HHS Sec'y Price Prefers Private Jets for Business Trips

Report: HHS chief Tom Price spent $25K for private jet from DC to Philly

"Let's see if more money helps that out" is the wrong way", Price told CNN's Sanjay Gupta.

Other officials in President Donald Trump's cabinet have been criticized for the use of federally funded flights. Flight delays and no-shows would not do.

The travel, which is estimated to cost US taxpayers' tens of thousands of dollars per flight, has drawn widespread criticism from Democratic lawmakers.

HHS legal counsel reviewed the request for Price to fly on a private jet, she said.

A senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Thursday that the White House did not approve Price's travel on chartered planes.

This is also not the first time - this month! - that a Trump administration official has faced criticism for his flying habits. Price's predecessors under Obama typically took commercial flights domestically. However, Price took that trip in an Embraer ERJ145 jet, which seats up to 50 and costs an average of $7,000 per hour, according to Paramount Business Jets.

He has spent more than 80 days of his presidency at one of his namesake properties outside of Washington, and his trips have cost up to $3 million each for security and travel, according to a Politico analysis.

A Gowdy spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Airport records show that for at least one of the trips a commercial flight was available for almost the same time. Price traveled to a mountaintop lodge there for a meeting and departed the next day on another chartered flight for an appearance in New Hampshire, Politico reported.

Both U.S. senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, have called for Price to release additional information about the trips. However, there are ways for Price to talk with average Americans across the country without dropping hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on private planes.

Back when he was in Congress, he complained about its use of private planes.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin - a former Goldman Sachs banker - is already under investigation by his agency's own inspector general.

"The letter cited the Code of Federal Regulations which notes, ".because the taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for your transportation, generally you may travel on Government aircraft only when a Government aircraft is the most cost-effective mode of travel". He has used charter aircraft for official business in order to accommodate his demanding schedule.

What is the minimum cost of chartering a flight anywhere? Before one chartered flight from D.C.to Philadelphia, he had to attend a hurricane briefing. Those travels, made from September 13-15, cost at least $60,000, tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel. The agency's general counsel may also play a role.

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