Obama signs protection bill for former presidents

The measure reverses a 1994 law that would end Secret Service protection 10 years after a president leaves office.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that would grant lifetime Secret Service protection to former presidents and their wives.

The measure Obama signed Thursday applies to presidents elected after Jan. 1, 1997, specifically Obama and former President George W. Bush.

It reverses a 1994 law that ended Secret Service protection 10 years after a president leaves office. Under that law, the Homeland Security secretary could extend such protection on a temporary basis.

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 new law also authorizes Secret Service protection for the children of former presidents until they turn 16.

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The bill is H.R. 6620.

 

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