Obama Slashes Federal ‘Swag’ Funding

Nov 9, 2011 1:27pm

President Obama this morning signed an executive order intended to cut waste and make government more efficient by slashing funding for federal “swag,” the clothing, mugs, plaques and other “unnecessary promotional items” that agencies purchase with taxpayer money.

 ”From the day I took office, one of the commitments that I made to the American people was that we would do a better job here in Washington in rooting out wasteful spending,” Obama said in an Oval Office signing. “At a time when families have had to cut back, have had to make some tough decisions about getting rid of things that they don’t need, in order to make the investments that they do, we thought that it was entirely appropriate for our governments and our agencies to try to root out waste, large and small, in a systematic way.”

The order, which is part of the president’s ongoing “we can’t wait” executive action campaign, also cuts funding for federal travel, government-issued cellphones and excessive document printing. “It indicates once again that there are things that we can do right now that will actually deliver better government more efficiently, more consumer-friendly for less money,” Obama said.

The White House claims that spending in the areas covered by the executive order will shrink by 20 percent, or roughly $4 billion. The savings will be reinvested in the government in “the things that really matter, like supporting our veterans and our armed forces, and investing in our nation’s infrastructure to help grow the economy and create jobs,” according to an administration official.

The president stressed once again that these kinds of unilateral measures do not replace the need for Congress to come up with “a balanced, bold plan to reduce our deficit.”

“A lot of the action is in Congress and legislative and in the budget,” he said. “I know that the joint committee on trying to reduce our deficits are engaged in a very difficult conversation right now. And we want to encourage them to complete their work.”

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