Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Party of No prevents President from filling critical TSA slot

Perhaps the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could have improved on the Bush-era screening policies if Republicans in the Senate had allowed a vote to confirm President Obama's nominee.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has had a "hold" on the nomination of Erroll Southers to head the TSA since early December.
The attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound flight has re-ignited debate in the Senate over President Obama's nominee for chief of the Transportation Security Administration, which has been without a permanent leader since Obama took office.

It took the president eight months to nominate someone for the post, but that nomination has since been held up by objections from Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who fears nominee Erroll Southers will unionize TSA screeners.
Mr. Southers has appeared for confirmation hearings before two committees who recommended his nomination. He has also written to Sen. DeMint to assure him that he won't make any decisions that would compromise security.

Sen. DeMint, however, continues to play politics and petulantly insists on an unambiguous yes or no answer. After all, that is the prerogative of a single senator, especially one who sees personally gumming up Senate business as a virtue.

In the meantime, the TSA remains without a permanent administrator.