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House Democrats call for Tom Price's ouster

WASHINGTON -- At least five House Democrats are calling on Health Secretary Tom Price to resign from his Cabinet post following news reports that the former Georgia congressman took two-dozen publicly-funded trips on private jets in recent months.

Jamie Raskin of Maryland tweeted on Wednesday that his former colleague should step down.

"Time for @SecPriceMD to resign," Raskin tweeted, referring to Price's user name on the site. "King Trump's spending is bad enough and we can't afford Price's outrageous profligacy with public dollars."

Raskin joined four Democratic colleagues who sent a letter to Price Wednesday urging him to leave his federal post.

"The American people deserve cabinet secretaries who place the public good above their own private interests," wrote Raskin, Ruben Gallego of Arizona, Ted Lieu of California, Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

Price's onetime Georgia colleagues stayed silent on Wednesday, as did members of both the Republican and Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.

The flurry of resignation calls came hours after President Donald Trump said he was "not happy" with Price for his travel and indicated he has not ruled out firing his health chief. 

Politico recently reported that Price flew charter airplanes on more than two dozen occasions since last spring, sticking taxpayers with a bill totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it was investigating Price’s travel, as is the House Oversight Committee. The congressional panel said earlier Wednesday it was reviewing press reports about trips chartered on private jets by Price and other top Trump administration officials.

"The Committee is examining the extent to which non-career officials at federal departments and agencies either use government-owned aircraft for personal travel or private non-commercial aircraft for official travel," read a bipartisan letter sent to the White House Chief of Staff.

The Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Cox reporter Jamie Dupree contributed to this report. 

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.