B-108289, APRIL 3, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 493

B-108289: Apr 3, 1952

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TO EFFECT A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT BY REQUIRING THAT EACH PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE PURCHASED FOR REPLACEMENT MUST REPLACE TWO OLD PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS APPLYING TO THOSE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES WITH MORE THAN ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 25. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED TO REPLACE ITS PRESENTLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WITH A NEW ONE IN THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR. IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT FOR SEVERAL YEARS THE COMMISSION HAS OWNED ONLY ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE AND THAT BECAUSE OF ITS AGE AND CONDITION A REPLACEMENT WAS REQUESTED AND WAS AUTHORIZED IN THE 1952 APPROPRIATION TO THE COMMISSION FOR ITS "NECESSARY EXPENSES.

B-108289, APRIL 3, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 493

MOTOR VEHICLES - PASSENGER - REPLACEMENT LIMITATIONS THE PROVISIONS IN SECTION 110 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, TO EFFECT A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT BY REQUIRING THAT EACH PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE PURCHASED FOR REPLACEMENT MUST REPLACE TWO OLD PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS APPLYING TO THOSE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES WITH MORE THAN ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE, SO THAT AN AGENCY OWNING ONLY ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE MAY REPLACE SUCH VEHICLE FROM FUNDS PROVIDED IN ITS CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR THAT PURPOSE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO CHAIRMAN, SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, APRIL 3, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 25, 1952, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED TO REPLACE ITS PRESENTLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WITH A NEW ONE IN THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 110 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, PUBLIC LAW 137, APPROVED AUGUST 31, 1951, 65 STAT. 284, AS OLLOWS:

NO PART OF ANY APPROPRIATION MADE IN THIS TITLE OR TITLE II OF THIS ACT, EXCEPT APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION AND THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF ANY PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE FOR REPLACEMENT PURPOSES UNLESS EACH SUCH PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE PURCHASED REPLACES TWO PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT FOR SEVERAL YEARS THE COMMISSION HAS OWNED ONLY ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE AND THAT BECAUSE OF ITS AGE AND CONDITION A REPLACEMENT WAS REQUESTED AND WAS AUTHORIZED IN THE 1952 APPROPRIATION TO THE COMMISSION FOR ITS "NECESSARY EXPENSES, INCLUDING PURCHASE OF ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE FOR REPLACEMENT ONLY; " CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF AUGUST 31, 1951, SUPRA.

IT IS URGED THAT SAID SECTION 110 IS A PROVISION OF GENERAL APPLICABILITY AND IS INDICATIVE OF A GENERAL INTENT BY THE CONGRESS TO CURTAIL OR LIMIT THE PURCHASE OF AUTOMOBILES WITHOUT COMPLETELY BARRING THE PURCHASE OF SUCH VEHICLES FOR REPLACEMENT AND THAT TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD FRUSTRATE THIS GENERAL PURPOSE AND IMPOSE A HARDSHIP NOT INTENDED IN SITUATIONS WHERE AN AGENCY HAD ONLY ONE VEHICLE AT THE TIME THE SECTION WAS ENACTED.

SECTION 110 OF THE 1951 ACT HERE IN QUESTION WAS INTRODUCED ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AS AN AMENDMENT TO THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION BILL, 1952, AND IT SEEMS CLEAR FROM THE DEBATES THEREON-- CONGRESSIONAL RECORD DATED JUNE 18, 1951, PAGES 6820-6823--- THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED SUCH PROVISION TO EFFECT A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF VEHICLES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT BY REQUIRING THAT EACH VEHICLE PURCHASED FOR REPLACEMENT MUST REPLACE TWO OLD VEHICLES. HOWEVER, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE PROVISION TO INDICATE ANY INTENTION BY THE CONGRESS THAT THE REDUCTION FORMULA SHOULD BE EXTENDED TO THE POINT WHERE AN AGENCY WITH ONLY ONE OLD VEHICLE COULD NOT REPLACE IT WITH A NEW ONE FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE PROVIDED IN ITS CURRENT APPROPRIATION. TO HOLD THAT A REPLACEMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES NOT ONLY WOULD BE REPUGNANT TO THE EVIDENT LEGISLATIVE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE BUT COULD RESULT IN AN ABSURD SITUATION WHERE AN AGENCY WOULD BE COMPELLED TO EXPEND UNREASONABLE SUMS TO MAINTAIN AND REPAIR AN OLD VEHICLE OR ELSE BE FORCED TO DISPENSE ENTIRELY WITH ITS USE TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE AGENCY'S OPERATION. MANIFESTLY, SUCH A RESULT WAS NOT INTENDED BY THE CONGRESS IN THIS INSTANCE. SEE 19 COMP. GEN. 516, AND CASES THEREIN CITED.

ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE PERCEIVES NO OBJECTION TO THE REPLACEMENT OF THE PRESENTLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION UNDER AUTHORITY OF ITS CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR THAT PURPOSE.