House steals TSA's loose change

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The House voted Tuesday to require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to spend unclaimed money collected at airport security checkpoints on airport lounges for the military.

Members approved the TSA Loose Change Act, H.R. 1095, in a voice vote after a quick debate in which both parties supported the bill.

TSA currently collects about $500,000 a year in unclaimed money from security checkpoints. But Congress found earlier this year that TSA has not spent much of that money that was collected in 2012.

"TSA is currently authorized to keep the money for its own use, but the agency's been slow to spend it, and already receives $7 billion towards its operations every year," said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

"I believe this bill is a unique opportunity to put that loose change to better use by spending on airport centers that provide our military heroes with a more relaxing and comfortable experience when they travel."

Today, only the United Services Organizations is operating airport lounges for military service members and their families. The legislation asks TSA to expand the number of groups providing these lounges.

The bill is one of three the House was considering related to TSA today. The second is the Transportation Acquisition Security Reform Act, H.R. 2719, which would require TSA to establish best practices guidelines for buying security technology, a requirement aimed at reducing waste at the agency.

The third is the Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act, which would create a new industry advisory committee with which TSA would have to consult when devising security policies.

Roll call votes on those two bills will take place in the mid-afternoon Tuesday.