So many researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have refused to leave Washington that the agency now says it can’t afford the full buyouts it had offered them.

The USDA ordered hundreds of workers to relocate to the Kansas City area, about a thousand miles from Washington. Those who didn’t want to go could take early retirement with an incentive payment worth up to $25,000. 

Now the USDA is telling workers the maximum buyout will be only $10,000.  

A spokesperson for the agency said it wanted to “do right” by its employees and offer standard buyouts “to every eligible employee who applied, instead of on a first come first serve basis.” 

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