A-13759, APRIL 8, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 810

A-13759: Apr 8, 1926

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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION - PERMANENT LEGISLATION A PROVISION CONTAINED IN AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO BE PERMANENT LEGISLATION UNLESS THE LANGUAGE USED THEREIN OR THE NATURE OF THE PROVISION RENDERS IT CLEAR THAT SUCH WAS THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS. " DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PERMANENT LEGISLATION AND IS LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1926. IS CONTINUING LEGISLATION: THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SHALL BE THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT AND MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY TO SIGN OFFICIAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS. THE PARAGRAPH QUOTED IS A PART OF THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30.

A-13759, APRIL 8, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 810

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION - PERMANENT LEGISLATION A PROVISION CONTAINED IN AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO BE PERMANENT LEGISLATION UNLESS THE LANGUAGE USED THEREIN OR THE NATURE OF THE PROVISION RENDERS IT CLEAR THAT SUCH WAS THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS. THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1142, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, THAT THE CHIEF CLERK "SHALL BE THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT AND MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY TO SIGN OFFICIAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS," DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PERMANENT LEGISLATION AND IS LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1926.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 8, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 30, 1926, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE FOLLOWING PROVISION OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1142, IS CONTINUING LEGISLATION:

THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SHALL BE THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT AND MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY TO SIGN OFFICIAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS, INCLUDING THE AUTHORIZATION OF EXPENDITURES FROM THE CONTINGENT AND OTHER APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT, ITS BUREAUS AND OFFICES, SECTION 3683 OF THE REVISED STATUTES TO THE CONTRARY NOTWITHSTANDING.

THE PARAGRAPH QUOTED IS A PART OF THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1926, AND IS EMBRACED IN THAT SECTION OF SAID ACT PROVIDING FOR THE SALARIES OF THE SECRETARY, ASSISTANT SECRETARIES, AND FOR OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

THE SAME PROVISION WAS INCORPORATED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 391.

THE RULE IS THAT A PROVISION CONTAINED IN AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO BE PERMANENT LEGISLATION UNLESS THE LANGUAGE USED THEREIN OR THE NATURE OF THE PROVISION RENDERS IT CLEAR THAT SUCH WAS THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS. USUALLY WHEN THE WORD "HEREAFTER" OR OTHER WORDS INDICATING FUTURITY ARE USED, OR WHEN THE PROVISION IS OF A GENERAL CHARACTER BEARING NO RELATION TO THE OBJECT OF THE APPROPRIATION, THE PROVISION MAY BE CONSTRUED TO BE PERMANENT LEGISLATION.

IN THE INSTANT CASE NO WORDS OF FUTURITY ARE USED AND THE PROVISION WHICH AFFECTS THE DUTIES OF AN EMPLOYEE IS TOO CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE APPROPRIATION FOR HIS COMPENSATION TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE GENERAL RULE. FURTHERMORE, THE PROVISION WAS IN DEROGATION OF THE GENERAL LAW RELATIVE TO EXPENDITURES FROM CONTINGENT FUNDS (3 COMP. GEN. 371) AND, THEREFORE, MUST BE CONSTRUED STRICTLY. ALSO, THE FACT THAT THE PROVISION WAS REPEATED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1926 WITHOUT CHANGE AFTER HAVING BEEN ENACTED IN APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR TENDS TO INDICATE THAT IT WAS NOT CONSIDERED NOR INTENDED BY THE CONGRESS TO BE PERMANENT LEGISLATION. I AM, THEREFORE, CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT THE PARAGRAPH IN QUESTION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PERMANENT LEGISLATION AND IS LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1926.