Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Former Georgia ethics official to challenge McBath A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US 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:
Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBest shot at narrowing racial homeownership gap at risk, progressives say Democrats' reconciliation bill breaks Biden's middle class tax pledge Missouri education department calls journalist 'hacker' for flagging security flaws on state website MORE (@RonWyden) September 28, 2017
Politico, which first broke the story, estimates his flights have cost taxpayers more than $400,000.
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.
Secretary Price now says he'll reimburse taxpayers only a fraction of the cost of his private jet flights.— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) September 28, 2017
I say he needs to resign. Now.