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Minnesota Public Radio - Cravaack: Don't Cut Funds for Arming Pilots

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By Brett Neely

Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack has come out against an Obama administration proposal to cut funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer program.

It was created after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and allows trained airline pilots to carry weapons on board planes to protect against hijacking.

At a speech Friday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, Cravaack said the program -- which he participated in when he flew for Northwest Airlines -- was valuable.

"They're one of the most cost-effective ways to both to reduce risk, increase deterrence and also respond to the safety of passengers and the flying public," he said.

But the Transportation Security Agency has been critical of the program and says it doesn't fit with its approach to airline safety. It wants to cut the programs funding in half to $12 million a year.

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