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. Sean

    Isn't this incredible? Playing politics with everything including the lives of your own citizens? What has confirming the head of a vital security agency got to do with its employees joining the labor union? The republicans really need to ask themselves some tough questions. Do you oppose everything based on ideology and partisan politics even when you need to put your nation first? What would we be saying now if, God forbid, that explosive had gone off on Friday? This is really too sad

    December 29, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. robwestchester

    Uh yeah. OK. Whatever Jim. Nice spin.

    December 29, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. notary

    just another example of the republican party that would destroy our country in there quest for power.

    December 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. ran

    DeMint is the real reason no vote has been taken. He is trying to cover his own ass.

    This is another reason to vote for either a true Democrat or Independent in 2010 and 2012.

    Also now we see what obstructionism by the republicans can get us.

    December 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. Tarheel

    If Obama is taking responsibility then it's the first thing he hasn't blamed Bush for. Everything other problem or mistake he made he seemed to have "inherited" I sure hope when a Republican takes the White house in 2012 that he doesn't use this wienie excuse for every mistake he might make.

    December 29, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. bob in LA

    Sounds like more politics held up a vote.
    Time to start acting like adults- congress has become a joke.

    December 29, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. Hot Dog

    This really makes no sense. Senator DeMint is a Southerner from a state that embraces the right to work idealology. First of all, the salary of the screeners that work at our air ports is not commensurate to the significance of the service that they provide to the flying public. Secondly, terrorism is not a political issue. Why shouldn't the screeners be able to join a union if it resulted in better pay and benefits? It is back to square one as to how Southern politicans view unions and how Northern politicians unions.

    December 29, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. Dave

    "DeMint has been holding up the nomination in an effort to prevent TSA employees from joining a labor union. " Now you know, folks. Union breaking is much more important to these people than our safety.

    December 29, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Billy Bob AZ

    I don't think that DeMint is telling the truth. He is the one who has been playing politics here. He is a right-wing extremist who hates labor unions, and will stop at anything to eliminate their influence. I get unwanted literature in the mail regularly from his office, and in spite of requests to halt the flow of mailings, his office continues sending anti-labor union drivel to my house. Time to shed some light on this wacko.

    December 29, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. m smith

    DeMint is a jerk but what else is new?

    December 29, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. Hendrik

    Old Jim DeMint. What a shame that this clown has a Dutch name. He is a disgrace to our country. And he is supposed to be the Republican shining star. The most controversial and whacked out clown they have to offer? Oh, besides Palin, Rove, Joe, McCain, and others.

    If this jerk ever gets elected as president the rest of the world can once again say that we are morons. Which we really are.

    December 29, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Sure Senator DeMint I suppose it could have. But I guess the GOP hasn't been obstructing and delaying the passage or non-passage of other legislation, i.e. health care reform as just one example, have they? Got any tweets from twits saying, (paraprashing) "We'll make them read the whole segment of this part of the bill to slow things down." Signed, NEVER VOTING REPUBLICAN EVER AGAIN !!!

    December 29, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. jacq

    He is putting party politics over national security plain and simple.The republicans want to be back in power so bad that they would rather see Americans died for power.Watch what I tell you the republicans are a treat to national security.The thirst for blood and money and by all means necessary tactics has put this country in extreme danger.I lay the deaths of Americans on their door step.

    December 29, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Runofthemill

    Ahhh - not just using procedurals in a traitorous way to block the Obama administration, but also to make sure workers don't get a fiar deal. A true conservative republicon. Ideology and party always trump the safety of the homeland and certainly the rights of citizens and working people. What a group those republicons really are.

    And whe n they are caught red handed destroying the nation they point fingers and yell socialism acorn socialsim acorn –blah blah blah

    December 29, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. larry

    Demint is scum

    December 29, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. James

    Why bother? The Republicans just would have voted "no" to all the candidates.

    December 29, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. Obama's Banana Republic

    DeMint is right. The last thing we need is for TSA to become unionized. Reid makes the decisions on bringing votes to the floor so as usual Dems, quit blaming others. It's been a busy couple of months of bribery and secret deals for Ried and Piglosi but it is you who is in charge.

    December 29, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. Wont-vote-gop-if-my-life-depended-on-it

    Demint... Demint.... just shut it already.

    December 29, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. EX SC PUB

    How dare you to play politics with America's safety. Those police and firefighters that died in the Towers on 9/11 were union; the officers that brought down the shooter at Fort Hood were union. You, Dimint are equalled in fraud only by your Governor.

    December 29, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. jim atmadison

    Typical Republican. Lies out of both sides of his mouth.

    December 29, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. unemployed by Obama

    Democrates have to have someone to blame because they dont want to be blamed for making America less safe, destroying the country, losing more jobs than ANY republican, raising deficit, creating death panels, passing an unwanted health care bill and allowing a photo oped lier in the white house. So Democrates will blame anyone for anything.

    December 29, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. Jim in Florida

    Demint is correct. Probably better to have no TSA "Administrator" than to have this slug Obama crony. Obama is sending this empty suit to TSA to unionize the workers. Once that is done the TSA becomes just another Detroit automaker, in short, a complete failure.

    December 29, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Blue

    What a liar. I heard him say earlier that he held up the nomination because he was afraid he would form a union.

    December 29, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. mavcal

    The blame game begins. The bottom line is this – the buck stops at the desk of Obama, but since he spends more time in front of the camera instead of behind a desk minding the store, he's to blame for this act of terrorism because he's the President.

    December 29, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. German,Irish American

    But it's much easier for Democrats to ignore security and blame Republicans, because they KNOW the MSM will not check into anything that comes out of Obamas' or the Democrat majority mouths.

    December 29, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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