Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836
TSA Abandons Policy After Outcry from Congress, Flight Attendants, Pilots, Law Enforcement, Airlines; Bi-partisan Grimm-Markey Amendment Looms Tonight on Homeland Security Bill
WASHINGTON (June 5, 2013) – Following months of outrage from nearly every corner of the aviation community, and with an amendment looming tonight to block the policy, the Transportation Security Administration today abandoned their proposed policy to allow small knives into the passenger cabins of planes. Led by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), bipartisan support in Congress grew for their amendment that is set to be voted on tonight on the Homeland Security funding bill. Ahead of that vote, TSA head John Pistole finally acquiesced to the outcry and groundswell of opposition in Congress and cancelled the proposed plan.
“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.”
“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 position.”
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, along with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the Senate, immediately opposed the policy. Days after the proposed change, Markey and Grimm introduced legislation to eliminate the policy. Two weeks ago, Markey and Grimm, along with more than 140 of their colleagues, sent a letter to Pistole asking him to keep the current rules in place that prohibit knives and other potential weapons from being brought into plane passenger cabins.
The policy was eventually opposed by the major unions representing pilots, flight attendants, TSA screeners, law enforcement agents, and by many of the major airlines.
# # #