B-103726, JUNE 8, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 500

B-103726: Jun 8, 1951

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AS FAR AS PERSONAL SERVICES ARE CONCERNED DURING THE PARTICULAR FISCAL YEAR. WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES DURING ANY SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH A LIMITATION THEREON IS IMPOSED ON ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMISSION. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 24. WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952 AND THEREAFTER FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLETING THE OBLIGATION OR EXPENDITURE OF SUCH BALANCES. WAS MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED BUT CONTAINED A LIMITATION OF $29. IT IS STATED IN EFFECT THAT STRICT ADHERENCE TO SUCH LIMITATIONS WOULD SERIOUSLY CURTAIL VARIOUS ACTIVITIES DUE TO NECESSITY OF LONG RANGE PLANNING AND WOULD RETARD THE LAND PURCHASE PROGRAM OF THE COMMISSION DURING A PERIOD OF CONSTANTLY INCREASING LAND PRICES.

B-103726, JUNE 8, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 500

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - BALANCES - NO YEAR APPROPRIATIONS THE UNOBLIGATED AND UNEXPENDED BALANCE OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION CONTAINED IN THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1951, AND MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED, ALTHOUGH SUBJECT TO A LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR, WHICH LIMITATION HAD THE EFFECT OF SUSPENDING THE AVAILABILITY-UNTIL-EXPENDED PROVISION, AS FAR AS PERSONAL SERVICES ARE CONCERNED DURING THE PARTICULAR FISCAL YEAR, WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES DURING ANY SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH A LIMITATION THEREON IS IMPOSED ON ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMISSION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO ACTING CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, JUNE 8, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 24, 1951, REQUESTING A DECISION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO WHETHER THE UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCES OF APPROPRIATIONS MADE TO THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952 AND THEREAFTER FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLETING THE OBLIGATION OR EXPENDITURE OF SUCH BALANCES.

THE LETTER OF MAY 24, 1951, POINTS OUT THAT THE APPROPRIATION TO THE COMMISSION CONTAINED IN THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1951, PUBLIC LAW 759, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 6, 1950, 64 STAT. 712, WAS MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED BUT CONTAINED A LIMITATION OF $29,000 ON THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE FOR REGULAR AND PART-TIME SERVICES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR, EXCEPTING SERVICES BY CONTRACT. ALSO, THE LETTER CALLS ATTENTION TO THE PROVISION IN THE PENDING INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION BILL ( H.R. 3880), UNDER WHICH EXPENDITURES FOR SUCH PURPOSES AND FOR OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES, WOULD BE LIMITED TO $12,000 DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952. IT IS STATED IN EFFECT THAT STRICT ADHERENCE TO SUCH LIMITATIONS WOULD SERIOUSLY CURTAIL VARIOUS ACTIVITIES DUE TO NECESSITY OF LONG RANGE PLANNING AND WOULD RETARD THE LAND PURCHASE PROGRAM OF THE COMMISSION DURING A PERIOD OF CONSTANTLY INCREASING LAND PRICES.

THE QUESTIONS ARE SET FORTH IN THE LETTER OF MAY 24, AS FOLLOWS:

WITH RESPECT TO THE LIMITATION OF $29,000 CONTAINED IN THE 1951 APPROPRIATION WHETHER THE UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCES OF THE TWO APPROPRIATIONS CONTAINED IN THE SAID ACT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952 AND THEREAFTER FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLETING THE OBLIGATION OR EXPENDITURE OF ANY SUCH BALANCES AND (2) WHETHER SUCH UNOBLIGATED BALANCES WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952 AND THEREAFTER IN THE EVENT THE 1952 APPROPRIATION IS ENACTED AS NOW APPROVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WITH A LIMITATION EITHER PERTAINING ONLY TO PERSONAL SERVICES OR TO PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION.

WHETHER THE LIMITATIONS CONTAINED IN THE 1951 APPROPRIATIONS AND THAT PROPOSED IN THE HOUSE BILL FOR 1952 HAVE ANY BEARING ON THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED PRIOR TO 1951, FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952 AND THEREAFTER, SINCE THESE FUNDS WERE MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED WITHOUT ANY LIMITATION IN THE APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE.

IN ORDER TO ARRIVE AT A PROPER CONCLUSION IN THE INSTANT MATTER THERE MUST BE CONSIDERED WHETHER THE CONGRESS WAS DIRECTING ITS LIMITATION AT PARTICULAR FUNDS OR WHETHER IT WAS ATTEMPTING TO LIMIT THE TOTAL AMOUNT THAT MIGHT BE SPENT FOR A SPECIFIED PURPOSE DURING A PARTICULAR FISCAL YEAR. IT IS GRANTED THAT THE PROVISOS ARE ATTACHED TO APPROPRIATIONS IN A PARTICULAR ACT AND THAT FUNDS APPROPRIATED THEREBY OTHERWISE WERE MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED. HOWEVER, AN EXAMINATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORIES OF THE PERTINENT APPROPRIATION ACTS DISCLOSES QUITE CLEARLY THAT THE CONGRESS WAS IMPOSING THE LIMITATIONS ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS THEN WERE BEING CONSIDERED.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE PROVISION IN THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT 1951,"THAT NOT EXCEEDING &29,000 OF THE FUNDS AVAILABLE UNDER THE ABOVE APPROPRIATION DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR MAY BE USED FOR REGULAR AND PART-TIME SERVICES," CONSONANT WITH THE KNOWN LEGISLATIVE POLICY TO RESTRICT PERSONNEL CEILINGS TO THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS, EVIDENCES A CLEAR INTENT TO LIMIT ALL OF THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE COMMISSION FOR THE SPECIFIED PURPOSE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR IN QUESTION. SEE THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION BILL, 1951, AT PAGES 1485-1486 AND LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSON DATED JUNE 22, 1950, TO THE CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION BILL 1951, UNITED STATES SENATE, PRINTED AT PAGE 1075 OF THE SENATE HEARINGS. MOREOVER, AN IDENTICAL LIMITATION IS CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION TO THE COMMISSION IN THE " INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1950," APPROVED AUGUST 24, 1949, PUBLIC LAW 266, 63 STAT. 647. SEE IN THAT CONNECTION THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE, ON THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION BILL, 1950, AT PAGES 1171-1174.

IF IT WERE TO BE HELD THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO PLACE A LIMITATION ONLY UPON A PARTICULAR APPROPRIATION, THAT IS, A SEGMENT OF ALL THE FUNDS AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED TO THE COMMISSION, AN ABSURD RESULT COULD ENSUE. UNDER SUCH A HOLDING, IF ANY BALANCES OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED IN PRIOR APPROPRIATION ACTS REMAINED UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED AND WERE NOT SUBJECT TO ANY LIMITATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES, THE WHOLE OR ANY PART THEREOF COULD BE USED FOR SUCH SERVICES, LIMITED ONLY BY THE BALANCE REMAINING, THUS NULLIFYING THE SPECIFIC LIMITATION IMPOSED BY THE CONGRESS ON EXPENDITURES FOR SUCH SERVICES. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT SERIOUSLY CAN BE CONTENDED THAT WHEN THE CONGRESS FIRST PLACED A LIMITATION OF $29,000 FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE 1950 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION ACT, IT INTENDED THAT $50,000 OR $100,000 OF PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS, IF SUCH AMOUNT REMAINED, COULD BE USED DURING THAT FISCAL YEAR FOR SUCH SERVICES. THE SAME REASONING APPLIES TO SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEARS WHERE A LIKE SITUATION PREVAILS.

I AM OF THE VIEW THAT THE AVAILABILITY UNTIL EXPENDED PROVISION OF PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS, SO FAR AS PERSONAL SERVICES ARE CONCERNED, IS SUSPENDED DURING THE PARTICULAR FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH A LIMITATION ON PERSONAL SERVICES OR OTHER EXPENSES IS CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS MAKING APPROPRIATIONS TO YOUR COMMISSION.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING YOU ARE ADVISED IN ANSWER TO QUESTIONS (1) (2) AND (3) THAT, IF A LIMITATION AS TO PERSONAL SERVICES AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES IS IMPOSED ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952, ANY UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCE OF PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1952 FOR SUCH PURPOSES.