A-67575, NOVEMBER 13, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 404

A-67575: Nov 13, 1935

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TRANSPORTATION PAYMENTS - BILLS RENDERED SUBSEQUENT TO APPROPRIATION TIME LIMIT WHERE AN APPROPRIATION PROVIDES THAT NO PART THEREOF SHALL BE USED IN PAYMENT FOR ANY SERVICES EXCEPT BILL THEREFOR IS RENDERED WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE TIME THE SERVICE IS PERFORMED. 1935: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED OCTOBER 11. THE BILL OF LADING SHOWS THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS DELIVERED TO THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD AS INITIAL CARRIER AUGUST 17. " AND WAS DELIVERED AT CHEROKEE AUGUST 29. UPON THE FACE OF THE BILL OF LADING IS THE STAMPED INSERTION. - "ALL RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF THE UNDERSIGNED IN THIS BILL OF LADING ARE HEREBY ASSIGNED TO THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY. THE CHARGE FOR THIS SERVICE WAS STATED ON SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY BILL 4/34-F1759 IN AMOUNT OF $28.45 COMPUTED AT A RATE OF $1.27 PER 100 POUNDS.

A-67575, NOVEMBER 13, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 404

TRANSPORTATION PAYMENTS - BILLS RENDERED SUBSEQUENT TO APPROPRIATION TIME LIMIT WHERE AN APPROPRIATION PROVIDES THAT NO PART THEREOF SHALL BE USED IN PAYMENT FOR ANY SERVICES EXCEPT BILL THEREFOR IS RENDERED WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE TIME THE SERVICE IS PERFORMED, THE FAILURE TO PRESENT A BILL WITHIN THE LIMITATION PERIOD PRECLUDES PAYMENT FROM SAID APPROPRIATION FOR SERVICES PERFORMED, AND NO OTHER APPROPRIATION CAN BE CHARGED THEREWITH. THE REPORTING BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF THE ITEM TO THE CONGRESS WITH RECOMMENDATION FOR AN APPROPRIATION WOULD BE INCONSISTENT WITH THE DECLARED POLICY OF THE CONGRESS IN SUCH MATTERS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, NOVEMBER 13, 1935:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED OCTOBER 11, 1935, YOUR FILE G-61 F- 1759, RELATING TO SETTLEMENT T-92420 1/2 DATED AUGUST 15, 1934, WHICH DISALLOWED SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY CLAIM (BILL 4/34-F1759) FOR $28.45 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF 40 CARTONS OF CANNED PEACH JAM, 2,240 POUNDS, FROM PHILADELPHIA, PA., TO CHEROKEE, N.C., UNDER BILL OF LADING I-165448.

THE BILL OF LADING SHOWS THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS DELIVERED TO THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD AS INITIAL CARRIER AUGUST 17, 1932, WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO FORWARD "VIA PA. C/O SO.RY. C/O APPALACHIAN RY., " AND WAS DELIVERED AT CHEROKEE AUGUST 29, 1932, BY THE CARRIER LAST NAMED. UPON THE FACE OF THE BILL OF LADING IS THE STAMPED INSERTION--- "ALL RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF THE UNDERSIGNED IN THIS BILL OF LADING ARE HEREBY ASSIGNED TO THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY. APPALACHIAN RAILWAY BY J. A. SISK, GENERAL MANAGER.'

THE CHARGE FOR THIS SERVICE WAS STATED ON SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY BILL 4/34-F1759 IN AMOUNT OF $28.45 COMPUTED AT A RATE OF $1.27 PER 100 POUNDS, BUT THE BILL WAS NOT RECEIVED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE (OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR) UNTIL MAY 29, 1934. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TRANSMITTED THE BILL TO THIS OFFICE NOT APPROVED FOR PAYMENT BECAUSE ,BILL OF LADING 165448 WAS NOT SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME OF 12 MONTHS" AND IN SETTLEMENT T-92420 1/2 THE CHARGE WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE---

* * * NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST "PURCHASE AND TRANSPORTATION OF INDIAN SUPPLIES, 1933," FOR THE REASON THAT BILL OF LADING * * * WAS NOT PRESENTED FOR PAYMENT WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME OF ONE YEAR. ANNUAL ACT (INTERIOR) APRIL 22, 1932, 47 STAT., P. 94.

THE CARRIER HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT SETTING FORTH---

* * * IT SEEMS THAT IT WAS THE INTENT OF CONGRESS TO RESTRICT THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION BUT IT DOES NOT APPEAR THERE WAS ANY INTENT TO DEPRIVE A DEBTOR OF SETTLEMENT OF HIS BILL BY SETTING UP WHAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE APPARENTLY CONSTRUES TO BE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.

THAT---

IN SECTION 3 (2) OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT, CONGRESS PROVIDED THAT * * * "THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT ANY CARRIER FROM EXTENDING CREDIT IN CONNECTION WITH RATES AND CHARGES ON FREIGHT TRANSPORTED FOR THE UNITED STATES FOR ANY DEPARTMENT, BUREAU, OR AGENCY THEREOF" * * * (BUT) * * * DID NOT MAKE ANY RESTRICTIONS AS TO WHEN BILLS SHOULD BE RENDERED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES NOR THE EXTENT OF THE CREDIT WHICH THE CARRIERS COULD ALLOW.

THAT---

THE CARRIER * * * ACCEPTING A SHIPMENT COVERED BY A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING IS REQUIRED TO EXTEND CREDIT BUT IN ALL OTHER RESPECTS * * * IS GIVEN TO UNDERSTAND THE BILL OF LADING SHOULD BE CONSIDERED THE SAME AS COVERING ANY COMMERCIAL SHIPMENT.

THAT---

* * * THERE IS A CERTAIN DEFINITE TIME SET IN WHICH CHARGES * * * ON COMMERCIAL SHIPMENTS MAY BE COLLECTED FOR IN SEC. 16 (3A). THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT FURTHER PROVIDES THAT "ALL ACTIONS AT LAW BY CARRIERS SUBJECT TO THIS ACT FOR RECOVERY OF THEIR CHARGES, OR ANY PART THEREOF, SHALL BEGIN WITHIN THREE YEARS FROM THE TIME THAT THE CAUSE OF ACTION ACCRUES, AND NOT AFTER.'--- AND ,BY THE VERY TERMS OF THE BILL OF LADING (HERE) * * * THE CARRIER HAD THREE YEARS FROM DATE OF DELIVERY IN WHICH TO MAKE COLLECTION BEFORE RUNNING OF THE STATUTE.'

THAT---

THE * * * BILL OF LADING * * * WAS TENDERED AND ACCEPTED ON THE CONDITION THAT IT WAS SUBJECT TO THE SAME RULES AND CONDITIONS AS GOVERN COMMERCIAL SHIPMENTS MADE ON THE USUAL FORMS PROVIDED THEREFOR BY THE CARRIER. THE STANDARD COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY PROVISION WHICH PERMITS CONSIGNEE TO PUT CARRIER ON NOTICE THAT CHARGES MUST BE COLLECTED ON OR BEFORE A CERTAIN DATE, FOR SUCH WOULD BE IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT.

IT IS NOT KNOWN WHETHER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING I-165448 CARRIED ANY REFERENCE BY WHICH THE CARRIER COULD HAVE DETERMINED THAT IT SHOULD HAVE RENDERED BILL BEFORE ANY SPECIFIED TIME, BUT EVEN IF THE CONDITION HAD BEEN CLEARLY INDICATED, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN INVALID UNDER THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT. THE LAW PROVIDES AND COMPELS THE COLLECTION OF FULL TARIFF CHARGES WHETHER UPON DELIVERY OR THEREAFTER; THE LIMIT IN WHICH TO COLLECT ON COMMERCIAL SHIPMENTS BEING ONLY AFTER THREE YEARS FROM DATE OF DELIVERY.

THAT---

IN THE CASE OF THE UNITED STATES LIMIT IN WHICH TO COLLECT HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO SIX YEARS (28 U.S.C., SEC. 41 (20/--- S.P. VS. U.S., 62 CC 391 -28, U.S. CODE, SEC. 262/---

AND THAT THE CARRIER---

* * * RENDERED BILL AGAINST U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR BASED ON TARIFFS LAWFULLY ON FILE WITH THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION. THE LAW PROVIDES THAT WE ARE NOT BARRED FROM COLLECTING THE LAWFUL FREIGHT CHARGES UNTIL AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF SIX YEARS FROM DATE OF DELIVERY.

THE CARRIER'S CONTENTIONS ARE PREDICATED UPON PREMISES THAT ARE BESIDE THE POINT INSOFAR AS CONCERNS THE QUESTION HERE.

PAYMENT FOR THIS SERVICE COULD BE MADE IN ANY EVENT ONLY FROM THE APPROPRIATION AS SET FORTH IN THE ACT OF APRIL 22, 1932, 47 STAT. (PART 1), 94, THAT IS---

FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY TO THE PURCHASE OF GOODS AND SUPPLIES FOR THE INDIAN SERVICE, INCLUDING INSPECTION, PAY OF NECESSARY EMPLOYEES, AND ALL OTHER EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH, INCLUDING ADVERTISING, STORAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF INDIAN GOODS AND SUPPLIES * * *: BUT THE AVAILABILITY OF THIS APPROPRIATION WAS RESTRICTED BY THE PROVISO--

PROVIDED, THAT NO PART OF THIS APPROPRIATION SHALL BE USED IN PAYMENT FOR ANY SERVICES EXCEPT BILL THEREFOR IS RENDERED WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE TIME THE SERVICE IS PERFORMED.

AND IT MAY BE STATED THAT A LIKE LIMITATION WAS IMPOSED UPON THE CORRESPONDING ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR A PERIOD OF YEARS PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THIS SHIPMENT.

NOTWITHSTANDING, HOWEVER, THE CARRIER DID NOT RENDER ITS BILL FOR THE SERVICE UNTIL 21 MONTHS AFTER DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENT AT DESTINATION OR IN OTHER WORDS UNTIL AT LEAST 9 MONTHS AFTER THE STATUTORY RESTRICTION BECAME EFFECTIVE.

THE OCCASION FOR THIS DELAY DOES NOT APPEAR, BUT IN ANY EVENT THE BILL FOR THE SERVICE RENDERED WAS NOT PRESENTED WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD, AND UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT MAKING THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED, THE FAILURE SO TO PRESENT THE BILL OR CLAIM FOR THE SERVICE WITHIN 1 YEAR FROM THE DATE THE SERVICE WAS RENDERED PRECLUDES PAYMENT FOR THE SERVICE FROM SAID APPROPRIATION AND THERE IS NO OTHER APPROPRIATION WHICH COULD BE CHARGED THEREWITH. SEE SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS, THEREFORE, MANDATORY AND ACCORDINGLY IS SUSTAINED.

CONCERNING THE CARRIER'S REQUEST THAT--- "IF THE APPROPRIATION ALLOTTED FOR THIS SERVICE HAS LAPSED * * * OUR BILL BE REPORTED TO CONGRESS IN THE USUAL MANNER FOR A DEFICIENCY PPROPRIATION"--- IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT THIS IS NOT A CASE WHERE PAYMENT FOR THE SERVICE IS PREVENTED SOLELY BECAUSE THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION HAS BECOME EXHAUSTED OR HAS LAPSED. THE PROVISION CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION WAS AN EXPRESS DETERMINATION BY THE CONGRESS THAT IN ORDER FOR SUCH CLAIMS TO BE PAYABLE FROM SAID APPROPRIATION THE NECESSARY BILLS MUST BE RENDERED WITHIN 1 YEAR FROM THE DATE OF THE SERVICE, AND AS NOTED HEREINBEFORE, LIKE PROVISIONS WERE CONTAINED IN THE CORRESPONDING ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR A PERIOD OF YEARS PRIOR TO THE APPROPRIATION HERE CONCERNED. THE CONGRESS HAS THUS ESTABLISHED THE POLICY OF REQUIRING THE BILLS FOR SUCH SERVICES TO BE RENDERED WITHIN 1 YEAR FROM THE DATE OF THE SERVICE. INASMUCH AS THE ONLY OCCASION FOR REPORTING THE PRESENT ITEM TO THE CONGRESS ARISES BY REASON OF THE FAILURE OF THE CARRIER TO PRESENT ITS BILL WITHIN THE TIME PRESCRIBED BY STATUTE, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT FOR THIS OFFICE TO REPORT THIS ITEM WITH RECOMMENDATION FOR AN APPROPRIATION WOULD BE INCONSISTENT WITH THE EVIDENT AND WELL-ESTABLISHED POLICY OF THE CONGRESS IN DEALING WITH SUCH MATTERS.