Senate Confirms Neffenger to Rescue TSA

 Peter Neffenger testifies on Capitol Hill earlier this month before the Senate Homeland Security committee hearing on his nomination to head the TSA Peter Neffenger testifies on Capitol Hill earlier this month before the Senate Homeland Security committee hearing on his nomination to head the TSA Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The Senate on Monday voted 81-1 to confirm Peter Neffenger as the nation’s sixth administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.

A 30-year Coast Guard veteran who leaves that service as vice commandant, Neffenger will be sworn in at a time when TSA has been jolted by poor performance on an airport passenger screening test and poor vetting of workers.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday said he has the “utmost faith” in Neffenger, calling him “an effective operator and commander.”

Neffenger, a former Coast Guard budget officer who served in Los Angeles and the Great Lakes region, was also welcomed by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, who said he “brings the depth of experience that TSA desperately needs.”

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 45,000 TSA employees, issued a statement saying it “looks forward to working with Administrator Neffenger to improve passenger safety at airports across the country.” The union urged him to “explore new opportunities to strengthen morale among frontline employees through improvements in the workplace rights of TSA employees. We are certain that with a positive labor-management relationship, we can foster a healthy working environment for TSOs and continue providing valuable services to the flying public.”

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