Senate approves new TSA chief

The Senate approved a new Transportation Security Administration administrator in the wake of reports that TSA agents failed to find fake bombs and weapons in internal tests at almost all of America's busiest airports. 

The Senate voted 81-1 on Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger's nomination to take over the embattled agency. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the lone "no" vote. 
 
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Though he was nominated before the reports of the failed tests came out, Neffenger faced questions about the incident during his nomination hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 
 
He told lawmakers at the time that the reports of the failed bomb tests "disturbs me." 
 
The committee, as well as the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, approved Neffenger's nomination earlier this month, and he received bipartisan support ahead of the Senate's vote on Monday. 
 
Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Rick Scott threatens to delay national security nominees until Biden visits border Senate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees MORE (D-Del.), the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ranking member, called the reports "unacceptable," but added that "one of the ways we can help [TSA agents] do their jobs better is by voting in support of the president's nominee." 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection Black lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory Graham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' MORE (R-Ky.) said Monday's vote would offer "long-overdue permanent leadership to the agency in urgent need of reform and culture change." 
 
"I wish the White House hadn’t waited six months to send us a nominee to lead this troubled agency; but now that the Administration finally has, we’re glad to see it’s a highly qualified candidate like Peter Neffenger," he added. 
 
Neffenger will be the agency's first full-time administrator since John Pistole resigned. Melvin Carraway, the agency's acting administrator, was removed from office after the findings became public. 

Before being nominated to take over TSA, Neffenger played a high-profile role in the Obama administration’s response to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as the Coast Guard’s deputy national incident commander. 

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio Russia threatens to leave International Space Station program over US sanctions Nikki Fried, only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, launches challenge to DeSantis MORE (D-Fla.) said that Neffenger "exhibited strong leadership then, and I believe he will give that leadership to an agency that needs that strong leadership now." 

The Senate also confirmed Daniel Elliott III by a voice vote to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board.