Sen. DeMint Is Outraged That TSA Members Could Get Collective Bargaining Rights

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December, 29 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, GUEST HOST: The president expected to make a statement any moment now on that failed Detroit airliner attack. He should announce new details of the ongoing investigation. When the president does make that statement, you will hear it here on Fox. Well, now to more on that failed bomb attack, and the finger-pointing begins full-throttle.

Welcome, everybody. I am Brian Sullivan, in once again for Neil. And this is "Your World."

And it is politics as usual in Washington, as the botched bombing of Northwest Flight 253 reignites the debate over who holds the top spot at the Transportation Security Administration. Right now, almost a year since the president took office, no one does. Former FBI special agent Erroll Southers is the president's nominee, but he has yet to be confirmed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office now blaming, "Republican obstructionism," calling actions by my next guest disgraceful.

With us now, Republican Senator Jim DeMint. He wants assurances that Southers will not unionize the TSA if confirmed.

Senator, welcome to "Your World." What is your issue with Southers, the TSA and the potential unionization of it?

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Brian, thank you. And merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

SULLIVAN: Thank you.

DEMINT: The president has downplayed the threat of terror since he took office, and he waited eight months to even nominate Mr. Southers for this position. And then he wanted him approved in secret with no debate and no recorded vote in the Senate.

And this is all in the context of the president promising the unions that he will submit our airport security to collective bargaining with union bosses.

This is the last thing we need to do right now. Our airport security needs to have massive flexibility, the ability to move people around and change protocols. And it makes absolutely no sense to submit the security of our airports and the passengers here in this country to collective bargaining with unions.

SULLIVAN: So your concern, Senator, is that, if we need to make some sudden, rapid change, it could get hamstrung with the union interference?

DEMINT: It certainly could, and that's why we don't allow collective bargaining with the FBI, with the Secret Service or CIA, or even White House and congressional staff or the Coast Guard.

I mean, security requires constant vigilance and imagination, trying to outmaneuver or outthink the terrorists. We don't need to put our airport security under the same type of regimen as the automakers had. And this makes absolutely no sense. And when I asked Secretary Napolitano, who has made it clear she wants to submit to collective bargaining, she could not give me one reason how this could improve the security of our airports.

SULLIVAN: Do you feel that Mr. Southers is qualified for the job?

DEMINT: He may be qualified, but not to be passed in secret. And just for clarification, Brian, Senator Reid could bring him up for a vote any time. I would be willing to let them limit the debate to a few hours, but we need to have some debate to point out that the protocols that were established for security agencies is going to be changed, because we didn't allow that when the agency was formed because we knew that collective bargaining would slow down the decision process and jeopardize security.

SULLIVAN: Then what is the holdup?

There seems to be plenty of time to debate everything else in Washington? Why not this?

DEMINT: The fact that we used the last several weeks of Congress to try to jam through a health care bill pushed a lot of other priorities aside.

Now, the president or Senator Reid have not made this a priority. Senator Reid has not asked me for any kind of agreement so that we could move this to the floor. The only thing they have asked for, Brian, is to pass it by unanimous consent in secret so no one will be exposed to the debate about what is really at stake here. We cannot allow them, by unanimous consent, to move ahead with the unionization and collective bargaining of our airport security.

SULLIVAN: Very quickly, do you believe that Janet Napolitano should step down?

DEMINT: I have not asked for her resignation, and I will let others deal with that. But I do think that this politicizing security is a real problem in this administration. There is absolutely no good reason to submit security to collective bargaining with union bosses.

SULLIVAN: Senator Jim DeMint, sir, thank you very much for joining us. Have a happy New Year. We'll see you again soon.

DEMINT: Thank you, Brian.

SULLIVAN: Take care.

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