A House Republican wants to cut short the debate on whether to allow cellphone calls during airline flights with a bill that would ban them.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., on Monday introduced the "Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications and Mobile Wireless Devices Act," which would outlaw most cellphone calls during commercial domestic flights.
Shuster's bill was drafted in response to the Federal Communications Commission's decision to consider allowing cellphones to be used on planes flying above 10,000 feet.
"The FCC is considering whether advances in technology no longer warrant, on a technological basis, the prohibition of in-flight mobile phone use," the FCC noted. "This is purely a technical decision. It would leave airlines free to develop any in-flight phone usage policy they may wish."
But there has been much resistance to the FCC proposal, including pushback from airline flight attendants who fear being forced to police passengers angered by a neighbor's loud cellphone call.
Shuster said that would distract flight attendants and pilots focused on passenger safety.
“For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone,” Shuster said.
The bill would exempt flight crew and any federal law enforcement officials "acting in an official capacity."