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. T'SAH from Virginia

    OMG – It is STATED: "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".

    Okay!!??? So who is currently the CHIEF of the TSA???? Is the TSA right now "CHIEFLESS"??? Did the CHIEF quit??? Is there an Assistant CHIEF of TSA? Is there an “acting” CHIEF of the TSA? Is the TSA currently CHIEFLESS???

    Regardless of whom the CHIEF is – this MANIAC still passed security even after his father told the embassy about him. There are RepubliCAN'Ts and Democrats in the WH – I hate it when one side tries to SEPARATE themselves and blame the other side when a BREACH takes place!!! GROW UP and plan NOW on how you are going to keep America SAFE!!!

    December 29, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. annie s

    What an obnoxious fool. Just a few short days ago, DeMint was proud of holding up this nomination for his anti-working class reasons, and now that it's blowing up in his face, it's a Democrat's fault!

    December 29, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Fitz In Texas

    Looks like Reid let the ball fall.....again and if Obama would stop downplaying the threat of terrorism we would be safer in our own country, but when you have a clueless administration what else would you expect.

    December 29, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Richard from Massachusetts

    There is no other way to say it: DeMint is an obstructive right-wing idiot who wants nothing more than to destroy the Obama Presidency. The GOP does now ant change because they are scared of change. The GOP could author a book called "Hypocrisy for Dummies" because they are the quintessential example of hypocrisy and people who believe what they say must be dummies. DeMint is everything that is wrong with D.C. I hope that every person who voted for him are now banging their heads against the wall because of what an obviously stupid vote it was.

    December 29, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Sounds like the president needs to get the led out of his pants and put some fire in his pants before we take a hit .

    December 29, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Idiot_Pelosi

    DeMint: You Lie !

    I loved the part where he complains about Obama playing politics . . .
    Project much, DeMented?

    December 29, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. STAND AS ONE

    Well DeMint!!!! did I miss something? Wasn't you also trying to blame someone for this? So, you should have said you praise the President for What he said concerning this situation, while ME and others were trying to find someone to blame for this. Right????????

    So, Maybe you should take you own advice to the President. Stop being A politician for a moment; and try being a person that actually CARES about the security of the American People. NO NEED TO THANK ME SIR, I KNOW THATS A GOOD ADVICE.

    December 29, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    DeMint is of the obstruction and "NO" progress party, so now he blames the administration for his blocking the nominee's confirmation. Typical thug whining about being a vicitm.

    December 29, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Bill or Vin from Philly

    I'm sure Mr. Demint would rather have illegal aliens than hard working Americans, you go on any non union construction site all they have are illegal immigrants working there with no health insurance or benefits, at least with unions you know that the jobs are going to AMERICANS who spend there money in this country and not send it back home

    December 29, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. frank, pennsylvania

    Republicans – your pettiness and attack machinery cannot work among the electorates who are intelligent and appreciate the disadvantage of divisive politics where cohesion is needed. Please make constructive criticism instead of incessant falacious argumentum ad hominem!

    December 29, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Simonsays/Orlando

    I guess that the Democrats and the President think that unionization of the TSA is more important than protecting American lives. This is all about a payback for campaign contributions. It's,again, all about money not securty. And what is the upside to unionizing the TSA? All it does is give them the power to strike for whatever reason and paralyze the transportation system.

    December 29, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. Hank from Seattle

    Simply an amazing amount of gall. What would this man not say in an attempt to deny responsibility for his obstructive actions?

    December 29, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. S.B.

    That sounds so like a Republican, blaming Harry Reid for something that's his fault. From what I've heard and seen of DeMint I'm sure that the media is correct in saying that he has been holding up the nomination because of ant-unionism. When will some of these guys realize that we need the unions to begin rebuilding this country?

    December 29, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Reggie

    Obama drops the "ball" again. Why is he on vacation? He's got work to do!!!!

    December 29, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Reggie from LA

    Congratulations, again, to Senator Dement. I don't spell sa good, huh? He appears to be having so much fun politicizing and creating as much hate and discontent as possible...which is according to his plan. Give credit where it's due. On the other hand, is there something that he's done for his state that is substantive enough for him to showcase other than asinine antics. He feels his oats while obstructing. Go on, tell the folks of SC what your plan is to bring about improvement in the existing education system and infrastructure or maybe with jobs assistance. If he doesn't get hot, it could be his waterloo? Probably not. Talk about Teflon.

    December 29, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Mike

    Of course Obama didn't want a debate or vote why would he want the senate to do its job. Besides the fact that the attack had nothing to do with the TSA as he boarded the plane in Europe where TSA has no authority and does not operate.

    December 29, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Gordon Shumway

    Pretty much what one would expect when you appoint amateur political buddies as obviously sophisticated homeland security and intelligence functionaries and bureau chiefs.

    December 29, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. mjm

    And there you have it. DeMint didn't hold up anything. They never debated the nomination and they never called a vote. The way this story broke this morning you would have thought DeMint was leading a filibuster.....not so much.

    As far as unions go, they destroy every industry they touch. That is reason enough to hold up this nomination. We don't need unions destroying the air travel industry the way the destroyed GM.

    As for security lapses....let do this, if you are on a list, any list....you do not get to fly period. Works for Britain.

    December 29, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. Terry from West Texas

    This is simple obstructionism. America's unimpressive Conservative leadership wants our elected President to fail. They oppose everything, block everything, stall, lie, exaggerate, diminish, and distort.

    It is true that if the Obama Administration fails, millions of middle-class Americans will suffer, but they do not care much about middle-class Americans. America, to them is divided between the winners and the losers. The wealthy class are the winners. The middle-class are the losers.

    December 29, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. Annie, Atlanta

    Harry Reid needs to either figure out how to sidestep the political games Republicans are playing right now with our future, or step aside and let someone else take the reins, if he doesn't have the stomach for it.

    December 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. Chris

    "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."

    Which, of course, is why DeMint decided to block the nomination... but no, instead he also decided to play politics, and now he's accusing Obama of it? Seriously, what a joke.

    December 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Molly Weasley

    No, Sen. Duh-Mint. YOU'RE the one who has been holding up this nomination. YOU and the GOP are the ones politicizing this. Don't try to shift the blame.

    December 29, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  23. Farensquare

    What a joke, he's been holding the nomination because he's against union workers, against American workers. Shame on you DeMint, you're a total looser just like the rest under the party of 'NO'

    December 29, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. Jim in San Mateo

    Just like a Republican. Put the nation's security at risk to prevent a union from forming. What an idiot.

    December 29, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Theo, Louisiana

    Wow, DeMint... What an idiot.

    December 29, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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