Saturday, September 23, 2017

Corruption Air: Price used taxpayer-funded jet to get marching orders on repealing Obamacare

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12:  U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) addresses the second annual Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation January 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. The theme for the summit this year is "Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None."  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Commercial flights are for taxpaying suckers!
US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is intently focused on the health and human services of a select few: the collection of millionaire and billionaire Republican backers who routinely pump cash into the Republican party in exchange for policies that favor them, even at the expense of the American people. While in Congress, Tom Price howled about the use of taxpayer-funded jets for government officials, calling it a colossal waste of money. But now that he’s the HHS secretary, he’s developed a taste for the outrageously expense private jets and has taken at least 24 chartered flights, costing at least $300,000. Where is he going that he couldn’t possibly fly commercial? Politico mentioned one trip in particular:
For example, Price took a Learjet-60 from San Diego to the Aspen Ideas Festival — a glamorous conference at the Colorado resort town — that arrived at 3:33 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, June 24, nearly 19 hours before his scheduled panel. That flight likely cost more than $7,100, according to one charter jet agency estimate.
What was happening at that conference in Aspen that was such urgent government business that Tom Price had to use an expensive private jet, sticking us taxpayers with the bill? Price was a guest speaker on the final panel of the weekend, but why did he need to come in a day early? Because the Koch brothers alliance gathered Republican leadership and gave them marching orders to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut taxes on the wealthy (slickly disguised and packaged as “tax reform) or the “Dallas piggy bank” would be closed during the 2018 midterm elections. We, the American taxpayers, paid for Secretary Price, the man steering our national healthcare efforts, to jet off to Aspen to a conference of billionaires so they could scheme and plot to take away our health care. From a June report on the conference in the Guardian:
One Texas-based donor warned Republican lawmakers that his “Dallas piggy bank” was now closed, until he saw legislative progress.
“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” said Doug Deason. “Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”
The June threat from the “Dallas piggy bank” followed previous threats the Koch brothers and their network delivered to Republicans in March. If you are wondering why exactly Republicans like Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are desperate to pass something, anything that repeals the Affordable Care Act, it is because The Swamp directly demanded it:
The advocacy groups helmed by Charles and David Koch have unveiled a new pool of money for advertisements, field programs and mailings that would exclude those who vote for the health care bill they oppose on Thursday. The effort, which they described as worth millions of dollars, is an explicit warning to on-the-fence Republicans from one of the most influential players in electoral politics not to cross them.
Republicans are between a rock and hard place. Will they move forward to harm their constituents with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act in order to collect those checks from the “Dallas piggy bank”?

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