Tags: tom price | apologizes | charter | flights | will pay | back

HHS Sec. Price Apologizes for Charter Flights, Says He'll Reimburse Govt

Thursday, 28 September 2017 04:58 PM

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said he will pay back the U.S. government for the expenses associated with his private jet travels and no longer take chartered flights.

“It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer,” Price said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”

HHS didn’t immediately respond when asked the amount of the check Price will write.

Price said he is cooperating fully with an investigation by his department’s Office of Inspector General and has initiated an internal review to determine if any reforms are necessary. He turned up for a speaking engagement at the National Press Club on Thursday morning, giving no sign he would soon leave his job despite a widening scandal over his travel.

Price is facing investigations by Congress in addition to his agency’s internal probe over what Politico has reported are at least 24 private flights with costs to taxpayers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was looking “very closely” at the possibility of firing Price. A White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the secretary had spoken with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and didn’t offer his resignation.

Senate Scrutiny

Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote Trump Thursday suggesting chartered travel should be halted government-wide and asked the president to detail plans “to ensure that cabinet secretaries use the most fiscally responsible travel.”

“I have spent forty years both as a doctor and in public service putting people first,” Price said in the statement Thursday. “It has been my personal honor to serve the American people, and I look forward to continuing that service.”

On his way into the Thursday appearance, Price ignored shouted questions about his future. But after receiving a flu shot on stage at the event, he sounded upbeat.

“We’re going to work through this. I think we’ve still got the confidence of the president and we continue to work on important issues like the flu,” Price said.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is apologizing for taking costly charter flights on the taxpayer's dime. Price says he'll reimburse the government and he's pledging not to take any more charters. The HHS chief's mea culpa follows President Donald Trump's public...
tom price, apologizes, charter, flights, will pay, back
Thursday, 28 September 2017 04:58 PM
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