House Tells TSA To Fork Over $531,395.22 In Passengers’ Unclaimed Change

Unlike when you flip over the couch cushions and dig into the seats of your car looking for change, it’s not a finders keepers situation with the leftover nickels and dimes the Transportation Security Administration found in 2012. Those loose coins left behind by passengers totaled $531,395.22 in fiscal year 2012 and the House just voted on what to do with it.

No, the TSA will not get to keep it to fund Friday pizza parties or buy new vending machines for a sweet employee game room — the House voted yesterday to use the change to help fund military programs at airports.

In the past, the TSA had used the spare change for aviation security, as under current law it’s required to deposit that left behind money into a special fund that’s spent bolstering security. In March the TSA reported that it had spent $6,539.94 so far translating airport checkpoint signs into foreign languages, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Instead, the new legislation will now have that money go into nonprofits that provide nice place for Armed Forces members to sit back and relax when they’re going through our nation’s airports. It sounds like a nice idea — after all, if business travelers need a break from the stress in a comfy lounge, why not someone who also has a very stressful job get a place of respite?

“The TSA has been keeping the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from your change purse to pay for their bloated bureaucracy,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeff Miller (R., Fla.), said in a written statement Tuesday. “I would much rather see unclaimed change go to help military personnel on their way home from the battlefield.”

The Senate may or may not consider the bill, it’s not really clear at this point whether or not it’ll do so.

In the meantime, keep an eye on that pocketful of change you dumped into that plastic bin on the conveyor belt. It adds up.

House to TSA: Don’t Keep the Change [Wall Street Journal]