Politics blocking vote on nominees to head TSA and Customs and Border Protection
December 29, 2009
(ChattahBox) — What’s the TSA chief doing in the aftermath of the attempted Christmas airplane bombing? Nothing, because the confirmation of Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence, has been pending since September. South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has helped block the president’s choice for TSA the division of the Department of Homeland Security that oversees airport security, over his concerns that Southers might let TSA screeners join a labor union. The unrepentant DeMint, in a statement, had said the Christmas day terror attempt was a “perfect example of why the Obama administration should not unionize the TSA.” DeMint claims unionization of TSA workers would give “union bosses” the power “to veto or delay future security improvements at our airports.”
DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton though, has placed the blame on Democrats, saying that “President Obama waited 243 days in office before making a nomination”. Southers has passed through two Senate committees, but DeMint’s hold prevents his nomination from being subjected to a full Senate vote, and the Senator’s demands for testimony about unionization would likely mean at least three days of debate and test votes.
The Obama administration also took more than eight months to nominate someone to head the Customs and Border Protection agency. Former U.S. attorney Alan Bersin is Obama’s nominee for the post. The agency will also be at the forefront of discussions as security policies are reviewed in the aftermath of the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack.But the Senate hasn’t set a date for hearings on the Customs position either, with other matters such as health care dominating the agenda.
Source: Washington Post