Following the controversy surrounding Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's use of private flights, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney conditioned government air travel on Chief of Staff John Kelly's approval.
“All travel on Government-owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft ... shall require prior approval from the White House Chief of Staff,” Mulvaney said in a memo sent to staff on Friday. According to The Washington Examiner, Mulvaney reminded executive branch staff that “every penny” spent “comes from the taxpayer.”
“We thus owe it to the taxpayer to work as hard managing that money wisely as the taxpayer must do to earn it in the first place,” Mulvaney added.
News of Mulvaney's memo came just after Price resigned amid a public uproar over his use of nearly $400,000 in taxpayer funds to charter upwards of 26 private flights. While the White House contended that it never approved those flights, it did reportedly approve of more than $500,000 in other flights for Price using military aircraft.
On Thursday, Price pledged to pay the cost of his seat on each of the private flights he took. But according to Politico, Price's flights cost taxpayers more than $1 million since May.
Although President Donald Trump defended Price's character, he also said he was “not happy” about Price's behavior.