[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[April 4, 1995]
[Pages 455-456]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on the Buyout Program for Federal Employees
April 4, 1995

    More than 2 years ago, I promised to fix the Federal Government. I 
was firmly convinced that we could do more with less, that we could 
create a Government that was leaner but not meaner, and that we could 
make Government our partner rather than a problem.
    I established the National Performance Review and put Vice President 
Gore in charge. He and his team have helped to transform Government, to 
cut bureaucracy and redtape, and to find ways to give the American 
people the service they deserve. At the same time, my economic plan is 
bringing down the deficit by more than $600 billion, and we are 
proposing another $81 billion in deficit reduction in the budget I 
recently sent to Congress.
    A major element of my strategy was my commitment to streamline and 
cut the Federal work force. For too long in Washington, we have had too 
many layers of bureaucracy, too many workers whose main job was to check 
on the work of other workers rather than to perform useful

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work themselves. As the National Performance Review noted, we had good 
people trapped in bad systems. I promised to cut the work force, and 
that's what I'm doing. Through our efforts, we have already cut the work 
force by 102,000 positions and we are on track to cut it by a total of 
272,900 positions, bringing it to its smallest size since John Kennedy 
was President.
    While committed to cutting the work force, we want to do it in a 
humane way. We faced the same dilemma that confronted many private 
companies; they needed to downsize but wanted to avoid firing large 
numbers of loyal employees. Many of them have given people an incentive 
to leave by offering ``buyouts.'' We wanted to do the same.
    Early last year, Congress approved my request to allow non-Defense 
agencies to offer buyouts of up to $25,000 a person. The Defense 
Department and a few other agencies already could offer buyouts under 
existing law. Because normal attrition will help us downsize in the 
future, we offered buyouts only until March 31, 1995, which was last 
    Looking back, I can safely say that our buyout program has been a 
huge success. It achieved what we had hoped: to help us cut the work 
force in a fiscally responsible and humane way.
    To reduce the work force by 102,000 positions by the end of fiscal 
1994, we offered about 70,000 buyouts. Several non-DOD agencies have 
offered deferred buyouts that will take place between now and March 
1997. Defense will be using buyouts as it continues to downsize through 
1999. Counting those, we expect to buy out another 84,000 workers 
through 1997 as we reduce the work force by a total of 272,900 
    The buyouts were not offered in a random fashion, however. We 
targeted them to reduce the layers of bureaucracy and micro-management 
that were tying Government in knots. We made sure that departments and 
agencies tied their buyout strategies to their overall plans to 
streamline their bureaucracies. As a result, almost 70 percent of our 
buyouts in the non-Defense agencies have gone to people at higher grade 
levels, such as managers.
    I'm proud that our buyout program was so successful. It shows that 
we can, in fact, create a Government that works better and costs less.