When Republicans haven’t spent the last week trying to kill thousands of their (supposedly) fellow Americans, HHS Secretary (and former Republican congressman) Tom Price has been defending himself from reports that he chartered over a dozen private–and expensive as hell–flights on the government dime for government related work. While I’ve seen a lot of ‘Congressman who used to decry government waste is now wasteful!’ takes, what I haven’t seen is how demoralizing this is for federal workers at HHS, which includes both the CDC and the NIH.
The brutal reality is that travel isn’t entirely covered by federal reimbursement: the hotel room rates are so low, the only place that one could get would be the motel with the dead hooker in the closet special–on the opposite side of town. Often, the per diem for food is used to cover the under-reimbursement–and isn’t always enough. On top of that, agencies and institutes have been forced to implement a whole bunch of ass-covering measures to ensure there’s no travel fraud: at the NIH, one-quarter of the entire budget is spent approving (usually very slowly) travel requests, which harms the mission.
Something the Trumpists don’t seem to understand is they are public servants, not lairds of the manse. The people who report to them aren’t serfs either. Leadership is something you do and that you live, but it seems alien to these bozos.