A-63015, JULY 8, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 23

A-63015: Jul 8, 1935

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THE AMOUNT SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR IRRIGATION PROJECTS IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936 IS AVAILABLE FOR USE THEREON BUT ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF AMOUNTS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY FROM THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE ON JUNE 30. 1935: REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 18. AMOUNTS EQUAL THERETO ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED ANNUALLY FROM THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY FOR THE SAME PURPOSES FOR WHICH SUCH RECEIPTS ARE NOW APPROPRIATED. APPROPRIATIONS TO WHICH EXPENDITURES UNDER SUCH ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN CHARGEABLE THERETOFORE ARE HEREBY REPEALED. THAT IF THE TOTAL OF RECEIPTS FOR ANY ONE FISCAL YEAR FOR ANY OF THE FOREGOING PURPOSES UNDER THIS AUTHORITY IS GREATER THAN THE AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH PURPOSE.

A-63015, JULY 8, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 23

AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS - IRRIGATION PROJECTS PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934, DATED JUNE 26, 1934, 48 STAT. 1224 1227, THE AMOUNT SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR IRRIGATION PROJECTS IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936 IS AVAILABLE FOR USE THEREON BUT ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF AMOUNTS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY FROM THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE ON JUNE 30, 1935, OF RECEIPTS FROM SUCH PROJECTS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1935 AND FROM RECEIPTS FROM SUCH PROJECTS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1936.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 8, 1935:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1934 (48 STAT., 1224-1227) KNOWN AS THE "PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934" PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 4. (A) EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1935, ALL RECEIPTS OF THE CHARACTER THERETOFORE CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS APPEARING ON THE BOOKS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND LISTED IN SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, AND AMOUNTS EQUAL THERETO ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED ANNUALLY FROM THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY FOR THE SAME PURPOSES FOR WHICH SUCH RECEIPTS ARE NOW APPROPRIATED. APPROPRIATIONS TO WHICH EXPENDITURES UNDER SUCH ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN CHARGEABLE THERETOFORE ARE HEREBY REPEALED, EFFECTIVE ON SUCH DATE:PROVIDED, THAT IF THE TOTAL OF RECEIPTS FOR ANY ONE FISCAL YEAR FOR ANY OF THE FOREGOING PURPOSES UNDER THIS AUTHORITY IS GREATER THAN THE AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH PURPOSE, SUCH EXCESS IS AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED FOR THE FOLLOWING FISCAL YEAR.

"/12) CONSTRUCTION, IRRIGATION SYSTEM, WAPATO PROJECT, WASHINGTON, ACT FEBRUARY 14, 1920 (5S781).

"/13) MAINTENANCE, IRRIGATION SYSTEM (NAME OF PROJECT), ACT AUGUST 1, 1914.

"/14) MAINTENANCE, IRRIGATION SYSTEM (NAME OF PROJECT), ACT MAY 10, 1926 (5S796).

"/15) MAINTENANCE, POWER SYSTEM, FLATHEAD RESERVATION, MONTANA, ACT MAY 10, 1926 (5S796).

"/16) POWER PLANT, COOLIDGE DAM, ARIZONA, ELECTRIC-CURRENT FUND, ACT MARCH 7, 1928 (5S804.9).'

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE INTENTION OF CONGRESS IS QUITE CLEAR THAT THESE COLLECTIONS FROM WATER USERS (BOTH THE BALANCES AT THE END OF THE PRESENT YEAR, AND ANY FUTURE COLLECTIONS) WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PROJECT USE, SINCE THERE WAS OMITTED FROM THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION TEXT APPEARING IN OTHER SECTIONS READING "AND ANY UNOBLIGATED BALANCES UNDER SUCH ACCOUNTS AS OF THAT DATE SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE SURPLUS FUND OF THE TREASURY.' (SEE SECTIONS 1, 2, AND 5.) IT WAS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE OFFICIALS OF THIS DEPARTMENT AT THE TIME THE LEGISLATION IN QUESTION WAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THAT SUCH BALANCES WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR APPLICATION TO THE APPROPRIATION OF RECEIPTS PROVIDED FOR THE PROJECTS AFFECTED IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936. INFORMAL INTERPRETATION OF THIS SECTION BY OFFICIALS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IS TO THE EFFECT THAT SUCH BALANCES ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR APPLICATION AGAINST THE SO-CALLED RECEIPT LIMITATIONS IN THE 1936 ACT AND THAT THE ONLY FUNDS APPLICABLE TO SUCH APPROPRIATIONS ARE RECEIPTS ACCRUING ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1935. IF THIS IS A PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE SECTION IN QUESTION IT PRESENTS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM CONCERNING THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PROJECTS AFFECTED SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1935, AND PENDING THE COLLECTION OF SUFFICIENT MONEY WITH WHICH THE PROJECTS CAN BE ADEQUATELY OPERATED AND MAINTAINED.

THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE AS REGARDS THE WAPATO INDIAN IRRIGATION PROJECT AND AUXILIARY UNITS, YAKIMA RESERVATION, WASHINGTON, WHICH IS CITED AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE EFFECT SUCH AN INTERPRETATION WOULD HAVE ON THE SEVERAL PROJECTS INVOLVED. THE TOTAL APPROPRIATION FOR THESE PARTICULAR PROJECTS IS $136,500 AND OF THIS SUM ONLY $1,000 IS APPROPRIATED FROM THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY. THE BALANCE REPRESENTS COLLECTIONS ASSESSED AGAINST THE LANDS UNDER CONSTRUCTED WORKS.

THE IRRIGATION SEASON ON THE YAKIMA RESERVATION PROJECTS COMMENCES ABOUT APRIL 1 AND THE ANNUAL ORDER FIXING OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE CHARGES FROM WHICH THE RECEIPTS IN QUESTION ACCRUE, PROVIDES THAT THEY SHALL BECOME DUE ON APRIL 1, 1935, AND ARE PAYABLE ON OR BEFORE THAT DATE. AS A CONSEQUENCE THE PRINCIPAL PORTION OF THE COLLECTIONS FOR THE PROJECT ARE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THEY BECOME DUE. PREPARING THE ESTIMATES AND JUSTIFICATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936 FOR PRESENTATION TO THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET AND CONGRESS, THE AMOUNT REQUESTED TO BE APPROPRIATED FROM COLLECTIONS INCLUDED THE ESTIMATED RECEIPTS FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR INCLUDING THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 1 TO JUNE 30. IF IT IS DETERMINED THE UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCE AS OF JUNE 30, 1935, WHICH WILL INCLUDE CURRENT YEAR COLLECTIONS FOR THIS PROJECT WILL NOT APPLY AGAINST THE LIMITATION MADE BY CONGRESS, IT WILL COMPLETELY DISORGANIZE THE PROJECT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE IRRIGATION SEASON. THERE WOULD BE INSUFFICIENT MONEY AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR THE MINIMUM COST OF OPERATING AND MAINTAINING THE PROJECT PENDING RECEIPT OF SUFFICIENT MONEY WHICH WOULD COME WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1934, SUPRA, AND BE APPLICABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION OF RECEIPTS.

THE SAME IS MORE OR LESS TRUE WITH RESPECT TO THE OTHER PROJECTS INVOLVED. IN VIEW OF THIS UNFORESEEN AND APPARENTLY UNINTENTIONAL SITUATION IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THIS DEPARTMENT BE ADVISED AT THE VERY EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCES AS OF JUNE 30, 1935, OF THE FUNDS IN QUESTION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE APPLICATION TO SUCH RECEIPT LIMITATIONS AS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED BY CONGRESS.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE WAPATO IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE SYSTEM, ACT OF MAY 9, 1935, 49 STAT. 189, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE WAPATO IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE SYSTEM, AND AUXILIARY UNITS THEREOF, YAKIMA INDIAN RESERVATION, WASHINGTON, $1,000, REIMBURSABLE, TOGETHER WITH $135,500 FROM WHICH AMOUNT EXPENDITURES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AGGREGATE RECEIPTS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 4 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934.

THE FACT THAT, AS NOTED IN YOUR LETTER, SECTION 4 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934, DID NOT DIRECT THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCES OF THESE FUNDS ON JUNE 30, 1935, TO BE COVERED INTO THE SURPLUS FUND OF THE TREASURY, AS WAS DONE IN CERTAIN OTHER SECTIONS DEALING WITH OTHER PERMANENT APPROPRIATIONS, INDICATES AN INTENT THERE WAS TO BE NO DISTINCTION AFTER JUNE 30, 1935, BETWEEN RECEIPTS FROM THESE PROJECTS PRIOR TO SAID DATE AND SUCH RECEIPTS THEREAFTER.

THE QUESTION HERE INVOLVED IS NOT AS TO WHETHER THE BALANCES IN THESE FUNDS ON JUNE 30, 1935, MAY BE USED THEREAFTER AS A PART OF THE FORMER PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION BUT IS AS TO WHETHER SAID BALANCES MAY BE REGARDED AS A PART OF "THE AGGREGATE RECEIPTS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 4 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934," WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPROPRIATION, IN DETERMINING HOW MUCH OF THE AMOUNT SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR THE PROJECTS IN THE 1936 APPROPRIATION ACT MAY BE EXPENDED THEREON.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT SECTION 4 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934, IN DIRECTING DISPOSITION OF THESE FUNDS, MADE NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN RECEIPTS PRIOR TO JUNE 30, 1935, AND RECEIPTS THEREAFTER AND SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT IF THE TOTAL OF RECEIPTS FOR ANY ONE FISCAL YEAR "IS GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH PURPOSE, SUCH EXCESS IS AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED FOR THE FOLLOWING FISCAL YEAR," I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE AMOUNT SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR ANY OF THESE PROJECTS IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936 IS AVAILABLE FOR USE THEREON BUT ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF AMOUNTS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY FROM THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE ON JUNE 30, 1935, OF RECEIPTS FROM SUCH PROJECTS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1935, AND FROM RECEIPTS FROM SUCH PROJECTS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1936.