December 29th, 2009
05:39 PM ET
6 years 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. Question for the Obamarites......

    why does Obama criticize the lack of human rights in Iran but cowers in the face of China where the problem is at least as bad, if not worse???

    December 29, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Brian

    This is what the Republicans do now. They just lie to your face and think you won't know better. John Cornyn is a master of it.

    December 29, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Brian

    DeMint is a tool. He played politics with airline security, got caught, and is now placing blame elsewhere. Another great Republican example of responsibility for you kids out there.

    December 29, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Jayson

    Gotta love how the Democrats tried to blame the Republicans for there not being a new TSA chief in place and tried to avoid the fact that it took as long as it did to nominate someone...

    December 29, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Big Ed

    Blah, blah, blah. "Ain't my fault!" This is becoming the Republican mantra, right next to "NO!" Always looking for someone else to blame. They cannot make it on their accomplishments, so they put down others as a way to try to make themselves appear better and so they feel better. What a bunch of losers!

    December 29, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Duck Fallas

    DeMint has been holding up the nomination and is now looking for someone else to blame. My hope is that he'll change his focus from politics to real security.

    December 29, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Peter

    So let them vote...

    December 29, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Joe E.

    It appears that this Senator will never cease in his tireless effort of achieving the dubious distinction of being the earth's largest anal entry. His judgment is flawed at best and downright incendiary as a norm. The sooner his like leaves the halls of congress, the sooner the USA will return to thriving in this competitive world. Good riddance Sen. DeMint! Don't let the door knob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!

    December 29, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Rogerd

    This story comes out only after the previous story stateing it was purely the fault of Senator Demint for holding up the the Nomination.

    Now we learn, it took the administration 8 months to even nominate a candidate and delays caused by a health care priority that we can't wait for!

    We need to demand timely, accurate and complete journalism or we decide to pull or readership and go elsewhere (e.g.

    December 29, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Mlhall

    DeMint you need to go and get a life. You had 8 years to make homeland security better and you did nothing but sit on your butt. Now you have the nerves to complaint about the Democrat Party. President Obama is more man than you Mr. DeMint. What’s in this for you Mr. DeMint, got to be something?

    December 29, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Sandra, Atlanta

    It would be really nice if Jim DeMint would change his attitude toward solutions instead of politics. What a hypocrite!

    December 29, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. A Deminted career politician rules America

    The Senate could have confirmed Southers months ago if Deminted didn't place a hold on the nomination. With his highly partisan political and reckless obstructionist antics Deminted has demoralized the very TSA workers who protect our security.

    December 29, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. JR

    "DeMint has been holding up the nomination in an effort to prevent TSA employees from joining a labor union",

    now there shows his concern for America's safety, his fight against unions supersedesany patriotism, classic con.

    December 29, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Jeff

    "Hopefully Obama will change his focus from politics to real security"???

    Hey, idiot senator, last I checked, Obama has been in office for over 11 months and we haven't been attacked.

    How long was Bush in office before we got attacked? Oh yeah, that's right.

    But that was Clinton's fault, of course...??

    Shame on you.

    December 29, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. CAW in MD

    All DeMint wants is a debate on card check, which has absolutely nothing to do with Homeland Security. He can try to pass this off as Reid's fault, but those of us paying attention are not fooled...

    December 29, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. Bill Kossler

    DeMint said Obama wanted confirmation "with no debate or no vote."

    Since any confirmation vote would entail, well, a vote, and debate preceding it and Obama does not control the senate's committee procedures, why does Lauren Kornreich simply transcribe a partisan statement that has three contentions that are false on their face without any correction? Isn't that CNN reporting fiction as fact? Why is CNN simply reporting the fictional claims of a partisan press release without any fact checking or any balance?

    December 29, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Chris - Denver

    Another Republican lie. DeMint put petty political score-settling above the security of the country and now tries to blame Obama. Pathetic.

    December 29, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. LMR

    Mr. DeMint's comments are so disingenuous it begs the question if he truly beleives what he says on this topic or any other. This issue is too important to "play politics" with. Yet time and again we see that the political games continue to be played. Let's work on correcting the problems in the existing system allowing the professionals the President has appointed to do the jobs he asked them to do.

    December 29, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. amwa

    Ugh! the party of whining do nothing hypocrites will long be remembered. They hold up voting on everything and then try to say it is the Presidents fault. Have they forgotten the mess they left this country in when the President took over. Heaven forbid where we would be now if they were still in office. There isn't one of them who cares about this country.

    December 29, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. terry,va

    DeMint is right. National security has not been a priority under Obummie. Who cares about our country getting blown up if in the mean time all the bums get fed, get a car, housed etc. This isn't the United Socialist States of America, at least not until Obummie can get the Constitution changed.

    December 29, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    And we ALL know the republicans don't lie (unless their lips are moving).

    SC – grow some nads and clean our your dirty Republican house in the next election. It's hurting the entire country, kinda like George Wallace did many many years ago (you know – the ALABAMA Gov).

    December 29, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. DJ

    So Demint has been holding up the nomination of Southers but is blaming Obama and the Dems. Talk about speaking out of both sides of your mouth!
    His reason is if TSA agents join a union he feels it will compromise security. What about all the police and firefighters who are mostly union, including the heros of 9/11.
    Demints agenda is very obvious. He does not want the unions strenghened by having more members.

    December 29, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. gary

    DeMint is playing politics at the peoples expence. No wonder fewer and fewer people identify them selves as Republicans. SHAME on DeMint.

    December 29, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. CBR

    Jim DeMint. Why does his name appear so frequently during negative political actions.

    His record is unimpressive so I guess he needs to get his name in the paper somehow.

    December 29, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. Xavier

    DeMint is a threat to our national security. He is placing politics before our safety as Americans. We would be better served if bums like him are thrown out of office.

    December 29, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
1 2 3 4