Lawmakers in House push bill to block TSA from allowing knives on flights

A group of House members is introducing legislation to block the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from allowing small knives on airplanes.

The lawmakers announced on Wednesday that they would pursue an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would block the TSA from using funding on the knives proposal.

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The TSA had pushed earlier this spring to unilaterally remove knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches from its list of prohibited items, but delayed enacting the plan after pushback from lawmakers, who raised concerns about terrorist attacks if knives are allowed on planes for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.

The lawmakers who sponsored the amendment, Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Paul Cook (R-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), cited the widespread opposition in a "dear colleague" letter announcing the amendment.

"Flight attendants, pilots, air marshals, TSA screeners, airlines, and the American public are all opposed to TSA’s proposed change to the prohibited items list that would allow small knives onboard passenger airplanes for the first time since September 11, 2001," the lawmakers wrote.

"Despite this groundswell of objection, TSA remains determined to go forward with this wrongheaded, dangerous, and irresponsible policy," the letter continued. "Vote yes on the Grimm-Markey funds limitation amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill to prevent TSA from allowing knives on planes and to keep our skies safe."

The TSA has argued that removing knives from its prohibited items list would allow airport security screeners to focus on searching for explosive devices.

The agency initially resisted pressure from lawmakers to reverse the knife decision, but announced it was delaying the implementation of the policy in April.