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Bridging The Gap
HHS Secretary Tom Price apologizes for chartered flights, says he'll pay for them.
  Thursday 28 September, 2017
HHS Secretary Tom Price apologizes for chartered flights, says he\'ll pay for them.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price apologized for his use of private planes to travel on official business, vowing to put an end to the practice and promising to pay for his previous flights himself.

"I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars," he said. "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."

Reports revealed last week that Price had traveled on charters for official business. According to those reports, the flights have cost an estimated $400,000.

He vowed not to take any more private charter flights as secretary. He also said he would write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the flights he has taken previously.

Price said he was cooperating with an inspector general investigation into his travels. He also said he had initiated a departmental review to determine if any changes were necessary.

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House has asked HHS to stop approving chartered flights.

“That’s something that we’re certainly looking into from this point forward and have asked a halt be put, particularly at HHS, on any private charter flights moving forward — until those reviews are completed,” she said.

Price's apology comes the same day that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked President Trump to explain what the administration has done to make sure his Cabinet is being cost-effective in its travels.

"Given the news reports and inspector general reviews at three agencies, please detail what steps the administration has taken to ensure that Cabinet secretaries use the most fiscally responsible travel in accordance with the public trust they hold and the spirt and letter of all laws, regulations and policies that apply," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote in a letter sent to the president on Thursday.

Grassley urged the president to "emphasize to Cabinet secretaries the necessity of using reasonable and cost-effective modes of travel in accordance with federal restrictions."

Price isn't the only Cabinet member whose travels have come under scrutiny. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly asked to use a government plane for his honeymoon, while EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has traveled back to Oklahoma on the taxpayers' dime.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/09/28/hhs-secretary-tom-price-apologizes-chartered-flights-says-hell-pay-them/714102001/

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