Price to pay $52K out of estimated $400K in travel costs

Price to pay $52K out of estimated $400K in travel costs
© Greg Nash

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceOvernight Health Care: Funding bill could provide help for children's health program | Questions for CVS-Aetna deal | Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill Warren questions Conway's role in curbing opioid epidemic Trump promised ‘best people’ would run government — they upended it MORE will reimburse taxpayers just under $52,000 for the cost of his charter jet travels for official government business, which is estimated at more than $400,000.

Price is “taking the unprecedented step of reimbursing the government for his share of the travel,” a department spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Hill. “Secretary Price will write a personal check to the US Treasury for $51,887.31. The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for his seats on charter planes.”

The former Georgia congressman has come under fire for using charter aircraft — at taxpayer expense — for official travel. Some of those flights overlapped with personal events, including a lunch with his son.

In a statement Thursday, Price pledged to halt all charter flights as well as reimburse the government.

Democrats on Twitter said that that wasn't good enough:

Politico, which first broke the story, estimates his flights have cost taxpayers more than $400,000. 

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At the time of his nomination in January, Price had a net worth of at least $8.2 million, including more than one bank account containing at least $100,000 in cash, according to his personal financial disclosure forms.

Price's flights are now the subject of an investigation by his department's inspector general, as well as the House Oversight Committee.

The controversy seems to have put Price’s job at risk. The White House on Thursday refused to say whether Price would stay on, one day after President Trump said he was “not happy” about the expenditures.

Price on Thursday said he thinks he still has the support of the president.

“We're going to work through this, and I think we've still got the confidence of the president,” Price said.

A group of House Democrats has called for Price to resign over the travel expenses.