ACOSTA: There is plenty punting going on in Washington, John. Hearings on the Detroit scare are planned for early next month, and the top Republican on that committee has already said there should have been a big red flag next to the suspect's name, and there are plenty of other issues, such as Guantanamo. Republicans are saying the president should shelve his plan to close Guantanamo at this point, John.Oh, OK. "Absolutely essential" appointments are held up, one being the chief of the Transportation Security Administration blocked by "the very conservative Senator from South Carolina."
ROBERTS: So, shelve Guantanamo, but, at the same time, the president is trying to get some of his key appointments filled. They're being held up. And some of the key appointments that are still vacant are ones that are absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining security at our airports and on our jetliners.
ACOSTA: That's right. Those men and women at the airport wearing the blue shirts that say TSA, they don't have a full-time, permanent boss at this point. The temporary head of the TSA is a holdover from the Bush administration and, right now, the - the current appointee from the Obama administration to take the head of the TSA, a man by the name of Erroll Southers, he is still waiting to - to get his appointment confirmed. He is currently the assistant chief for the LAX Police Department, the Los Angeles International Airport out there in California, and his duties are head of Intelligence and Homeland Security. But, at this point, that nomination is on hold by Jim DeMint, the very conservative Senator from South Carolina. He's opposed to unionizing - fully unionizing the TSA, something that Southers apparently wants to do.
What Roberts and Acosta failed to report was that Barack Obama's selection for the post, Erroll Southers, was, according to the Library of Congress's Web site, nominated by Obama barely three months ago, on September 17. Moreover, the nomination wasn't reported out of the Democratic-controlled Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs until November 19. That isn't a great deal of time in a Senate where nominations can - and have - languished for years.
Additionally, it isn't as though the Republican senator's hold couldn't be broken with a modicum of effort. In today's "Republican senator DeMint holds up nomination for TSA chief" by Margaret Talev of McClatchy Newspapers and appearing on the Washington Post's Web site, she notes:
DeMint's objection creates a procedural hurdle that will probably take at least three days of debate and test votes to overcome.
It took Obama almost eight months to nominate someone to the TSA post. It would take possibly as few as three days for the Democrats to push it through the Senate. Yet somehow it's all that "very conservative" Senator DeMint's fault. Heck, maybe he's personally responsible for the Christmas terrorist attempt.
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