Donald Trump will be making more big announcements on Tuesday, and on Monday he made his choice to nominate Georgia Rep. Tom Price, a leading critic of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care law, to head the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a person familiar with the decision.
One interesting thing of note is that Trump was rather enthusiastic after meeting former CIA Director David Petraeus, who is currently under investigation by the Defense Department for leaks related to the sex scandal that led to his resignation. This could put a kink in plans if Petraeus is being considered after Trump made quite a fuss over Hillary Clinton‘s leaks investigation.
If confirmed by the Senate, Price would play a central role in Republican efforts to repeal and replace the current health care law. Trump has pledged to move quickly on overhauling the landmark measure but has been vague about what he hopes to see in a replacement bill.
The president-elect has said he favors keeping provisions that allow young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance and which prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
Trump is expected to announce Price’s nomination as early as Tuesday morning. The person familiar with decision insisted on anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of the official announcement.
Price, a 62-year-old six-term congressman and orthopedic surgeon, has chaired the House Budget Committee for the past two years. A bookish conservative from the Atlanta suburbs, Price has worked closely with House Speaker Paul Ryan to assemble GOP budgets aimed at reducing the annual deficit.
Last week, Price said that whatever Republicans do to replace Obama’s health care law will bear a “significant resemblance” to a 2015 measure that was vetoed by the president. That bill would have gutted some of the health care law’s main features: Medicaid expansion, subsidies to help middle-class Americans buy private policies, the tax penalties for individuals who refused to get coverage and several taxes to support coverage expansion. The bill would have delayed implementation for two years.
Price insisted that Republicans can keep the protections for those with existing medical conditions without mandating that all individuals carry coverage or pay a penalty to support an expanded insurance pool. Price said Republicans want to address “the real cost drivers” of health care price spikes, which he said were not necessarily sicker patients, but a heavy regulatory burden, taxes and lawsuits against medical professionals.
The Defense Department is conducting a new leaks investigation related to the sex scandal that led to the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, media outlets confirmed Monday, the same day Petraeus was meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in New York.
Petraeus, who could be in line for a Cabinet nomination, arrived at Trump Tower in early afternoon and met with Trump for about one hour. Trump afterward tweeted that he “was very impressed.”
Petraeus said Trump “basically walked us around the world, showed a great grasp of a variety of the challenges that are out there and some of the opportunities as well. Very good conversation and we’ll see where it goes from here. We’ll see where it goes from here.”
A U.S. official told media outlets that investigators were trying to determine who leaked personal information about Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with Petraeus led to criminal charges against him and his resignation. The information concerned the status of her security clearance, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Disclosure of the Broadwell information without official permission would have been a violation of federal criminal law.
The latest twist in the case could complicate Petraeus’ prospects of obtaining a Cabinet position in the Trump administration, resurfacing details of the extramarital affair and FBI investigation that ended his career at the CIA and tarnished the reputation of the retired four-star general.
He pleaded guilty last year to one misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information relating to documents he had provided to Broadwell, his biographer. He was spared prison time under a plea agreement with the Justice Department. The Army in late 2012 suspended the security clearance of Broadwell, a former Army intelligence officer. Such a move is routine when a person is under investigation, particularly in a case of a possible security breach.
The investigation began after a Petraeus friend, Jill Kelley, complained to the FBI in 2012 about harassing emails from an unknown person who turned out to be Broadwell.
During his campaign, Trump repeatedly lambasted Hillary Clinton, who had come under federal investigation for her use of a private email server as secretary of state. He suggested her actions were worse than those by Petraeus.
FBI Director James Comey has drawn a distinction between the two cases, saying there was no evidence that Clinton or her aides had intended to break the law through careless handling of sensitive information. Federal prosecutors said Petraeus knew black binders he shared with Broadwell contained classified information, but he nonetheless provided them.