Political News

The Latest: HHS chief says he'll pay back charter costs

Posted September 29

— The Latest on HHS Secretary Tom Price's travels on charter flights (all times EDT):

10 p.m.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says he'll write a personal check to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of his travel on charter flights taken on government business.

Price is also pledging to fly commercial with "no exceptions" as he fights to keep his job.

Price's office says the repayment, just under $52,000, covers only the secretary's seat. Price hasn't addressed the overall cost of the flights, which could amount to several hundred thousand dollars.

Price says, "I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer." His mea culpa comes a day after a public rebuke from President Donald Trump.

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5:35 p.m.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is writing a check for nearly $52,000 to cover the cost of his own travel on charter planes while on government business.

A department spokesman has disclosed the amount after Price apologized for flying on charter aircraft.

He apologized to taxpayers a day after he received a public rebuke from President Donald Trump.

His job in jeopardy, Price issued a statement Thursday that he was cooperating with investigations into his travel and would reimburse taxpayers.

The HHS spokesman says Price's personal check to the U.S. Treasury would be for $51,887.31 to cover the cost of his own seat on the plane. The spokesman did not address the cost incurred by those traveling with him.

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4:38 p.m.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says he is cooperating with investigations into his travel on costly charter flights.

He says he wasn't "sensitive enough" to the concerns the charters would create about the use of taxpayer dollars.

Price says he will write a check Thursday to reimburse Treasury and says he will not take any more charter flights as HHS secretary.

His statement comes after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump was not thrilled with Price's flights. Trump had publicly declared his displeasure a day earlier.

Sanders says, "We've asked a halt to be put, particularly at HHS, on any private charter flights moving forward."

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4:20 p.m.

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 comments that he wasn't happy with Price's travel. Trump left open the possibility that Price would be fired, but Price said Thursday he thinks he still has the president's confidence.

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3:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he's "not happy" with his top health official, putting Tom Price's job in jeopardy after his costly charter flights triggered a congressional investigation of administration travel.

Asked whether he's planning on firing the secretary of health and human services, Trump responded Wednesday, "We'll see."

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