Washington (CNN) – With the stroke of a pen Thursday, President Barack Obama gave himself and his wife Secret Service protection for the rest of their lives.
The new law, which passed the House and Senate in December, designates that all former U.S. presidents who served after January 1, 1997, along with their spouses, receive protection from the Secret Service for their entire lifetimes – meaning former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are also covered. The law also stipulates that children of presidents receive protection until the age of 16.
Lifetime government-provided security for former presidents was the law of the land until 1997, when Congress passed legislation limiting Secret Service protection to ten years after leaving office.
The 1997 law said any president serving before January 1, 1997 would still receive the lifelong protection. That means with the law signed Thursday, every former president – Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush – along with Obama will continue to receive Secret Service details for the rest of their lives.