Official government portraits may soon become a bit less luxurious. President Donald Trump has signed the Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act, also known as the “Ego” Act, into law. No longer can government officials earmark taxpayer dollars for the creation of their official portraits.
The White House issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the signing of S. 188, “which prohibits the use of Federal funds for the costs of painting portraits of officers and employees of the Federal Government.”
But if Trump is looking to make a dent in the ballooning federal deficit, which Forbes put at $1 trillion and rising last month, the Ego Act is not going to do much. The bill will only save about $500,000 a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In comparison, the government’s discretionary spending totaled $1.2 trillion in 2017.
Republican senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is the man behind the bill, which makes permanent a ban that he had previously included in the 2014 and 2016 federal budgets. Cassidy first introduced the ban in 2013. He was particularly disturbed by the expensive portraits sometimes made for officials who served less than a full term, such as former Department of Commerce secretary John Bryson. After just eight months in office, Bryson used $22,400 in taxpayer money on his official portrait. Read more