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Trump hints at firing Health Secretary Tom Price over airplane use
28 September 2017, 12:19 | Louis Holland
Tom Price health and human services secretary has spent more than $400,000 in taxpayer money on private jets since May
The committee sent a letter to Price asking that he "identify each usage of a private, non-commercial aircraft by a non-career official" by October 10. He wrote to Price last week requesting documents related to Price's flights.
During her tenure, Sebelius said, officials were required to travel commercially in economy class but were permitted to book business-class tickets if a flight lasted more than 12 consecutive hours. Trump's stuck by him until now but this is obviously a bad look for a populist White House, especially with Steve Mnuchin's use of government jets also being scrutinized.
Politicoreported that Price traveled to St. Simons Island in Georgia, where he and his wife own land, in a government-funded private plane and touched down more than a day before he was scheduled to speak at a medical conference.
Such flights are typically not allowed if there are cheaper commercial options, which Politico said there were for Price's flights. Officials said Price is cooperating fully with the inspector general's probe and will stop using charter flights until that investigation is complete.
"I'm not happy about it", the President said when asked about Price, though Mr. Trump has made his anger known about other top officials in his administration - like Attorney General Jeff Sessions - but not forced them out of a job. "He's a good person".
"The rules that I thought were the rules that we operated under, were: commercial travel - economy", she said. As HHS secretary, he has questioned whether the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income people delivers results that are worth the billions of dollars taxpayers spend for the coverage. "Not everybody can lease a plane like that and fly around the country".
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