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                       Office of the Press Secretary 
                         (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
For Immediate Release                                 October 16, 1997 


I have used my line-item veto authority today to cancel a provision of the 1998 Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act that provides an open season for certain Federal employees to switch retirement systems.

This line-item veto will save $854 million over five years by preventing a hastily-conceived, undebated provision from becoming law. In addition, my action will keep agencies from having to reallocate another $1.3 billion in limited discretionary resources to pay higher retirement benefits, rather than spend it on other priorities, such as pay increases, or essential agency needs.

I did not propose this provision in my 1998 budget, it was not the subject of public hearings, and it was not considered by either the House or the Senate. Instead, it was added at the end of the legislative process, in a House-Senate conference committee. I believe that by canceling this provision, I am using my line-item veto authority in an appropriate manner.

I am committed to ensure that the Federal Government can recruit and retain the quality individuals we need to administer Federal programs. I will work with Congress to ensure that our Federal civil servants are compensated fairly for the essential work they do for the American people.