How Much Does the U.S. President Get Paid?

By: Kristen Hall-Geisler  | 
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, in the Oval Office. Adam Schultz/White House

Most candidates seeking elected — or appointed — positions in the U.S. government don't go after them for the sole purpose of becoming rich. Compensation for some officials is generous when compared with the average American's salary — $51,480 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the second quarter of 2022, the most recent data available. But the men and women who hold these government offices most likely could earn even more in a private sector job.

So how much do members of the U.S. government get paid? It depends on the office they hold.


What Is the President's Salary?

In September 1999, President Bill Clinton signed legislation that increased the presidential salary to $400,000, effective January 2001. The Constitution prohibits pay raises for sitting presidents. This presidential pay raise was the first since 1969, when the president's salary was raised from $100,000 to $200,000. Adjusted for inflation, $200,000 in 1969 would be about $1.5 million in today's money.

On top of this salary, the president is allotted an expense allowance of $50,000 to assist in costs related to the official duties of the office.


But aside from the salary and that expense account, the U.S. president has a lot of free perks, including free housing and transportation. The president and can travel via Air Force One, Marine One and presidential motorcade. And POTUS and their family live rent free in the White House, which has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, a movie theater, bowling alley, billiards room, tennis court, jogging track and putting greens. Presidents also have use of Camp David, the presidential retreat in Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Maryland.

The vice president also gets a few perks. She lives in Number One Observatory Circle, which has been the official vice presidential residence since 1974. Her salary isn't as much as the president's, but it's not too shabby either. We'll talk about hers — and a few other federal employees' — next.


Salaries of Other Federal Employees

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listens as President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a Women's History Month event, March 15, 2022, in the East Room of the White House. Pelosi is one of the highest paid federal employees. Adam Schultz/White House

While the president rarely gets a raise, members of Congress can receive frequent pay increases. In fact, Congress is required by Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution to determine its own pay. Since 1989, members of Congress receive a cost-of-living pay raise annually unless they vote against it, which they have every year since 2009. Members of Congress last received a pay adjustment in January 2009. At that time, their salary was increased 2.8 percent, to $174,000, where it still remains today.

What about other high-ranking federal officials, like members of the judicial branch? Here's a list of other important federal employees and their current salaries, as reported by the U.S. House of Representatives Press Gallery and the United States Courts.


Executive Branch
  • President: $400,000; $50,000 expense account; $100,000 nontaxable for travel; $19,000 official entertainment account; free housing
  • Retired president: $150,000 pension; plus $150,000 to maintain staff
  • Vice president: $235,100; $10,000 expense account; free housing
  • Cabinet officials (i.e., secretary of defense, attorney general, etc.): $226,300
Legislative Branch
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives: $223,500
  • Senate president pro tempore: $193,400
  • Senate and House majority and minority leaders: $193,400
  • Other senators and representatives: $174,000
Judicial Branch
  • Chief justice of the United States: $286,700
  • Supreme Court associate justices: $274,200
  • Circuit judges: $236,900
  • District judges: $223,400