"By delaying this policy, the TSA is taking a solid, common sense step in the direction of safer skies," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who introduced legislation to force TSA to reverse its decision on allowing knives onto airplanes.
"This delay acknowledges that permitting knives on planes is a bad idea; now the TSA should go the rest of the way and end this flawed policy all together," Schumer said. "Anything less than a full reversal will be unsatisfactory for passengers and the hard working flight attendants, pilots, and air marshals who keep our planes safe every day.”
The proposal to change the TSA's rules would have resulted in small knives being allowed onto airplanes for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The agency had argued that making the change would have allowed airport screeners to focus on searching for potential explosive devices instead of looking to catch prohibited small knives.
The TSA's argument swayed few lawmakers, however. They argued that their constituents wanted to keep airplanes free of knives.
"The American public clearly saw that it is common sense to keep these potential weapons off our airplanes," Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "TSA’s recent decision is a step in the right direction in protecting American security, a priority we all share. I will continue to vigorously put pressure on TSA to keep the current no knives policy in place.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) agreed, saying the TSA should use the extra time granted by the delay to listen to stakeholders who vigorously opposed the agency's initial announcement.
"I am pleased that TSA listened to the flying public and the concerns we laid out and decided to delay the implementation of the proposed changes to the prohibited items list," Thompson said. "Now TSA can go through the established process, seek input from stakeholders and consult with the TSO workforce — so we can have a sensible security policy with stakeholder buy-in."
Thompson organized a group of 133 House members to write a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole calling for him to reverse the decision.