Almost 60 House members so far from both sides of the aisle have signed a letter co-authored by an East Bay lawmaker expressing concern about the new Transportation Security Administration policy allowing knives on planes.
TSA revised their prohibited items policy to allow certain knives and sports equipment in airplane cabins; the new policy is set to take effect on April 25. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. – ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee – are circulating the letter.
At a hearing yesterday, TSA Administrator John Pistole acknowledged his agency hadn’t properly engaged stakeholders like flight attendants before reaching its decision. The letter calls on TSA to withdraw the new policy until it has consulted adequately with flight attendants, pilots and transportation security officers.
“The support for our letter objecting to TSA’s decision by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle validates the general consensus that this is a foolish policy that could, in a worst-case scenario, seriously harm Americans,” Swalwell, a freshman member of the Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee, said in a news release. “Based on my conversation with Administrator Pistole yesterday at the Homeland Security Committee hearing, I am more convinced that TSA should not implement this policy.”
The letter is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees, the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, the Federal Flight Deck Officer Association and the National Association of Police Organizations. The letter will keep circulating through Tuesday; the only Bay Area member besides Swalwell to have signed it so far is Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa.
Here’s Swalwell questioning Pistole at yesterday’s hearing:
UPDATE @ 4:04 P.M. THURSDAY 3/21: 133 House members ended up signing this letter, including greater Bay Area Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Napa; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz; Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; and Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.