Commentary: TSA boss should be confirmed

The Miami HeraldJanuary 1, 2010 

Maybe it wouldn't have affected the Christmas Day terrorist's attempt to down a Northwest Airlines plane near Detroit if the Transportation Safety Administration had a top boss. Maybe.

We'll never know because Senate confirmation of President Obama's nominee to head the TSA has been held up by one individual, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. When Senate leaders tried to approve the nomination of Erroll Southers this month, Mr. DeMint exercised a senator's power to put a hold on a presidential nomination's confirmation.

This arcane power of a single senator to hold up an important appointment, sometimes for months, is unseemly for the legislative body charged with giving the White House ``advice and consent'' on foreign policy and other issues.

Mr. DeMint worries that TSA employees may be allowed to unionize, something he opposes. So, like other senators before him on both sides of the aisle, Mr. DeMint blocked the confirmation vote. Florida Sen. George LeMieux pulled the same stunt this fall and froze the confirmation process for Tom Shannon, a veteran Foreign Service officer nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Brazil.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.

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