After the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas day, a months-old question for the Senate became a pressing concern for the public: Why is the Transportation Security Administration without an appointed director?
While President Obama did make a nomination to the spot — one Erroll Southers, a counterterrorism expert and former FBI special agent — Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has held up his appointment for months. His blockade of Southers’ nomination is apparently due to President Obama’s promise that he would push to allow TSA baggage screeners full union rights.
The objection being, if baggage screeners are allowed to negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions, it would somehow place national security at risk.
“DeMint’s objection creates a procedural hurdle that will probably take at least three days of debate and test votes to overcome,” The Washington Post reported.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has vowed to fast-track the nomination once the Senate returns to session in late January.
Supporters of allowing union rights at the TSA “point out that other workers deemed responsible for public safety—like police and firemen—are heavily unionized,” U.S. News and World Report noted in 2008. “And many other federal employees, including those who deal with national security like border patrol agents and customs officers, have the right to collectively bargain.”
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, DeMint defended his objection to the nomination, repeatedly insisting “there’s a reason” why the TSA is not allowed to unionize, but never really outlining what that reason is.
At one point, he even appeared to blame illegal immigration on labor unions.
“I think the American people should be aware that the priority of the administration is to submit our airport security to collective bargaining with the unions, even though that’s been prohibited since the agency was formed,” DeMint explained.
The reason it was prohibited, he said, is because the agency has “a constant need to adjust and to be flexible, to use imagination and to change things.”
“We cannot ask a third party union boss whether we can move a screener from one station to another,” DeMint added.
The American Federation of Government Employees disagrees with the senator.
“This is not an issue of security,” a group spokeswoman said, according to CNN. “There is no evidence that labor union rights have any effect on transportation security officers. This is a dedicated workforce who see their jobs as important to the security of the nation.”
“They point to union members who acted after 9/11 and the Fort Hood massacre as well,” the host said. “These were union members — firefighters, police officers — who essentially acted very quickly, and that your argument doesn’t hold water here.”
“The union boss that you were interviewing used the customs and border enforcement as an example,” DeMint said, though customs and border enforcement had not been mentioned during the segment. “We do have 12 million undocumented aliens in our country and that agency has also had to deal with all kinds of charges for changing prices for parking. They’re dealing with the collective bargaining of unions all the time and they’re not as effective as they should be.”
“John Gage, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told CNN earlier this month, ‘People who insinuate that being a union member has a nation security implication are just totally wrong,'” Pro Publica noted.
This video is from CNN, broadcast Dec. 29, 2009.
Trump impersonated a CNN anchor — and a US president — during epic meltdown at Texas speech
President Donald Trump offered multiple impersonations during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday.
Trump showed the crowd his impersonation of a president of the United States -- and a CNN anchor.
"No guns. No religion. No oil. No natural gas," Trump said. "Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas under those circumstances. Couldn’t do it."
In fact, Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas when he ran for president as the state refused to print any ballots with his name.
He then showed the audience two impersonations as part of his 87-minute speech.
"I used it to say, I can be more presidential. Look," Trump said, as he shuffled awkwardly on stage.
Maddow reveals Trump’s Ukraine scandal is also an attempt to ‘unblame’ Russia for 2016 interference
On MSNBC Thursday night, Rachel Maddow walked through an underreported aspect of the Ukraine scandal. When President Donald Trump dangled foreign aid in front of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he was not just demanding he dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — he was also demanding he help dig up information that would disprove the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation.
"This scheme that the president and Giuliani were enacting using the three amigos, Gordon Sondland, Rick Perry, and [Kurt] Volker, who has already resigned, the scheme was to hold up a White House meeting for this foreign leader unless he coughed up stuff that Trump could use for his re-election effort against Joe Biden," said Maddow. "And in addition to that, interestingly, he needed help unblaming Russia for the 2016 election attack."
Trump says Republicans ‘are all happy’ with his ‘deal’ to sell out the Kurds
President Donald Trump on claimed during a Thursday night campaign rally in Texas that "all" Republicans on Capitol Hill are "happy" with the deal he cut with Turkey that cave the country Kurdish land in Syria.
Trump praised Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their work on the deal, which has been blasted as ethnic cleansing.
"I took a lot of heat, even from some of our congressmen, some of our senators," Trump admitted.
"But now they're all happy," he argued.
"I am happy with them," he added. "I am happy with them."