Obama signs order to cut travel, cellphones, swag

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama has signed an executive order directing government agencies to cut back spending on items ranging from travel to cell phones, and even souvenirs like pens and coffee mugs. His goal is for the executive branch to reduce expenditures by 20 percent in areas covered by the executive order.

The administrative step does not require action by Congress. It is part of a broader campaign to reduce wasteful spending and increase efficiency.

Before signing the order, Obama said agencies must root out waste large and small. He said the weak economy makes those efforts even more important and requires making tough choices. He said the steps will help save taxpayers billions of dollars in spending.

Vice President Joe Biden and White House budget director Jacob Lew attended the signing in the Oval Office.