B-107905, FEBRUARY 8, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 368

B-107905: Feb 8, 1952

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FOR THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO UNOBLIGATED BALANCES OF PRIOR YEAR FUNDS FOR SAID CENSUS WITH WHICH THE 1952 APPROPRIATION WAS MERGED. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 5. YOUR LETTER STATES THAT THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS WAS DESIGNED AS A THREE YEAR PROJECT WITHIN AN ESTIMATED TOTAL COST FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS CONSISTING MAINLY OF FUNDS FOR PERSONAL SERVICES WERE MADE ANNUALLY IN SUFFICIENT AMOUNTS SO THAT OPERATIONS COULD MOVE AHEAD RAPIDLY WITHOUT LOSS IN TIME AND MONEY. ALSO IT IS STATED. - WHICH WERE BROUGHT FORWARD BY THE MERGER PROVISIONS OF THE APPROPRIATING ACTS. THEREBY DEFEATING THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE.

B-107905, FEBRUARY 8, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 368

APPROPRIATIONS - LIMITATIONS - BALANCES MERGED WITH FOLLOWING YEAR APPROPRIATIONS THE PERSONAL SERVICES LIMITATION ON FUNDS APPROPRIATED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, FOR THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO UNOBLIGATED BALANCES OF PRIOR YEAR FUNDS FOR SAID CENSUS WITH WHICH THE 1952 APPROPRIATION WAS MERGED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, FEBRUARY 8, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 5, 1952, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE OF PRIOR YEARS FUNDS IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS MAY BE USED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES WITHOUT REGARD TO THE LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT FOR THAT PURPOSE CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION UNDER THAT HEAD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, PUBLIC LAW 188, APPROVED OCTOBER 22, 1951, 65 STAT. 587.

THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS: FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR TAKING, COMPILING, AND PUBLISHING THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS INCLUDING THE CENSUS OF HOUSING AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW (13 U.S.C. 201-219; 42 U.S.C. 1442) * * * $7,000,000, OF WHICH NOT TO EXCEED $5,646,654 SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES, TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 1952, AND TO BE MERGED WITH THE APPROPRIATION MADE UNDER THIS HEAD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATION ACT 1951.

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS WAS DESIGNED AS A THREE YEAR PROJECT WITHIN AN ESTIMATED TOTAL COST FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS CONSISTING MAINLY OF FUNDS FOR PERSONAL SERVICES WERE MADE ANNUALLY IN SUFFICIENT AMOUNTS SO THAT OPERATIONS COULD MOVE AHEAD RAPIDLY WITHOUT LOSS IN TIME AND MONEY, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM SITUATIONS IN WHICH ANNUAL RECURRING APPROPRIATIONS INCLUDE SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS FOR NON- PERSONAL SERVICE OBLIGATIONS WHICH COULD BE DIVERTED TO PERSONAL SERVICES, CITING IN THAT CONNECTION OFFICE LETTER DATED JANUARY 11, 1952, TO YOU, B- 106875, 31 COMP. GEN. 275, AND DECISIONS REFERRED TO THEREIN.

ALSO IT IS STATED, IN EFFECT, THAT THE BUDGET ESTIMATES AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORIES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1951 AND 1952 INDICATE A FULL REALIZATION BY THE CONGRESS THAT THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCES FOR PRIOR YEARS--- WHICH WERE BROUGHT FORWARD BY THE MERGER PROVISIONS OF THE APPROPRIATING ACTS--- WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THE SAME PURPOSES IN THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEARS, AND THAT TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD FORCE IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF THE ENTIRE PROJECT WITH RESULTING PROHIBITIVE COSTS OF REORGANIZING THE WORK AT A LATER DATE, THEREBY DEFEATING THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE.

IT IS URGED, IN VIEW OF THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED ABOVE, THAT THE CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND THE LIMITATION OF $5,646,654 ON PERSONAL SERVICES CONTAINED IN THE 1952 APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION, TO APPLY TO THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE BROUGHT FORWARD FROM THE 1951 APPROPRIATION.

THE LAW AUTHORIZING THE DECENNIAL CENSUS (ACT OF JUNE 18, 1929, 46 STAT. 21, 13 U.S.C. 201-219) PROVIDES IN SECTION 2 THEREOF THAT THE PERIOD OF THREE YEARS BEGINNING THE ST DAY OF JANUARY IN THE YEAR 1930 AND EVERY TENTH YEAR THEREAFTER SHALL BE KNOWN AS THE DECENNIAL CENSUS PERIOD, AND THAT THE REPORTS UPON THE INQUIRIES PROVIDED FOR SHALL BE COMPLETED WITHIN SUCH PERIOD. THERE CAN BE NO QUESTION BUT THAT THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS WAS PLANNED AS ONE CONTINUOUS PROJECT ON A TOTAL ESTIMATED COST BASIS. SEE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ON THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATION BILL, 1950, PAGE 126; HOUSE REPORT NO. 386, 81ST CONGRESS, PP. 17-18; HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE ON THE SAME BILL, PAGE 10. ALSO, EACH OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1950, 1951 AND 1952, PUBLIC LAWS 179, 63 STAT. 469, APPROVED JULY 20, 1949; 759, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 6, 1950, 64 STAT. 620; AND 188, APPROVED OCTOBER 22, 1951, 65 STAT. 575, RESPECTIVELY, WERE SPECIFICALLY MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 1952, AND THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCES AS OF JUNE 30, 1950, AND JUNE 30, 1951, WERE CARRIED FORWARD AND MERGED WITH THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE IN THE SAID ACTS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1951 AND 1952.

FURTHERMORE, AS YOUR LETTER STATES, THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE 1952 APPROPRIATION ACT (PAGE 100 OF THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE), DISCLOSES THAT THE CONGRESS UNDERSTOOD AT THE TIME THAT, OF THE AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1950 AND 1951, ALL BUT THE SUM OF $601.173 WOULD BE OBLIGATED AS OF JUNE 30, 1951. THE HISTORY DISCLOSES FURTHER THAT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY APPROPRIATED IN THE 1952 ACT WAS FIXED IN THE LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS WOULD HAVE AVAILABLE FOR USE DURING THE 1952 FISCAL YEAR THE ESTIMATED UNEXPENDED BALANCE OF $601,173.

CONSIDERING THAT THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORIES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS ACTS PERTAINING TO THE SEVENTEENTH DECENNIAL CENSUS DISCLOSE CLEARLY THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO APPROPRIATE FOR THE WORK ON AN OVER-ALL COST BASIS, THAT THE AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED EACH YEAR WERE TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 1952, THAT AT THE TIME THE 1952 ACT WAS BEING CONSIDERED, THE CONGRESS EVIDENCED NO INTENTION TO LIMIT THE USE OF ANY AMOUNTS THAT HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY APPROPRIATED, AND THE FACT THAT, IF THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE AS OF JUNE 30, 1951, CANNOT BE USED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES THERE WILL BE A SUSPENSION OF WORK ON THE CENSUS- - RESULTING IN A POSSIBLE FAILURE TO COMPLETE REPORTS BY DECEMBER 31, 1952, AS REQUIRED BY LAW, OR OTHERWISE DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF CONGRESS IN MAKING THE APPROPRIATION--- I AM OF THE OPINION THAT THE 1951 BALANCES ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE PERSONAL SERVICE LIMITATION CONTAINED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952.