Wednesday, October 30, 2019

SWAG Act would cut government spending

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, right, stands alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as they speak to members of the media following a Senate policy luncheon, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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UPDATED 11:02 AM PT — Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst introduced a proposal to cut wasteful spending on federal promotional materials commonly referred to as “swag.” The Iowa lawmaker unveiled her legislation addressing the issue on Monday. The measure is titled ‘Stop Wasteful Advertising by the Government’ or the ‘SWAG Act.’Ernst has already made a name for herself as a spending watchdog and has started calling out agencies over their expenses using the Twitter hash tag #MakeEmSqueal. Her bill cites the massive $1.4 billion tab accrued by federal agencies for merchandise like advertisements, mascot costumes, and evening coloring books.While speaking to Breitbart News, she emphasized the need to shift the focus back on the government’s responsibilities and how they should be spending tax dollars.“What I can’t understand is how a bureaucrat sitting in their cubicle at the Department of Energy or EPA would think it was okay to spend taxpayer dollars on things like this,” she stated. “There are important things the federal government needs to do; buying fidget spinners and coozies is not one of them.”If passed, the ‘SWAG Act’ would stop the government from spending tax dollars on mascots which aren’t already funded under law such as Smokey Bear. It would also remove the ability to purchase fake social media followers, which was the case in 2011 and 2012 under former President Barack Obama.A report from the Office of the Inspector General found the State Department spent over $600,000 to purchase around 100,000 Facebook ‘”fans,” but ultimately failed to improve their engagement numbers. The ‘SWAG Act’ would additionally require all federal agencies to publicly disclose spending for P.R. campaigns annually.

Joni Ernst
 Taxpayers are being haunted by Washington’s spooky spending on pricey PR & advertising campaigns, costing taxpayers in #Iowa & across the country $1.4B+ each year. We need to pass my SWAG Act & end this reckless spending. #MakeEmSqueal

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4:18 PM - Oct 29, 2019
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Ernst recently introduced another bipartisan bicameral bill limiting the amount of tax-funded perks granted to former presidents from office space to travel expenses.“What we have seen is that taxpayers are footing the bill for their staff, for postage, for their phone expenses, for their travel expenses, office — you name it — tax payers are paying for that,” she stated. “And many of our former president’s receive tremendous books deals, they get expensive speaking engagements, they charge enormous fees — so why is the taxpayer absorbing that?”As it stands, a formal vote for the ‘SWAG Act’ has yet to be scheduled and still must undergo review in the House as well as the Senate.