Shuster Bill Would Outlaw Cell Phones in Airplanes

Rep. Bill Shuster
Rep. Bill Shuster

Representative Bill Shuster (R-Blair) proposed another piece of legislation that could be as popular as his water redevelopment bill earlier this year.

Shuster will bring forth a bill that would outlaw phone calls during air travel. This comes after the FCC announced it might lift the ban on in-flight telephone conversations. The agency said that the airlines could each decided their own cell phone policy. The Southwestern PA legislator felt that this would be an unacceptable step in airplane safety and leisure.

“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined. For the most part, passengers are looking for ways to make their flights go by as quickly and quietly as possible. Pilots and flight attendants are focused on ensuring a safe and comfortable flight for everyone onboard.”

His bill will be known as the Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013. Shuster is the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives.

Two months ago, the FAA began allowing electronic devices to be used during take offs and landings. Shuster said he does not oppose this option.

“For passengers, being able to use their phones and tablets to get online or send text messages is a useful in-flight option. But if passengers are going to be forced to listen to the gossip in the aisle seat, it’s going to make for a very long flight.”

A flight attendant’s union, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, voiced their approval for Shuster’s proposition. In addition, a YouGov/Huffington Post poll found that Americans would prefer to prohibit phone conversations on flights than not, 49% to 31%.

Shuster is no stranger to handling changes in the airline industry. Over the summer, he endorsed oil and gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport to reduce the airport’s debt. He also observed construction at Philadelphia International Airport earlier this year with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delaware).
Shuster faces a Tea Party challenger in the 2014 primary. Art Halvorson, an entrepreneur, condemned Shuster’s Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 as “liberal economic policy” and that voters could expect more central planning. The water bill passed the house 417-3. Businessman Travis Schooley has also criticized Shuster’s conservatism, but hasn’t made any moves to jump into the primary.

11 Responses

  1. @king of spades

    This is clearly going nowhere, but just for the H@-$ of it. If military service was a prerequisite for public service to you, I’m sure you wouldn’t support Rand Paul over John McCain in a hypothetical matchup. And we all know you would.

    Secondly, I’m sure (particularly after watching Halverson freak out over a lone cameraman) the Shuster is very much looking forward to a debate.

    Thirdly, I’m a huge fan of our military and those that serve in it, but it consistently amazes me how many “limited government” tea party types spent their entire careers working for the government. I see it locally, at the state level, as well as nationally. Simply amazes me.

  2. @Frank-

    I for one think that Shuster’s repeated refusals to debate Halvorson are far bigger indicator of who lacks the fortitude to do the job. If Bill is such a fighter for us in Washington, why is he afraid to defend his record against a political newcomer like Halvorson?

    And furthermore, I don’t question the courage of a man who spent his career serving our country in the armed forces, which is yet another qualification that Bill Shuster doesn’t have. .

  3. @king of spades

    I said nothing of supporting anyone. I’m simply making the point that Halverson seems not to have the temperment for this level of public office. High ground or not, if he can’t handle some 20 year old with a video camera, how will he handle the swarms of media that will inevitably be a permanent part of his life should he get the job?

  4. @ Frank

    He has more business there than a slimy used car salesman who inherited the seat from his equally corrupt father. I’d love to see the way you’d react to a stranger following you around and videotaping everything you did.

    If you Shuster backers really think that Bill is claiming some kind of moral high ground by hiring thugs to harass his opponents, you’re sadly mistaken.

  5. Question for you King of Spades. Isn’t Halverson the guy who recently was so shaken by some kid with a video camera that he felt compelled to call 911 and report a “stalker”? I’m not sure a guy with skin that this has any business in Congress, do you?

  6. @Denny-

    I’ve never used my cell on an airplane in my life, nor would I “cause a scene” if I was told not to.

    My point was that this is just another example government trying to micromanage rather than letting the individual airlines decide for themselves what their policy will be based on their customers’ preferences. Aren’t there some carriers that cater more to business travel that would be negatively affected by this? This has nothing to do with health or safety; it’s simply about preventing some people from potentially being annoyed, which is not the government’s place. If your customers are irritated, they’ll go elsewhere. Let the airlines deal with it.

    And as for Mr. Shuster, he campaigns hard on being a limited-government, free market conservative but has acted as a statist from the day he was installed in Congress by his daddy.

  7. The bill is a good bill. The idiot calling its author a “clown” probably blabs at football-stadium decibel levels when bragging about his life via cell phone. I don’t care to hear it or him, but I have to make my flight plans based on timing, cost, etc. I don’t need or want this extra hassle to try to avoid. Plus if it isn’t universal, idiots (see above) will cause scenes on airplanes. I’m no Shuster fan, but this is a good bill.

  8. Is this really the most important thing this clown has to do in Washington? Shouldn’t the airlines just be able to make their own policies if they think it’s necessary?

    Just one more on a LONG list of reasons to ditch the Shuster dynasty and elect Art Halvorson!

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