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December 30th, 2009
01:15 PM ET

DeMint defends blocking appointment of TSA chief

Evan Glass
CNN Congressional Producer

Elected officials on Capitol Hill are planning to hold hearings in January to investigate the safety gaps in airline security, made more pronounced since the attempted bombing over Detroit on Christmas Day.

But one important officeholder, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, likely won't be present at any of the hearings – simply because his nomination is being blocked in the Senate.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, has been holding up the confirmation of Erroll Southers to be TSA chief, in an effort to prevent TSA employees from joining a labor union. Southers is a former FBI special agent and counterterrorism expert.

"The attempted terror attack in Detroit is a perfect example of why the Obama Administration should not unionize the TSA and allow our airline security decisions to be dictated by union bosses," DeMint said in a statement. "I hope this incident will lead the President to re-think this policy and put the interests of American travelers ahead of organized labor."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Airline Safety • Raw Politics
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Jane Garvey

    Senator DeMint is a disgrace to this country. He has been caught on tape desiring to do as much damage to this administration and this president as he could possibly do. That's what this is all about. Period. The cat on this one is out of the bag; and it's howling.

    December 30, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  2. Luke and Laura

    DeMint should be ashamed of himself. Republicans have not only become the party of no, but the party of obstructionists and hate mongers.

    December 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  3. Pat | Pittsburgh

    Good evening everyone...

    It would be nice to have *someone* in the administration who has private sector managerial experience or has spent time outside public relations, law or community service agencies.

    Knowing how to appropriately respond to a problem is something this administration seems to be lacking.

    December 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  4. Lampe

    Don't blame this on the Republicans. Obama has been in office for 11 months, and he hasn't even managed to fill his entire cabinet yet. If I were in a position to question Obama's picks, you better believe I would. so far his track record isn't to good. I think the only person he picked right so-far is HRC. And as far as putting party before country, what is it called when the POTUS, and The Dems paln a HealthCare Bill, that all the people are not behind? Let me guess! Putting Party First!

    December 30, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  5. Ron San Bruno Ca

    I find this interesting ,you need to have X amount of incidence before you put up a STOP sign . Because we don't pay attention until someone is hurt or killed .This is politic's , this is how they protect us.demint is another thorn holding safety hostage .

    December 30, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  6. steve- virginia beach, va

    The only people who would benefit from unionizing TSA or any other agency responsible for national security are the hard-line radicals who want to bring the US to our knees, financially or otherwise. And people who are too ineot to be in critical decision-making positions.

    Although unions in theory provide some useful service, they have a history of making it difficult if not impossible to fire those who need to be fired, breaking the bank, and going on strike at the worst possible time if their demands aren't met. This is the last thing our country needs in our government, especially in our security agencies and is yet another reason why the left-wing ideology is such a danger to our country. Doesn't make Republicans wonderful but speaks loudly about our current "leadership" and what they are trying to do to us..

    December 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  7. Cindi Nolan

    Jim DeMint is putting party before country. As are all Republicans.

    December 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  8. Mike formerly from Syracuse

    Penata was criticized as being too inexperienced in intelligence matters to lead the CIA. Napolitano the same for DHS. Given the recent failure within both organizations, let's make sure we get someone qualified in TSA.

    December 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  9. Barry Wantagh NY

    This man is a disgrace. As a republican he fit right in with the other republican senator holding the Veterans benefits bill. These are real patriots.

    December 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  10. Tim Gibson

    It should go without saying that anyone Obama wants to appoint to a position should be looked at very closely and at every angle. His track record on appointments has been dark and full of willful corruption.

    I believe in rights of workers, however, unions are corrupt and only take organizations into areas better left explored through mumbo jumbo and ignorance with the only purpose to benefit from the union dues and no regard to the real world.

    December 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  11. trayci

    Demint is deminted...is he kidding me? Are these the same republicans who want to privatize everything? And then sit here with a straight face and claim inefficiencies if TSA unionizes?..like I said...they are all about greed and corruption...approve this man! You're really exposing yourselves. America isn't the lily white elite group you are so desparately trying to hold on to...wake up! Your out numbered!

    December 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm |

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