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August 30, 2015

Schumer Wins in TSA Knife Fight

While Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is busy advocating for comprehensive immigration reform in front of a Beltway audience, he’s not too busy to push the parochial issues in New York that always have been his bread and butter.

This week, Schumer quietly scored two policy victories, the first over the National Park Service and the second over the Transportation Security Administration. The Park Service on Monday reversed its decision to screen visitors on Ellis and Liberty islands rather than Manhattan, and on Wednesday, the TSA announced it would change course and continue its ban on small knives on planes.

And though the Senate Democrats’ messaging lieutenant is better known in D.C. for his appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, it’s his bully pulpit from his New York-based Sunday Morning Press Conference™ that still seems to work best.

“It seemed obvious to most travelers and airline employees that the decision to allow knives on planes was wrong, and we’re glad the TSA, after further review and input, has seen it our way. This decision will allow TSA agents to focus on more important things than measuring the length of knives, and sorting the ‘good’ knives from the ‘bad’. Their move is the right one, and I’d like to thank them to listening to our input and the input of the flying public,” Schumer said in a statement Wednesday.

Schumer wasn’t the only lawmaker who pushed the TSA to reverse course. Reps. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., for example, put out a press release Wednesday noting the move came shortly before the House was to vote on an amendment overturning the knife decision. However, it was Schumer who seemed to have the loudest bullhorn on the issue.

On March 10, he was addressing reporters on the issue while wielding a knife.

Similarly, two Sundays ago, Schumer appeared before the media near the ferry terminals of Battery Park, decrying the Park Service’s disagreement with the New York Police Department and Mayor’s Office on where to screen Statue of Liberty visitors. The top tourist destination is scheduled to reopen for the Fourth of July holiday for the first time since Superstorm Sandy.

Who knows? Maybe the next Big Apple topic on tap will be to find a way to assist the Yankees in dumping the last five years of Alex Rodriguez’s contract. WGDB bets there are plenty of great places for TV shots near the stadium and certainly many important lessons the Senator could impart.

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