Tom Price's plan to cut waste at the Department of Health and Human Services doesn't include flying commercial.
Donald Trump's secretary for Health and Human Services, former Georgia Rep. Tom Price, once called congressional spending on private jets "just another example of fiscal irresponsibly irresponsibility run amok." The number of jets Price thought Congress should be able to use? Zero.
This is the cabinet member who earlier this year stood behind a budget cut of 18 percent for his department. The National Institutes of Health alone stands to lose $6 billion. The former head of the Centers for Diseases Control, Tom Frieden, called that budget as a whole "unsafe at any level of enactment." Senators were so alarmed that they called a special hearing.
Price's defense was underwhelming.
“Tough choices had to be made to identify and reduce spending within the department," he said. He also testified that the purpose of the cuts was "to decrease the areas where there are either duplications, redundancies or waste … and get a larger return for the investment of the American taxpayer.”
The only return Americans will see on the use of tax dollars toward a private jet instead of commercial airfare is a higher environmental impact.
Price's hypocritical attack on private jet use was hardly his only disingenuous contribution to that 2009 interview, of course. Price attacked Rep. Joe Sestak for supporting a plan that would limit spending to four jets that would be used to transport troops as if he was fighting to fund the type of private jet Price hired so liberally last week. Of course, in the same clip, Price criticized congressmen for voting on a bill without reading it — a position the GOP no longer considers a condition for passing legislation.
It's no wonder that Price warned attendees who came to hear him speak at a private resort in Maine not to “assume the federal government is gonna do the right thing in healthcare.” With Trump at the helm and Price right behind him, all Americans are at risk.