A-36217, APRIL 16, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 475

A-36217: Apr 16, 1931

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SUBSISTENCE - CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES MEMBERS OF CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES ENGAGED IN THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES IN THE FIELD ARE NOT CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE SUBSISTENCE ACT OF 1926. NOR ARE THEIR TRAVELING EXPENSES PAYABLE FROM APPROPRIATIONS FOR . ARE LIMITED TO ACTUAL EXPENSES COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. AS FOLLOWS: IN CONNECTION WITH PROPOSED FIELD TRIPS OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES FOR APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT IT IS DESIRED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS ALLOWING PER DIEM UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3. IT IS NOTED HOWEVER.

A-36217, APRIL 16, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 475

SUBSISTENCE - CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES MEMBERS OF CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES ENGAGED IN THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES IN THE FIELD ARE NOT CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE SUBSISTENCE ACT OF 1926, NOR ARE THEIR TRAVELING EXPENSES PAYABLE FROM APPROPRIATIONS FOR ,TRAVELING EXPENSES" BUT UNDER THE SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR "EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES FOR APPROPRIATIONS IN THE FIELD.' THEY MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THEIR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AT A COMMUTED RATE NOR GRANTED A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, BUT ARE LIMITED TO ACTUAL EXPENSES

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 16, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

IN CONNECTION WITH PROPOSED FIELD TRIPS OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES FOR APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT IT IS DESIRED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS ALLOWING PER DIEM UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1936 (44 STAT. 688), IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES. IT IS NOTED HOWEVER, THAT BY YOUR DECISION A-28208 ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 8, 1929, IT WAS HELD THAT MEMBERS OF APPROPRIATION COMMITTEES ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, AND THAT THEREFORE THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR SIMILAR TRAVEL PERTAINING TO THAT DEPARTMENT.

IT APPEARS TO THIS DEPARTMENT AFTER A CAREFUL READING OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACT WERE INTENDED TO APPLY UNIFORMLY IN ALL CASES WHERE TRAVEL ON PUBLIC BUSINESS IS AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO APPROPRIATIONS MADE BY CONGRESS, AND THAT APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEES MIGHT PROPERLY BE CONSTRUED AS COMING WITHIN THE TERM,"DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS" AS DEFINED IN SECTION 2 OF SAID ACT AS FOLLOWS:

"THE TERM "DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS" MEANS ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, INDEPENDENT COMMISSION, BOARD, BUREAU, OFFICE AGENCY, OR OTHER ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.'

I WOULD BE GLAD TO HAVE YOU RECONSIDER THIS PHASE OF YOUR FORMER DECISION AND TO ADVISE THIS DEPARTMENT WHETHER TRAVEL ORDERS PROPOSED TO BE ISSUED MEMBERS OF APPROPRIATION COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS FOR TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MAY PROVIDE FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES.

WHETHER APPROPRIATION COMMITTEES MAY COME WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS" MADE BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT CITED, IS NOT NECESSARY FOR DECISION. THE SUBSISTENCE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 688, PROVIDES IN SECTIONS 3 AND 4, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC 3. CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY SHALL BE ALLOWED THEIR ACTUAL NECESSARY EXPENSES IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $7 EACH FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR DAY.

SEC. 4. THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, IN LIEU OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 3, MAY PRESCRIBE A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOT TO EXCEED $6 FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR DAY OR PORTIONS THEREOF FOR ABSENCES OF LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT WHILE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS ARE DEFINED IN THE ACT AS QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, THE APPLICATION OF THE ACT IS LIMITED TO "CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS.' MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS, WHILE ON FIELD TRIPS ENGAGED IN THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES OF APPROPRIATIONS, COULD HARDLY BE CONSIDERED AS CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT. FURTHERMORE, IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS UPON SUCH A MISSION ARE NOT PAYABLE UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION IN THE CONTINGENT EXPENSES APPROPRIATION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ACT OF MAY 14, 1930, 46 STAT. 280, FOR "TRAVELING EXPENSES," BUT FROM THE ALLOTMENT THEREIN SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR "EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES FOR APPROPRIATIONS IN THE FIELD FOR ANY BUREAU, OFFICE, OR SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT.' ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS WHILE ENGAGED IN THE EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES IN THE FIELD PERTAINING TO YOUR DEPARTMENT MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED AT A COMMUTED RATE OR GRANTED PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. THEY ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES ONLY.