GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

Ben Smith reports:

As Republicans seek to put the blame for the widespread perception of ineptness at the Transportation Security Administration on the Obama administration, Democrats are arguing that Republican legislators bear part of the blame, and that they're politically vulnerable on the subject.

Perhaps the largest impediment to change at the agency: South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has a hold on the appointment of a TSA chief, over his concern that the new administration could allow security screeners to unionize.

Republicans may carp about poor administration of the TSA, but it's hard to place blame on the President or even Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano considering that the GOP is not even allowing a vote on a new head of the agency. What's more, as Smith notes, more than 100 Republicans in Congress voted against legislation funding the TSA this year.

This all highlights a larger problem: Republicans' unwillingness to allow the government of the United States to function properly. As The New York Times detailed this weekend, fully 75 administration nominees who have already been approved by the relevant committees have not received votes in front of the full Senate -- a sorry situation that quantifies the destructive tack taken by the GOP.

The government isn't supposed to work like this. While it is acceptable and even proper for the minority to provide meaningful opposition to the administration, it is deleterious to our nation for Republicans to inhibit the government from even functioning. And although this is the type of issue that the Beltway generally pays more attention to than does the rest of the country, Americans might actually take notice when an administrative snafu arises directly implicating the GOP's tactic of blocking the confirmation of agency officials.

Tags: GOP, Senate, TSA (all tags)



Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

Can't we do a "Rot starts at the Top" campaign and fire Lieberman?

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

Now that Congress is in recess can't recess appointments be made?

by vecky 2009-12-28 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

One can only hope that Obama will do this. He should fill all 75 vacancies and announce publicly that he will not allow his administration to be held hostage by the GOP.

by JDF 2009-12-28 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

Ah, that's not very bipartisan of you.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

That should be done for every administration pick.

And for every judicial nominee that doesn't receive an "upperdownvote."

by bay of arizona 2009-12-28 12:57PM | 0 recs
Don't they expire in 2 years?

Obama seems very intent on using the proper channels.

But with the case of a TSA chief, they wouldn't last past his tenure of (hopefully) 7 more years anyways, so I don't see any big difference.

My instinct would have been to appoint the new TSA chief through a signing statement the very same night this incident happened to shine the spotlight on Republican obstructionism, but he didn't.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-28 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't they expire in 2 years?

I believe it is 1 year or until the start of the next recess? That's what I heard from the John Bolton saga.

One also has to wonder why Senate democrats aren't pushing more forcefully on this issue. Yeah HCR has eaten a lot of time, but you got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

by vecky 2009-12-29 12:07AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

Part of their talking points now includes that there were no terror attacks on Bush's watch.  Both Dana Perino and Mary Matlin have now claimed such bald faced lies.

The GOP needs to be skewered and held up on their own petard on this.

But, alas this will never happen.

by TxDem08 2009-12-28 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

If Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are back from vacation this week, then they will.

by Khun David 2009-12-28 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

Jon Stewart actually was already on this a couple of weeks ago when the TSA search procedures guidelines were released on the internet.

by CapitalShill 2009-12-29 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

These are the guard of the Democratic party.  A sports newscaster and two comedians.  And they are the only one's really to do any semblance of retort or disparagement of the GOP's actions or hold them accountable.

And we are shocked that the Party is wandering aimlessly in the forest?  I guess I now have to pick from those three to write in for Senator and President from now on, since they are the only one's doing anything.

Care of what you wish for.  You just might get it.

by TxDem08 2009-12-29 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

They're moving even further into bizarro-world. I'm used to them pretending that the anthrax attacks never happened (it's Atrios' bugbear). But to literally state that 9/11 was "inherited" is just too freakish for words. I can't figure out if they mean it literally, or if they mean that Clinton is responsible for all the security failures that led to it, ergo, he's responsible for 9/11.

Which, of course, wouldn't even be true, unless it was Clinton who ignored the PDB about flying planes into buildings, dismissed Richard Clarke as a crank, and who issued the famous 'you've covered your ass' comment.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2009-12-28 12:18PM | 0 recs
Not to Tout My Own Horn

but here's a golden oldie from November 30, 2009:

What's the Hold Up?

Well, in a word the GOP, the party of obstructionism. If you can't get your way, paralyze government. Here are some of the holdups:

Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky is holding the nomination of Miriam Sapiro for U.S. trade representative because the Canadian Parliament is considering a ban on adding candy flavorings to cigarettes; Senator George V. Voinovich is blocking Robert Perciasepe for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency because according to the Senator the agency is underestimating the cost per household of proposed climate-change legislation; and the master of obstructionism Senator Jim DeMint is holding up  the vote on Erroll Southers to head the Transportation Security Administration over concerns the nominee would undermine safety by allowing airport security screeners to unionize.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-28 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Blocking New Head of TSA

I hope every Dem comes out hitting the GOP with this.    Hey, the GOP senate is blocking the TSA chief and several other important people, helping to cause these breakdowns in security.  Who has the balls to say it.

BTW, the TSA is already rescinding the new laps/bathroom.    Apparently, its going to be left up to Pilot discretion.  

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:06PM | 0 recs


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