(CNN) -- There were some heated exchanges on Capitol Hill Thursday as members of Congress squared off with the head of the Transportation Security Administration concerning his call to allow small knives on plans.
The head of the Transportation Security Adminstration John Pistole has taken harsh criticism for his decision on March 5, allowing small knives on planes, while the limit on liquids you can carry on a plane remains in effect.
Pistole restated his position saying, “A small pocketknife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft, an improvised explosive device will. And we know from internal covert testing searching for these items which will not blow up an aircraft can distract our security officers from focusing on the components of an IED."
But Pistole hasn’t been able to tamp down the uproar.
"This is a big deal and I am trying to figure out how this could not be perceived as something potentially dangerous to the people on planes," Rep. Bennie Thompson, (D) Mississippi.
Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee wants the TSA to rethink their decision.
“You need to stop this now! These cause bleeding. These cause injury. These could cause a terrible tragedy and I don't want to take it to the next length, it can possibly cause someone to lose their life," Jackson Lee said.
"The fact is - there are so many objects already on flights that can cause the type of harm you're talking about," countered Pistole.
Three airlines and the Flight Attendants Association don’t think it’s a good idea either.
"We have to help deescalate conflicts on board and sometimes we even have to ask passengers to help us contain those conflicts. If you introduce a weapon into that scenario it is not helpful at all,” Sarah Nelson, VP, Association of Flight Attendants.