Obama Cuts Promotional Products Spending by 20 Percent (UPDATE)
Updated 1:37 p.m. EST: Changed to reflect signing of executive order, and added quotes and further information on the action.
President Obama signed an executive order on Wednesday drastically cutting federal spending on promotional products. Federal agencies will be expected to cut spending by 20 percent in five areas: travel, technology, vehicles, printing, and promotional products, which the release labeled as "swag" and "unnecessary promotional items."
"The Executive Order directs agencies to stop wasting taxpayer money on non-essential items used for promotional purposes, such as clothing, mugs, and non-work related gadgets," the White House said in a statement. "For instance, several months ago the Department of the Treasury issued a directive to all of its bureaus to avoid purchasing any goods that could be considered frivolous or unnecessary, and to ensure that all purchases have a clear nexus with the Department's mission and operations."
Part of the president's "Campaign to Cut Waste," the executive order would target writing instruments, drinkware, notebooks, custom apparel and other office accessories used by federal agencies. In addition, the statement seeks to dramatically reduce government printing spending by putting more documents exclusively online.
Cell phones and laptops, airfare and hotel spending, and government-issued vehicles were also mentioned as areas that will need to be reduced.
"From the day I took office, I've said we're going to comb the federal budget, line by line, to eliminate as much wasteful spending as possible," Obama said.
The National Journal reports that many of the tenets of the order are borrowed from a budget freeze implemented by California Governor Jerry Brown in February. Agencies will have 45 days from the time of signing to develop plans to reduce costs to below 2010 levels by 2013.
Executive orders do not require approval from Congress and have the full force of law. The signing was witnessed by Vice President Joe Biden and White House budget director Jacob Lew in the Oval Office.