WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill granting 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.