December 29th, 2009
05:39 PM ET
6 months ago

DeMint: Senate could've voted on TSA chief 'months ago'

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Jim DeMint, the Republican lawmaker holding up the nomination for the Transportation Security Administration chief, blamed Senate Majority Harry Reid Tuesday for the delay, saying the Senate could have voted on his nomination "months ago."

DeMint told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux Tuesday that all he wants is "limited debate and a recorded vote" before Erroll Southers can become the new TSA chief.

"Unfortunately the president has been downplaying the threat of terrorism since he took office. He waited eight months to even nominate someone for this position, and then he wanted him approved with no debate or no vote," DeMint said. "Senator Reid could have done that months ago, but the fact is they've been working on other things and have not seen airport security as a priority."

Reid said Tuesday that he will force a vote on Southers' nomination as soon as the Senate returns from recess. Southers, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in September, is currently assistant chief of homeland security and intelligence at the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department.

DeMint has been holding up the nomination in an effort to prevent TSA employees from joining a labor union. He praised Obama for blaming the security lapse that allowed a terrorist suspect to board a plane on Christmas Day on systemic and human failure.

"While other Democrats are trying to find someone to blame for this, at least the president is saying it is the responsibility of his administration," DeMint said. "My hope is that he'll change his focus from politics to real security. There's no reason that we should be focusing the attention of our homeland security agency and airport security on collective bargaining with union bosses when we need to be upgrading to deal with threats all over the world."


Filed under: Jim DeMint
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. RandyW

    DeMint is a partisan hack, nothing more. Had he done his job while Bush was in office we would have never been in Iraq, the Afgahn war would be over and the ones responsible for 9/11 would have been dust.

    December 29, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. Eric Prince II

    Not w/out vetting another radical Obama loon, glad he decided not to vote. Especially another union organizing fool that was sure to be Obozo's choice.

    December 29, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. lkbender

    The blame game never stops...the senate blames Ried, Obama blames Intel agencies and generally it is Bush's fault. I do hope this does shed more attention to the fact that the terrorists released from Gitmo, no matter how long ago, still plan attacks against this country. The recidivism has been proven time and time again yet this administration keeps releasing them.

    December 29, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Pragmatic

    How can you tell when a republican is lying? His mouth is moving.

    December 29, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  5. Dallas TX

    The party of "No" has been against the President 's agenda even before he took office.. The House and the Senate spent months on healthcare while there were other important issues that faced the country because of the Republicans. Now that it is in the news that DeMint had been holding up the nomination of the TSA chief, now he wants to blame the President and Senate Democrats.

    December 29, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Bren

    TSA employees should NOT be able to be in a union.

    What would happen if the union decided to strike??

    This would mean that millions of air travelers would be placed at increased risk during this time.

    TSA employees going on strike-–This would have a significant impact on the airlines-and could even destroy the airline industry.

    TSA employees should be former military/law enforcement/FBI, have background checks, be paid well, etc.-–but they should NOT be able to join unions!!!!!

    December 29, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  7. Michael

    DeMint must live in a bizarro world! He blocks the nomination, but it's Reid's fault! And why? To block unionization? So preventing TSA unionization trumps having somebody in charge as the executive of that agency?

    Disgusting, just more GOP hypocrisy, which it appears come from a bottomless well these days.

    December 29, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Richard in California

    Do the Republicans not realize that America has a magical technology called "Video Cameras" and a network called "C-SPAN"? Why do they believe that they can say bald-faced lies and get away with it?

    This is exactly the same as if Lucy, immediately after pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, turning to Linus and saying, "No, I didn't pull the football away. I held it in place, and Charlie Brown decided to miss it entirely, and then fall on his back. It was entirely his fault."

    Senator DeMint, you and your ilk, like Sen. McConnell and Rep Boehner must think that the American people have no memory and can't think for themselves. Please do not humiliate yourself further with your bald-faced lies. Man up and grow a pair. Own your lies.

    December 29, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  9. Michael

    The Republicans once again are in the way and not trying to help.The conservatives/Republicans want Pres. Obama to fail by voting no to commom sence needs to help the country. This is sad.

    December 29, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. Kelly

    Am I missing something here? How can we blame TSA when this flight originated in a foreign land? I understand that TSA can set rules for individuals on a plane coming to the U.S., but as far as security prior to boarding, we can't control that.

    December 29, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. ATL Guy

    Now that he's in the cross hairs for his obstructionism, he's blaming the Democrats for not voting on the nominee. The Republicans do not care about anything but returning to power. It's shameful and it's despicable. I don't know who's worse; the Republicans who want to tear our government down or the terrorists that want to attack our country. Either way you slice it, it's still terrorism.

    December 29, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Traitorous liar!

    You are putting American citizens live on the line while YOU DeMint play political games!

    Republicans, the true domestic terrorists!

    Hopefully, the next time DeMint travels commerically he will be strip searched and maybe a body cavity search conducted, altho, it would have to take place on a colonic board!

    December 29, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  13. Debbie

    DeMint is sounding more like Joe McCarthy everyday.

    December 29, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  14. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    The Senate and House leadership need to forget about the Republican Party and just push everything through at full force. The GOP is going to keep standing in the way and whinging at the top of their lungs until they take another hit at the ballot box. Frankly, if they keep it up I know my out-of-country absentee vote is going to remain for the Democrats and Independents.

    December 29, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. m smith

    DEmint is a Dim witt . Some one should take him and stick him in prison. The repo party is in a mess they will blame anyone and every one. I don't recall any democrat after 9-11 makeing remarks against the president and our security. These repos are doing more to encourage terriorism than they know. They seem to want the president to fail so badly that an attack on this country would be welcome by them so they could say I told you so. Can't imagine any president wanting that.

    December 29, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    I don't believe DeMint for a second. If he'd really wanted this nomination to come to a vote, he would have made a bigger deal about it.

    Instead, he (along with his Republican cohorts) were too busy obstructing health care reform and all the other important business of the American people.

    GOP = Party Before Country

    December 29, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  17. Johnny Five

    Seriously, this doesn't matter. TSA has no authority over INBOUND security departing from OUTSIDE the US.

    Please don't pass laws for something that happened while boarding overseas!!

    December 29, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. cnn wont post

    Maybe he President can do what his Secretary of DHS did and say "this is what we inherited from the former administration" She has been Secretary almost a year and needs to take responsibility for the breakdown. This President should pay more attention to the threat to our country and not on pushing / "pep talking" better known as forcing our elected officials into voting for a health care bill. More threats to our nation have taken place since Obama took office since 2001. The terrorist think we are not strong or united thanks to this administration.... When will this stop maybe we can blame Bush until Obama is out in 2012

    December 29, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  19. A.Darton

    I pity the folks of South Carolina. That loyal Governor Sanford, Rep. Joe Wilson, Linsey Graham and now this fellow, DimWitt. DeMint was preventing a vote for someone to head the TSA because he was afraid the employees would join a union. A disgrace.

    December 29, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. Steve in Kentucky

    Yes, Mr. DeMinted, this could have been done months ago. You could have done this months ago. So what's your point?

    December 29, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. John in Brooklyn

    What a whiner. He decides to play power politics and it blows up on him. He needs to own up to his obstruction, take his lumps, and move on.

    Are there ANY South Carolinians in Washington (or Columbia, SC for that matter) that the country – or the people of South carolina – can be proud of?

    December 29, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. Me

    This is clearly the Sen. from South Carolina playing politics. Who else is holding this up besides him? Are there any other Senators other than DeMint who thinks this an issue or is he the only one out of a 100? Isn't this the same guy who used the term Waterloo? I don't think it matters what Obama does, this guy will disagree. He (them) don't have an answer to any of this nation's problems, just opposition to those who do.

    December 29, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  23. Progressive

    How is it possible that arrogant hypocrites like DeMint get elected? I guess this is one of those "only in America" situations.

    December 30, 2009 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
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