HHS Secretary Price regrets private jet flights, vows to partly reimburse government
US Department of Health and Human Services(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price said Thursday that he regrets his numerous trips aboard private aircraft and pledged to reimburse the government for the cost of his seat, a promise that will only cover a fraction of the estimated costs, according to a source familiar with the plan.
“I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars,” said Price in a statement. “All of my political career I’ve fought for the taxpayers. It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer. 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.
“Today, I will write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes. The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes,” he added.
The source with knowledge of Price’s intentions said that the secretary will pay $51,887.31, about 13 percent of the $400,000 that Politico estimated was spent on as many as 26 chartered flights.
Politico reported that Price took as many as 24 chartered flights at an estimated cost of over $400,000. The secretary, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are each currently the subject of inquiries by their respective inspectors general over flights and the House Oversight Committee this week launched an investigation into federal agency travel.
In addition to covering the cost of his completed flights, Price’s statement says that he and his staff “will continue to cooperate fully with the [Office of Inspector General] and internal review,” and that he “will take no more private charter flights” during his term.
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