No One On Capitol Hill Agrees With TSA Decision To Allow Small Knives

Some want more restrictions, some want fewer — but almost no one is satisfied. “It is a nonsensical policy,” Rep. Markey says. posted on

Elaine Thompson, File / AP

WASHINGTON — Bipartisanship may be a dead art most days on Capitol Hill, but there’s at least one thing everyone agrees on — Transportation Security Administration’s recent decision to allow some small knives on airplanes is terrible.

Their reasons for hating the decision vary — some think it’s not far enough, others think TSA has gone too far — but everyone is united in their dislike of the new rule.

“It is a nonsensical policy, it is a contradictory policy, it is a dangerous policy,” Democratic Rep. Ed Markey Thursday during a press event outside the Capitol with a group of flight attendants . “Al Qaeda will simply move to the Swiss Army knife from the box cutter.”

The policy has been roundly criticized on the Hill on both sides of the spectrum, from those who would continue the ban on small knives to those who think other banned items, such as shampoo, should be permitted.

Echoing Markey’s stance, Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg said in a statement, “The new TSA policy to allow additional weapons on airplanes could further exacerbate ongoing security problems at airports in New Jersey and across the country rather than reduce them.”

But other lawmakers balked at the notion that small knives, with blades no longer than roughly two inches, would be allowed on planes before liquids, and while infants and the elderly are still searched extensively by TSA.

“To me, I think it’s still disproportionate,” said Republican Rep. John Fleming. “If you’re going to allow knives on board, I think that there’s a lot of other things you should have relaxed first before you allow knives.”

“I think they go overboard with testing fluids,” Fleming added. “I have a grandson with cystic fibrosis, and he had fluids in the baggage that they were bringing on board, and they went through all their stuff, …and that’s totally overboard.”

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