A-56578, DECEMBER 13, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 460

A-56578: Dec 13, 1934

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IS ALL-INCLUSIVE AND PERMITS NO EXCEPTIONS FOR ANY CAUSE AND IS APPLICABLE EVEN THOUGH THE LOWEST FIRST CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME TRANSPORTATION IS APPLIED FOR. WAS NOT JUSTIFIED. THE STATED REASON FOR THIS ACTION WAS TO REIMBURSE. WE STATED THAT WE WERE HOLDING VOUCHER NO. 36 PENDING YOUR RECONSIDERATION OF THIS MATTER. WE STATED THAT WE FELT THAT THE ALLEGED OVERPAYMENT WAS JUSTIFIED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT NO OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT THE LAW PERMITS OF NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE THAT PAYMENT WILL BE MADE ONLY FOR THE CHEAPEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS. WE ARE HOLDING VOUCHERS 34 AND 36 IN THIS OFFICE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION BY YOUR OFFICE.

A-56578, DECEMBER 13, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 460

TRAVEL EXPENSES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE THE LIMITATION IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, THAT ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL UNDER LAW AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED, IS ALL-INCLUSIVE AND PERMITS NO EXCEPTIONS FOR ANY CAUSE AND IS APPLICABLE EVEN THOUGH THE LOWEST FIRST CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME TRANSPORTATION IS APPLIED FOR.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL AVIATION COMMISSION, DECEMBER 13, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 10, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

WE WROTE THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON OCTOBER 8TH, STATING THAT WE FELT THAT THE ACTION TAKEN BY IT, IN DIRECTING THAT A CHECK FOR 20 CENTS IN PARTIAL PAYMENT OF VOUCHER NO. 35 BE DRAWN IN FAVOR OF THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES, WAS NOT JUSTIFIED. THE STATED REASON FOR THIS ACTION WAS TO REIMBURSE, THROUGH PAYMENT OF THE 20 CENTS DUE ON VOUCHER NO. 35 AND THROUGH PAYMENT OF $1.80 (THE ENTIRE AMOUNT DUE ON VOUCHER NO. 36) THE TREASURER FOR PAYMENT OF $2.00 MORE THAN THE CHEAPEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE WASHINGTON-NORFOLK BOAT.

WE STATED THAT WE WERE HOLDING VOUCHER NO. 36 PENDING YOUR RECONSIDERATION OF THIS MATTER. WE STATED THAT WE FELT THAT THE ALLEGED OVERPAYMENT WAS JUSTIFIED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT NO OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE. THIS MORNING VOUCHER NO. 34 HAS BEEN RETURNED, DISALLOWED, FOR A SIMILAR REASON. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT THE LAW PERMITS OF NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE THAT PAYMENT WILL BE MADE ONLY FOR THE CHEAPEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS.

WE ARE HOLDING VOUCHERS 34 AND 36 IN THIS OFFICE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION BY YOUR OFFICE. WE QUOTE FROM OUR LETTER OF JULY 11, 1934:

"1. DOES THIS PROVISION PERMIT THE PAYMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION REGARDLESS OF THE PROVISION OF SECTION 207 OF THE ACT APPROVED JUNE 30, 1932 (47 STAT. 405), WHICH AMENDED SECTION OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926 APPROVED JUNE 3, 1926, TO PROVIDE FOR A MAXIMUM PER DIEM OF NOT TO EXCEED FIVE DOLLARS PER DAY FOR CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?

IN ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING LETTER, YOU WROTE AS FOLLOWS:

"QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, ASSUMING IT RELATES TO TRAVEL EXPENSES. SECTION 207 OF THE ECONOMY ACT, CITED, REPEALED SECTIONS 4, 5, AND 6 OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AND AMENDED SECTION 3 OF THAT ACT TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ON A PER DIEM BASIS, ONLY. HOWEVER, SECTION 21 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, SUPRA, ENACTED SUBSEQUENT TO THE ECONOMY ACT, PROVIDES--- "SAID COMMISSION SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO PAY ACTUAL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES.' OTHER OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE COMMISSION ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AS AMENDED, AND ARE LIMITED TO THE PER DIEM THEREIN PRESCRIBED IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS.'

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE STATEMENT, WE SUBMIT THAT SINCE NO OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE, THE TOTAL PAYMENT MADE FOR STATEROOMS REPRESENTS A PAYMENT OF "ACTUAL EXPENSES" AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE ACT CREATING THE COMMISSION AND AS RECOGNIZED BY YOU IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 17TH.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE FEEL THAT THE 20 CENTS WHICH WILL BE PAID TO THE TREASURER WHEN VOUCHER NO. 35 IS PAID, SHOULD BE PAID TO THE TRAVELER WHO SUBMITTED VOUCHER NO. 35. WE FURTHER BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED BY YOU TO RETURN VOUCHERS 34 AND 36 FOR FULL CERTIFICATION BY YOU FOR PAYMENT TO THE TRAVELERS OF THE FULL AMOUNT CLAIMED. COPIES OF THE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENTS ARE ATTACHED.

TRAVEL, WHICH INVOLVED THE EXPENSES COVERED BY THE VOUCHERS IN QUESTION, WAS INCURRED MORE THAN A MONTH AGO. NATURALLY, THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION WHOSE EXPENSES ARE INVOLVED WOULD APPRECIATE A SETTLEMENT OF THIS MATTER AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED TO OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH ALLOWANCES, IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL ORDERED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.

SECTION 21 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 938, CREATING THE FEDERAL AVIATION COMMISSION, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * SAID COMMISSION SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO PAY ACTUAL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES, * * *

THE STATUTORY LIMITATION IN THE ACT FIRST ABOVE QUOTED IS UNQUESTIONABLY APPLICABLE TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE FEDERAL AVIATION COMMISSION BY THE ACT LAST QUOTED. THE LIMITATION FIXED IN SAID ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, IS ALL-INCLUSIVE AND PERMITS NO EXCEPTIONS FOR ANY CAUSE AND IS APPLICABLE EVEN THOUGH THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME TRANSPORTATION IS APPLIED FOR (13 COMP. GEN. 10; ID. 17). THE DECISION OF JULY 17, 1934, A 56578, FROM WHICH YOU QUOTE, GAVE NO CONSIDERATION TO, AND HAS NO BEARING ON, THE INSTANT MATTER.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE AUDIT ACTION IN QUESTION MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.