Tom Price ditches taxpayer-funded travel on private jets for now

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will stop taxpayer-funded travel on private jets until a formal review by his department's inspector general is completed, he said Saturday during an appearance on Fox News.

The Georgia Republican has come under increased scrutiny after Politico reported that Price took at least two dozen chartered flights since early May at the cost of $300,000 even though commercial flights were available. Politico reported that the trips broke with precedents from previous HHS secretaries who flew commercially on domestic trips to cut costs.

"We've heard the criticism. We've heard the concerns," Price told the network. "And we take that very seriously - and have taken it to heart."

The department's inspector general, Daniel Levinson, said Friday he would examine Price's travel history after House Democrats questioned whether the trips violated federal law aimed at slashing travel expenses.

Price said Saturday he would "cooperate fully" with the review and conceded that "the optics in some of this don't look good."

"We welcome this review," Price said. "We want to make certain that we have the full confidence of not just this administration, but the American people."

Price was a six-term congressman representing suburban Atlanta's 6th District before he was tapped by President Donald Trump as health secretary, and the race to replace him triggered the most expensive U.S. House contest in history. Price was considering a run for governor in 2018 before Trump tapped him for the Cabinet role.