12/07/2013 01:49 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2013

The TSA Found More Than $500,000 In Loose Change. Now What?

Last year, the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) made over $500,000 in loose change that travelers left behind at airport checkpoints. Now, there's a legislative battle over who gets that half million in funds.

In its "Unclaimed Money At Airports" report, which was released earlier this year, the travel safety agency announced that it had collected a whopping $531,395.22 in pocket change from harried travelers. The amount represented a $44,000 increase from 2011, according to USA Today.

Under current law, the TSA is permitted to simply spend the money on itself. But a new bill, called The TSA Loose Change Act (H.R. 1095), which was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R - Fla.) in March and passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, would instead direct the money towards building rest and recuperation areas at U.S. airports for members of the military.

“I would much rather see unclaimed change go to help military personnel on their way home from the battlefield,” Miller said, according to a press release on his website. “The lost change should be put to good use, and I know that the thousands of coins will have a positive impact on millions of our nation’s warriors."

But Miller and his supporters have had difficulties implementing their proposal. The Congressional Budget Office estimated an earlier version of the bill would have cost $1 million to put into action, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The current version will cost less, however, because it doesn't deal with any money the TSA collected in past years, the outlet notes.

H.R. 1095 now heads to the U.S. Senate.



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