Every year, travelers leave half a million dollars at airport security checkpoints. Maybe it’s a tip for Americans to show their appreciation for all the fine work the Transportation Security Administration does. Or maybe people just don’t want to carry the coins anymore, and the checkpoints present the perfect opportunity to dump the pocket weights on some other poor sucker.
Either way, TSA has appreciated the donations. Under current law, the agency can retain and spend whatever money is left unclaimed to augment its annual appropriations, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In each of the past two years, that amounted to about $500,000.
Not a bad haul for an agency that constantly operates under the threat of budget cuts.
A group of House Republicans wants to regulate how that money is spent, however, and has introduced legislation that would require the spare change to go to charities that “provide certain travel-related assistance to military personnel and their families.” The subcommittee with oversight of TSA has approved the bill.
For now, TSA will be counting every last penny. Literally.