Despite the attempted Christmas day airplane bombing, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has continued to hold up the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee for the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which handles airport security. Former FBI agent Erroll Southers was nominated for the position in September and has been approved by two Senate committees, but DeMint continues to obstruct the nomination because he wants Southers “to clarify his stand on unionizing the TSA.” Today, on CNN’s State of the Union, DeMint said that confirming Southers would “bring the security concerns of TSA under the authority of union bosses.” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) responded, “with all due respect, this is nuts”:
With all due respect, this is nuts, holding him up over whether or not somebody’s going to be able to bargain for a better benefit.…This man will get confirmed and he’ll get confirmed by a wide margin. And playing games with the process, all it’s doing is hurting the traveling public because the most important frontline agency to protect Americans right now on flights is being held up over political stuff.
As Michael Whitney pointed out at Work In Progress, “is there any evidence that allowing TSA employees to bargain for better wages and workplace conditions would have caught or stopped Abdulmutallab? No. Would AFGE, the union that would represent the 50,000 TSA employees, ever consider vetoing or delaying security measures at airports? No. Does any of that stop DeMint from being a blowhard and saying this anyway? No.”