Obama executive order targets federal worker 'swag,' smartphones

Internal Revenue Service mugs and Homeland Security sweatshirts may soon become collector’s items.

President Obama is set to unveil an executive order on Wednesday aimed at cutting wasteful spending on excess travel, printing, cell phones and government “swag.”

The swag under fire includes plaques, clothing, mugs and other agency-identified items distributed to employees.

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The president is ordering a 20 percent reduction on spending on these items, which the White House estimates will save billions per year.

A key target will be reducing the $9 million the federal government spends per year to shepherd officials around Washington, D.C. 

According to a press release, agencies have been spending millions on unused cell phone accounts and have been issuing multiple smartphones to employees. The Department of Commerce has decided to disconnect 2,648 wireless lines that showed no activity at all, for example, saving $3 million. 

President Obama, in a statement announcing the order, said “we’re cutting what we don’t need so that we can invest in what we do need."


An administration official said that the initiative would allow an estimated $4 billion to be reinvested in "things that really matter" like "our nation’s infrastructure to help grow the economy and create jobs."

One GOP aide pointed out there is no net budget savings from the executive order since the savings will be used for other government spending. 

The order will require more use of teleconferencing and federal government conferences to be held in federal buildings where possible.

The president will also present awards to four federal employees who have found ways to save the government money in the past year. 

—Updated at 1:15 p.m.