Jeff Miller Bill Passes House: Moving Unclaimed Airport Cash from TSA to Veterans

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: December 6, 2013 3:55 AM
Security Checkpoint

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed by voice vote a bill from U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., to ensure that unclaimed money from aiport security checkpoints will go to support veterans instead of to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Currently, the TSA collects the money and keeps it as part of its budget.

Miller, the chairman of the House Veterans Committee who has represented the Panhandle in Congress since 2000, drafted the bill so the unclaimed monies go to nonprofit organizations which help veterans at airports, such as the United Services Organization (USO), instead of remaining with the TSA.

“The TSA has been keeping the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from your change purse to pay for their bloated bureaucracy,” said Miller on Thursday. “If TSA representatives get to play ‘finders keepers’ with your hard-earned cash, what’s the incentive to try to get the loose change to its rightful owners?”

In 2012, more than $531,000 was collected by the TSA at airport security spots, up by more than $40,000 from 2011. More than $39,600, the most from any location, of the monies in 2012 came from Miami International Airport.

Miller said the monies would be better used to help veterans instead of going to the TSA.

“I would much rather see unclaimed change go to help military personnel on their way home from the battlefield,” Miller said. “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.”

The bill cleared the U.S. Homeland Security Committee last month and now heads to the U.S. Senate.

Miller gathered more than 40 co-sponsors from both parties including U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla. On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said she would back the the bill.

“Working to provide the maximum amount of comfort at the airport, a place not known for its calm and serenity, to military families, who have sacrificed so much, is one small step we can take to repay them for their dedication to our nation,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The traveling public deserves nothing less than our best efforts to improve our airports and transportation systems.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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