Following months of outrage from nearly every corner of the aviation community, and with an amendment looming tonight to block the policy, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) today abandoned its proposed policy to allow small knives into the passenger cabins of planes. Reps. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have gained growing bipartisan support for their "No Knives on Planes" amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, that is set to be voted on tonight. Ahead of that vote, TSA head John Pistole finally acquiesced to the outcry and groundswell of opposition in Congress and cancelled the proposed plan.
"Today, our calls to keep knives off planes have been heard!" said Rep. Grimm. "TSA's decision to uphold the knife ban is not only smart policy, but will ensure that we continue to maintain the highest levels of safety for passengers and flight crews. In a post-9/11 world, we must always put safety first, and I commend the TSA for reversing its irresponsible decision for one that is smart and prudent."
"This is a victory for every single person who sets foot on a plane, and a reaffirmation that the government listens to the people," said Rep. Markey. "The bi-partisan effort to stop this rule change, and the grassroots movement among pilots, flight attendants, law enforcement and TSA screeners, was successful because this rule change was wrong from the start. I commend TSA Administrator Pistole for listening to the opposition to this policy, and for having the courage to reverse course."
TSA originally proposed the rule change in March of 2013, expanding the list of accepted items to small knives, golf clubs, small baseball bats, and other items. Reps. Markey and Grimm immediately opposed the policy. Days after the proposed change, Markey and Grimm introduced legislation to eliminate the policy.
The policy was eventually opposed by the major union representing pilots, flight attendants, TSA screeners, law enforcement agents, and by many of the major airlines.
Reps. Grimm and Markey still plan to introduce their amendment this evening to ensure that there will not be another reversal in the TSA's position regarding knives on planes.
The "No Knives on Planes" amendment prohibits the use of funds appropriated in this bill from being used to implement changes to the list of sharp objects prohibited by TSA. In essence, it will add an extra level of protection to block the use of funds to lift the ban on knives on planes.