Airport Loose Change Bill

December 5, 2013 by  

Airport Loose Change Bill, The jingle of loose change abandoned at airport checkpoints might soon be sweet music to America’s military personnel.

The House passed a bill Tuesday that would require the Transportation Security Administration to give nonprofits such as the United Service Organization the approximately $500,000 in quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies collected every year at airport screening stations. The money would help finance airport programs that support service members as they trek from city to city.

The USO operates lounges in nearly 40 major airports that offer food and other amenities exclusively to military personnel.

“What may seem like a small amount of change left behind… actually amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year,” said GOP Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, lead sponsor of the TSA Loose Change Act. The bill “would ensure that thousands of coins, when bundled together, will be used in support of millions of our nation’s warriors.”

Miller, who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has introduced the bill for several years, but this is the first time it’s made it to the House floor. In a rare show of bipartisan support, the bill passed by voice vote without dissent.

The measure now heads to the Senate.

TSA agents collected more than $531,000 in cash – almost all of it in coin form, and about 6 percent of it in foreign currency – that travelers left behind at airport checkpoints in fiscal 2012, according to the most recent data provided by the agency.

That’s an increase over fiscal 2011 ($487,870) and 2010 ($409,086).

Miami International ($39,613), McCarran International serving Las Vegas ($26,900), and O’Hare International in Chicago ($22,116) collected the most change in fiscal 2012, TSA figures show.

But even at airports in smaller cities such as Pensacola, Fla., Des Moines, Iowa, and Reno, Nev., TSA agents emptied at least $1,000 from the plastic tubs passengers use prior to walking through metal detectors.

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