Roswell Republican Tom Price chuckled when we asked him last week about the chance that president-elect Donald Trump could nominate him for secretary of Health and Human Services.
“I’m willing to serve wherever I can best serve my constituents in Georgia and the citizens of the country,” the Roswell Republican said Nov. 9.
Less than a week later, it looks like Price is on Trump’s short list for the Cabinet-level position, which oversees nearly 80,000 employees.
Per Politico, which cites two unnamed sources:
“Tom Price has been loyal to Donald Trump from the outset and his knowledge of health care is second to none,” said a Republican source on the Hill close to the Trump campaign. “Him being in contention for HHS secretary makes perfect sense.”
Price was curt Tuesday afternoon when he told reporters on Capitol Hill that he would not comment on the report.
A former orthopedic surgeon who just won his seventh term in the House, Price was a vocal supporter of Trump after signing off in May.
News of his consideration for the Cabinet slot came hours after onetime presidential candidate Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, indicated he wasn’t interested in a position in Trump’s administration.
Potential Price successors for the 6th District congressional seat, which encompasses north Fulton County and portions of Cobb and DeKalb, include state Sens. John Albers and Brandon Beach and state Rep. Chuck Martin. Other possibilities include Price’s wife, Betty, who serves in the Georgia House, and former secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel.
Even if Trump offers him the Cabinet position, it’s not clear whether Price would take it. He’s been mentioned as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2018, and serving in the bureaucracy could shape how voters look at him.
Even more notable, Price’s stock as House Budget chairman has increased exponentially in the days since Trump won the White House. With the GOP controlling the levers of power in Washington, Price will likely be at the center of efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs.
That power may be tough to give up.