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Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Location: Unknown

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Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Ladies and gentlemen, H.R. 6620 is a commonsense bill that will ensure the continued safety of our Presidents after they leave the White House by extending the ability of the Secret Service to protect former Presidents; and I'm proud to join with the chairman, Mr. Smith, of Judiciary, in support of this bill.

For Presidents who didn't serve prior to 1997, current Federal law provides that the Secret Service's protection terminates 10 years after the President leaves office. The 10-year limitation was enacted in 1994, when the nature of threats to former Presidents was more limited. But times have changed, and it's an unfortunate fact that former Presidents will require Secret Service protection for the rest of their lives. Therefore, this bill would simply restore the law to its prior form.

When a President of the United States completes his term, he remains a symbol of our Nation. Sadly, our Presidents who've worked hard to protect us from those who would harm our Nation may, themselves, continue to be in harm's way even after they complete their terms in office.

Most former Presidents remain prominently in the public eye, continuing to represent our country in significant ways and providing leadership on important issues. We should recognize and encourage their continued service by providing them with the protection they need.

This bill would also expand the Secret Service's authorization to protect the children of former Presidents until they reach 16 years of age. This also makes good sense under the current circumstances.

I want to recognize the Secret Service for their excellent and tireless job that they perform in protecting our national leaders. The men and women of the Secret Service conduct themselves with valor, while carrying out the protective function of their agency. They provide protection for a variety of people and events, including the President and special national security events as well.

The Secret Service has other important functions which also deserve recognition. For example, the investigative role of the Secret Service has expanded greatly, from protecting the

currency against counterfeiting, to investigating a wide variety of crimes related to this country's financial institutions and credit systems.

I, too, join in commending the gentleman from South Carolina, a member of our committee, Trey Gowdy, for his special work on this bill; and I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 6620.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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