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Grassley: Trump should tell Cabinet to rein in costs

Grassley: Trump should tell Cabinet to rein in costs
© Greg Nash

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee called on President Trump Friday to reign in his Cabinet's spending.

Sen Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa) called on Trump to stress the importance of cost-effective travel to his team after Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceGreen group calls on Pruitt to pay back first-class flight costs Top Dems seeks answers from HHS on ethics lapses GOP lawmaker calls for Shulkin to resign MORE's resignation. Price on Friday was forced to resign over his use of private charter flights.

Grassley said such practices cause taxpayers to question the priorities of the administration.

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“Those who work for the taxpayers need to get the most bang for the buck at all times. Unnecessary or expensive travel is to be avoided. It’s not just the cost of the flights. It’s also whether attending a conference or a meeting overseas and planning a vacation around those events is in the public’s best interests when there’s so much work to do and when the national debt is so high," Grassley said in a statement.

"Taxpayers wonder how priorities are set when they see things like that," he added. "I hope the president will stress the importance of all of this to everybody in his cabinet so the expensive flights stop, and we can focus on the important issues before us.”

Price resigned Friday afternoon after Politico reported that he had spent more than $1,000,000 in taxpayer dollars on private charter flights. Price originally pledged to repay a fraction of the costs, and pledged to stop taking the flights pending an Inspector General investigation.

Other administration officials have also been under scrutiny for their travel. 

Grassley previously wrote a letter to Trump on Thursday asking for details on the steps Trump's team is taking to curb expensive travel by members of the Cabinet.

“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 spirit and letter of all laws, regulations, and policies that apply," Grassley wrote.

“Considering the many travel options to and from Washington, D.C., I'm urging you to emphasize to cabinet secretaries the necessity of using reasonable and cost-effective modes of travel in accordance with federal restrictions,” he added.