NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 10, 2005

Thanks to a generous pension system, life after Congress can be a lot more lucrative: that is the conclusion of a study by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF).

Some 38 former Senators and Representatives from the 108th Congress qualify for taxpayer-funded pensionst. For example:

  • Defeated South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle (D) is eligible for a pension of $121,233 this year, the highest amount among any studied; assuming Daschle lives to the actuarially-projected age of 82.1 years and receives a 4 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) annually, his total lifetime pension amount could reach $5.077 million.
  • Also high on the list was former House Member and presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), with a 2005 pension of $102,330 and a projected lifetime payout of $3.091 million.
  • Three long-serving ex-lawmakers, Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), and Rep. Phil Crane (R-Il.), each qualify for a $114,102 pension in 2005; among these three, however, Breaux would statistically be the likeliest to receive the largest total payment over the course of his life ($4.074 million).

Members of Congress are covered under the two major retirement systems that include most federal employees, but lawmakers enjoy better pension formulas and eligibility rules than rank-and-file workers (participation is voluntary). In addition, congressional pensions are two to three times more generous than those offered to similarly-paid executives in the private sector.

Source: "Congressional Retirees Reap Huge Taxpayer-Funded Pensions," National Taxpayers Union Foundation, January 6, 2005.


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