Star Tribune: Cravaack wants more money to arm pilots U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack is challenging the Transportation Security Administration and the White House over potential cuts to a program that arms airline pilots as the last line of defense against hijackers. As part of its Department of Homeland Security budget, the U.S. House this summer passed a Cravaack amendment that would increase funding for armed-pilot training by $10 million. The Republican-backed House bill takes aim at the TSA and White House proposal to slash funding by half, a move spurred by one key fact: No pilot has used a gun on an airplane in the decade since Congress approved the program.During his time as a commercial pilot for Northwest Airlines, Cravaack, R-Minn., says he packed a pistol as a member of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program. As he pushes for a boost in funding, Cravaack has spent the spring and summer telling his colleagues in Congress that trained, armed pilots are a necessary security backstop....Cravaack's amendment would boost the training budget to $35.5 million by pulling funds from TSA payroll and maintenance accounts. He says underfunding in the armed-pilot program has left a backlog of willing volunteers waiting for background checks.