.
The Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012 restores lifetime protection for presidents and spouses who served after Jan. 1, 1997, and gives the children of former presidents protection until age 16.
The existing law, passed by Congress in 1994, ended protection for former presidents a decade after leaving office. But members of Congress and law enforcement officials had since come to see lifetime protection as more necessary as global threats have grown.
The reason the 1994 law was established was because presidents were living longer. In 1994 there were 5 former presidents alive (Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, and Nixon would die that year, but also he gave up SS protection in '85). The 1860s was the last time this many presidents were alive at once. When lifetime protection was established in 1965, there were only 2 former presidents alive Truman and Ike (Hoover passes away the year before). 2 days after Nixon's 2nd inaugural in 1973, there were no former presidents. Since presidents (and first ladies) were living longer the 1994 law was established. President Bill Clinton would sign the 1994 law and wouldn't be effected as most laws never effect the current office holder (i.e. the passage of the 22nd Amendment, term limits, in 1951 didn't effect Truman whereas Ike was the first to be limited). The 1994 law took effect in 1997, so had Bob Dole won the 1996 election he would've been the first to be limited to 10 years after office SS protection, but George W. Bush became the first effected by this. It was during the Bush administration that returning to the 1965 law was originally brought up. Seeing as how relatively young and healthy Bush 43 is, I would guess something caused the SS suggested to the Congress that a ten year limit wouldn't be prudent. The same probably could be argued for Obama.
in response to Obama not only "granting" himself Secret Service protection for life, another commenter believed he could become president for life. A lot of ignorant speculation all thanks to a misleading titled article thanks to the POLITICO reporter's lame title. Here is my response, aka my comment...
Interestingly a Democratic Congressman has been trying unsuccessfully to repeal the 22nd Amendment since 1997. IF by some chance the States ratified a constitutional amendment to repeal the 22nd amendment before Obama's term ended in 2017 (it's not a quick process, but there are exceptions), he probably wouldn't be allowed to run for a 3rd term until after he'd leave office since most laws (amendments included) always have a stipulation about the current office holder. In this hypothetical scenario, Obama would have to wait a presidential term before running for reelection...so that would be 2020. Another example, if the Democratic congressman was successful back in 1997, Bill Clinton would've been prohibited from running for a 3rd term in 2000 and would have to wait until 2004 (and any presidential election after), whereas Bush 43 (having won the 2000 election) would've been able to run for reelection in 2004 and as many times after as he'd want in this scenario.