A-26702, APRIL 16, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 547

A-26702: Apr 16, 1929

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REQUIRING UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF APPROPRIATIONS WHICH HAVE REMAINED ON THE BOOKS FOR TWO FISCAL YEARS TO BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND. SPLIT FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS ARE FOR CARRYING TO THE SURPLUS FUND TWO FISCAL YEARS AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH THE SPLIT-YEAR APPROPRIATION WAS MADE. 1929: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1. " IT IS PROVIDED THAT. - "* * * THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY SHALL CAUSE ALL UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF APPROPRIATIONS WHICH SHALL HAVE REMAINED UPON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY FOR TWO FISCAL YEARS TO BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY: " THERE APPEARS TO BE SOME DIFFERENCE OF OPINION OR DOUBT UPON THE PART OF CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS AND OTHERS AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE CITED PROVISIONS ESPECIALLY IN REGARD TO THE "TWO FISCAL YEARS" PERIOD.

A-26702, APRIL 16, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 547

APPROPRIATIONS - SURPLUS FUND - SPLIT FISCAL YEARS UNDER THE SURPLUS FUND ACT OF JUNE 20, 1874, 18 STAT. 110, REQUIRING UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF APPROPRIATIONS WHICH HAVE REMAINED ON THE BOOKS FOR TWO FISCAL YEARS TO BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND, SPLIT FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS ARE FOR CARRYING TO THE SURPLUS FUND TWO FISCAL YEARS AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH THE SPLIT-YEAR APPROPRIATION WAS MADE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, APRIL 16, 1929:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1874 (18 STAT. P. 110), COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS THE ,SURPLUS FUND ACT," IT IS PROVIDED THAT---

"* * * THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY SHALL CAUSE ALL UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF APPROPRIATIONS WHICH SHALL HAVE REMAINED UPON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY FOR TWO FISCAL YEARS TO BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY: "

THERE APPEARS TO BE SOME DIFFERENCE OF OPINION OR DOUBT UPON THE PART OF CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS AND OTHERS AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE CITED PROVISIONS ESPECIALLY IN REGARD TO THE "TWO FISCAL YEARS" PERIOD, IN CONNECTION WITH CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS OF THE TYPE SET FORTH BELOW. IT WILL BE APPRECIATED, THEREFORE, IF YOU WILL RENDER YOUR DECISION ON THE POINTS PRESENTED IN ORDER THAT ANY MISUNDERSTANDING MAY BE OBVIATED:

SPLIT-YEAR APPROPRIATIONS.--- CONGRESS IN A NUMBER OF INSTANCES, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE WAR DEPARTMENT, HAS MADE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 31ST, OR OTHER INTERMEDIATE DATES, OTHER THAN THE USUAL CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR ON JUNE 30TH. SHALL BALANCES UNDER SUCH APPROPRIATION REMAIN ON THE BOOKS OF THIS DEPARTMENT FOR TWO FISCAL YEARS AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH SUCH INTERMEDIATE DATE OCCURS, OR SHALL THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE REMAINING ON THE BOOKS AT THE END OF A TWO YEAR PERIOD FROM SUCH APPROPRIATION DATE BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND; OR, IF THE BALANCES MAY REMAIN ON THE BOOKS UNTIL THE CLOSE OF TWO FISCAL YEARS AFTER THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH SUCH DATE OCCURS, ARE SUCH BALANCES AVAILABLE TO MEET THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS SETTLED AFTER THE TWO FULL YEAR PERIOD UNTIL THE TIME OF CARRYING TO THE SURPLUS FUND, PROVIDED THE OBLIGATIONS WERE PROPERLY INCURRED PRIOR TO THE INTERMEDIATE DATE SPECIFIED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT?

AS A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE, THERE IS NOW BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR PAYMENT CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT NO. T-62756, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE UNDER DATE OF MARCH 18, 1929, IN FAVOR OF THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY IN THE SUM OF $5.90 PAYABLE FROM THE WAR APPROPRIATION ,86703--- ARMING, EQUIPPING AND TRAINING NATIONAL GUARD, 1926--- DECEMBER 31, 1926.' MAY THIS CERTIFICATE BE PAID FROM THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE UNDER THIS APPROPRIATION, OR SHOULD SUCH BALANCE BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1928?

CERTIFICATE NO. T-62756 WILL BE HELD AWAITING YOUR DECISION.

IN CASES OF SPLIT FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS THE APPROPRIATIONS ARE USUALLY MADE AVAILABLE FOR A PERIOD COVERING ONE FULL FISCAL YEAR AND A PART OF THE NEXT, SUCH AS IN THE INSTANCE GIVEN IN YOUR LETTER IN WHICH THE APPROPRIATION COVERS OBLIGATIONS INCURRED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 AND A PART OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1927; I.E., TO DECEMBER 31, 1926. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF 1874, CITED AND QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, ARE THAT THE UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF APPROPRIATIONS WHICH HAVE REMAINED ON THE BOOKS FOR TWO FISCAL YEARS SHALL BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY. SUCH PROVISIONS HAVE PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO FULL FISCAL YEARS AND NOT FRACTIONAL PARTS THEREOF AND THERE WOULD BE NO AUTHORITY UNDER THAT ACT TO CONSIDER THAT AN APPROPRIATION WHICH HAS REMAINED ON THE BOOKS TWO CALENDAR YEARS INSTEAD OF TWO FISCAL YEARS COULD BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND OR THAT SUCH APPROPRIATION WOULD CEASE TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF OBLIGATIONS INCURRED DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE APPROPRIATION PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF TWO FISCAL YEARS.

THE TWO FISCAL YEARS PERIOD IN THE ACT OF 1874 HAS BEEN CONSTRUED TO MEAN TWO FISCAL YEARS AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR OR YEARS FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE, AND SUCH CONSTRUCTION HAS BEEN APPLIED SINCE THE ENACTMENT OF THE LAW. SEE VOLUME 1, FIRST COMPTROLLER, LAWRENCE, PAGES 569, 575. IN THE CASE OF AN APPROPRIATION MADE IN AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT OR OTHER LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 TO DECEMBER 31, 1926, SUCH APPROPRIATION MUST BE CONSIDERED FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES AS AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1926 AND 1927, EXCEPT THAT, IN SO FAR AS CONCERNS THE LAST-MENTIONED FISCAL YEAR, THE APPROPRIATION COVERS OBLIGATIONS INCURRED TO DECEMBER 31, 1926, ONLY. AND UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF 1874, SUPRA, SUCH APPROPRIATION SHOULD REMAIN ON THE BOOKS UNTIL JUNE 30, 1929, AND BE AVAILABLE UNTIL THAT TIME FOR THE PAYMENT OF AN OBLIGATION PROPERLY INCURRED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 31, 1926, WITHOUT REPORTING THE AMOUNT THEREOF TO THE CONGRESS FOR AN APPROPRIATION AS A CERTIFIED CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT IN CASES OF SPLIT FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS THE APPROPRIATIONS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1874, AS APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR WHICH HAS BEEN SPLIT WHICH IS A LIMITATION IN THE INCURRING OF OBLIGATIONS ONLY AND THE UNEXPENDED BALANCES IN SUCH APPROPRIATIONS SHOULD NOT BE CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND UNTIL TWO FISCAL YEARS AFTER THE CLOSE OF THAT FISCAL YEAR.

WITH RESPECT TO CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT NO. T-62756 OF MARCH 18,1929, NOW HELD BY THE TREASURY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT AT THIS TIME FROM THE APPROPRIATION "ARMING, EQUIPPING, AND TRAINING NATIONAL GUARD, 1926--- DECEMBER 31, 1926," IS AUTHORIZED.