Tom Price 'Regrets' Chartering Flights at Taxpayer Expense

Tom Price said Thursday that he will reimburse taxpayers for taking private charter flights for business and personal trips, just a day after President Donald Trump said he was "not happy" with his top health official. He left the event after taking his own shot of the flu vaccine without taking further questions from the reporters who chased him down as he was whisked away through the back door.

Former secretary Kathleen Sebelius said this week that she only took a chartered plane once, and that it was a propeller plane to reach three villages that were not accessible by road or commercial airplane. Previously Price's office had said it's cooperating with a review by the HHS inspector general, and he will stop flying on charters until that investigation is complete. When asked Wednesday if he was considering firing Price, Trump responded: "we'll see".

CNBC has asked HHS what Price expects to pay for his "seat" on those planes, and what the difference is between that amount and the total cost of the charter flights.


Government officials, except those dealing with national security matters, are required to take commercial flights for work-related travel. "I know as well as anyone that the American people want to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely by government officials".

The House Oversight and Government Reform committee sent detailed records requests to the White House and 24 federal agencies.

The statement came as Price has become engulfed in a controversy over his frequent use of chartered flights, which can cost taxpayers more than $25,000 each.


Trump's comments seemed to take the health secretary's office by surprise. And it's telling that, earlier in the year, Trump joked about the passage of an Obamacare repeal, saying, "He better get them, otherwise I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired'".

Democrats have called on Price to resign following the controversy.

First, the inspector general's review is still underway, and we don't yet know what the findings will say about Price's use of public resources. It was authored by Rep. Ruben Gallego, R-Ariz.; Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich.; Jamie Raskin, D-Md.; and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.



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