Bush backs bonuses

When it comes to federal employees, President Bush is willing to up the ante for high-performing workers.

The president's proposed budget for fiscal 2005 calls for $300 million for the Human Capital Performance Fund to reward employees for good work. The money is earmarked for "individual or organizational performance and/or other critical agency human capital needs," according to the budget.

Although the fund wasn't given much last year, this time it has "a good story to tell," said Josh Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget. "A typical feature in most businesses is you pay people who perform well," he said. "We need to reward government employees who are working real hard, performing terrifically and deserve that."

Unions representing federal workers say the fund is not big enough.

"For an administration that has talked about pay for performance, they have not put their money where their mouth is," said John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, on the proposed amount. "To fairly reward hundreds of thousands of federal workers, such a fund requires far more money."

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