White House Repeats Calls for Higher Buyouts

The White House has repeated its calls for Congress to increase the buyout maximum to $40,000 government-wide, an issue that could be decided soon as the Senate turns to its version of the annual DoD authorization bill.

The bill (S-1519) as it emerged from the Armed Services Committee does not mention higher buyouts–DoD already can pay up to $40,000 but other agencies are limited to $25,000–and thus effectively would reject an increase, but the bill commonly is rewritten extensively as the full Senate considers it.

In a policy statement, the White House said the administration is “disappointed” that the Senate bill does not provide for a government-wide increase, saying the higher amount would “improve the attractiveness and utility of buyouts as a workforce reshaping tool.” It also again pitched other proposals designed to simplify and streamline certain hiring procedures and to encourage talent exchanges between the government and private sector.

“All federal agencies would greatly benefit from these workforce flexibilities as they seek to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability to the American taxpayer,” the statement said.

The bill as written contains mainly routine extensions of special hiring and benefit authorities mainly applying to civilian positions in danger zones or that are in high-demand occupations.