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April 23, 2013

TSA Announces Delay in Knife Policy

(WASHINGTON) – Last night, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a delay in changing their prohibited items list. The current policy, which prohibits certain knives on-board airplanes, will remain in effect. This welcome news comes after 133 Members of Congress wrote John S. Pistole, Administrator of TSA, expressing serious concern and urging the withdrawal of the policy because of TSA's failure to formally engage stakeholders, particularly front-line workers impacted by this policy, and the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC).

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on TSA's announcement:

The decision to delay implementation of the proposed changes to the prohibited items list is a step in the right direction and I am pleased that Administrator Pistole listened to the flying public and Congressional concerns. Now TSA can go through the established process, seek input from stakeholders and consult with the TSO workforce to assess the impact of a policy change and arrive at a decision which will promote sensible security policy and has the benefit of stakeholder participation.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Ranking Member of the Committee's Transportation Security Subcommittee, released the following statement:

This announcement is a positive step on Administrator Pistole's part to finally make amends for TSA's prior failure and shows they are willing to alter their approach to engage stakeholders in policy decisions. I am pleased TSA has decided to join the members of this committee and the general public by recognizing that stakeholder input is essential.

Rep. Eric Swawell (D-CA), Member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, added the following statement: Today's announcement by TSA is welcome news for airline passengers and crews. I appreciate that TSA Administrator Pistole listened to the 133 Members of Congress who signed our letter asking for this reversal in policy, stakeholders like pilots and flight attendants, and the general public who oppose this decision. This delay in implementation is a positive step by the Administrator that will allow stakeholders to have their rightful input into a decision that directly affects their safety and that of the flying public.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, released the following statement: I commend Administrator Pistole for his decision to delay implementation of changes to the PIL, which keeps knives off airplanes. The delay in implementation will benefit key stakeholders, including frontline workers, who will be afforded a meaningful opportunity to express their concerns and participate in a decision making process that will yield the best results for all stakeholders in the air transit industry. As part of the 133 coalition of members who first wrote to TSA and as author of H.Res 156, I have been an ardent supporter of further engagement with stakeholders, including passengers, flight attendants, air marshals and the airlines.

Previous letters:

Second letter to TSA

First letter to TSA

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Media Contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978
(Richmond) Monique Waters at (202) 225-6636
(Swalwell) Allison Bormel at (202) 225-5065
(Jackson Lee) Mike McQuerry at (202) 225-3816