In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Congress Starts TSA Administrator Blame Game


"Erroll Southers, an experienced, highly-qualified nominee, continues to be held up in the Senate by someone who obviously puts process ahead of progress. If TSA is to become the kind of nimble, responsive organization the American people deserve in times like this, it will need a Senate-confirmed administrator. If nothing else, the events of last week highlighted this lack of leadership."

The sticking point for DeMint is that Southers would not answer a question about whether he would allow screeners to collectively bargain and unionize.

In a statement responding to the Christmas terror attempt, DeMint said the incident was more proof that TSA should not allow collective bargaining. DeMint believes that would weaken security.

Thompson also noted the "key role" Customs and Border Protection agents play in security, and said that agency also deserves to have its leader confirmed in a speedy manner.

In late September, President Obama nominated Alan Bersin to be commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which is part of Homeland Security. Before this nomination, Bersin served as the border "czar."

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) said in a statement Congress "must change the process by which TSA administrators serve," according to McClatchy.

"There has been no TSA administrator for nearly a year and the next one will be the fifth in eight years. Running a security agency with a revolving door is a recipe for failure," Mica said.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley told McClatchy Monday that Reid is trying to get Southers confirmed quickly.

"Republican obstructionism has prevented TSA from having the leadership in place that the organization deserves," Manley said.

Late Update: TPMDC has learned that Reid will hold a roll call vote when Congress returns in mid-January.