Pressure growing on DeMint over TSA hold

The senator's been blocking confirmation of a new head for the agency, and is getting attention for it now

By Alex Koppelman
December 29, 2009 8:20PM (UTC)
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As detailed in this space Monday, there's a reason that the Transportation Security Administration is without a permanent head, and that reason's name is Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. DeMint has a hold on the nomination of Erroll Southers, one he put on because he's concerned that the administration will allow security screeners to use collective bargaining procedures.

These kinds of holds are often the sort of thing that senators like kept quiet -- hence the anonymous nature of many of them. DeMint's not one to do anything quietly, and he'd gotten coverage for this hold previously. But in the wake of the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253, he's getting some attention for the hold, and it's not a good kind of press for him or his fellow Senate Republicans.

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Many major outlets have stories on DeMint's hold Tuesday -- the Washington Post has one, as does the Los Angeles Times. McClatchy has one, too, headlined, "Who's running the TSA? No one, thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint." Not the kind of headline anyone wants about themselves.

For now, DeMint's office says the senator won't drop the hold. But don't be surprised if you see some pressure from other Senate Republicans leading to Southers' confirmation soon enough.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Jim Demint R-s.c. Transportation Security Administration