B-114626, MAY 6, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 495

B-114626: May 6, 1953

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WHICH WERE CERTIFIED TO CONGRESS BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF CIVIL AERONAUTICS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 17 OF THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9. IS AS FOLLOWS: THERE ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE ADMINISTRATOR TO MAKE PAYMENTS AS PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION TO PUBLIC AGENCIES. - ALL BUT THE LAST SPECIFIED THAT THE MONEYS APPROPRIATED THEREBY WERE "TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30. - WAS THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT. IT IS NOTED THAT SECTION 17 (B) OF THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT. WHEN AN APPROPRIATION IS BY ITS TERMS MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL A SPECIFIED DATE. THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT THE AVAILABILITY RELATES TO THE AUTHORITY TO OBLIGATE THE APPROPRIATION.

B-114626, MAY 6, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 495

APPROPRIATIONS - PAYMENT OF CERTIFIED CLAIMS - AVAILABILITY LIMITATION IN VIEW OF THE LIMITATION TO JUNE 30, 1953, ON THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR PAYMENT OF CLAIMS, FOR REPAIR OR REHABILITATION OF AIRPORTS, WHICH WERE CERTIFIED TO CONGRESS BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF CIVIL AERONAUTICS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 17 OF THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT, THE UNEXPENDED BALANCES IN THE APPROPRIATIONS AFTER JUNE 30, 1953, SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THE CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT " PAYMENT OF CERTIFIED CLAIMS" AND CLAIMS FOR SETTLEMENT AFTER THAT DATE SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MAY 6, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1953, REQUESTING THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE AS TO WHETHER FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS UNDER SECTION 17 OF THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT, 60 STAT. 179, AS AMENDED, 49 U.S.C. 1116, MAY BE PAID OUT AFTER JUNE 30, 1953.

SECTION 17 OF THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT, SUPRA, PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO PUBLIC AGENCIES FOR THE NECESSARY REHABILITATION OR REPAIR OF PUBLIC AIRPORTS SUBSTANTIALLY DAMAGED BY ANY FEDERAL AGENCY. THE PORTION THEREOF HERE PERTINENT, 49 U.S.C. 1116 (C), IS AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE ADMINISTRATOR TO MAKE PAYMENTS AS PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION TO PUBLIC AGENCIES, EITHER UPON COMPLETION OF THE REHABILITATION OR REPAIR INVOLVED, OR AS SUCH REHABILITATION OR REPAIR PROGRESSES, IT BEING THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBSECTION TO AUTHORIZE THE ADMINISTRATOR TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO PUBLIC AGENCIES, OUT OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF SUCH PUBLIC AGENCIES OF WORK PERFORMED IN ACCOMPLISHING REHABILITATION OR REPAIR PRIOR TO FINAL COMPLETION OF SUCH WORK AND AT SUCH TIME OR TIMES AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE PUBLIC AGENCY INVOLVED: PROVIDED, THAT NO SUCH PAYMENT MADE BY THE ADMINISTRATOR SHALL BE IN AN AMOUNT WHICH, TOGETHER WITH ALL PREVIOUS PAYMENTS MADE TO REIMBURSE SUCH PUBLIC AGENCY FOR THE COST OF SUCH REHABILITATION OR REPAIR, SHALL EXCEED THE ESTIMATED COST OF THE WORK THEN PERFORMED. IF THE ADMINISTRATOR SHALL DETERMINE AT ANY TIME THAT THE AGGREGATE OF SUCH PAYMENTS EXCEEDS THE ACTUAL COST OF THE WORK THEN PERFORMED THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER SUCH EXCESS. IN THE EVENT THE ESTIMATE OF THE COST OF REHABILITATION OR REPAIR OF AN AIRPORT AS CERTIFIED TO CONGRESS BY THE ADMINISTRATOR EXCEEDS THE ACTUAL COST OF SUCH REHABILITATION OR REPAIR, THE AMOUNT OF SUCH EXCESS SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. APPROPRIATIONS MADE PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION SHALL REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30, 1953, UNLESS SOONER EXPENDED. ALSO, OF THE TEN APPROPRIATION ACTS APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS UNDER THIS SECTION--- 63 STAT. 83, 240, 745, 875 AND 978; 64 STAT. 1048; 65 STAT. 55 AND 739; 66 STAT. 103 AND 639--- ALL BUT THE LAST SPECIFIED THAT THE MONEYS APPROPRIATED THEREBY WERE "TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30, 1953.' THE LAST APPROPRIATION--- 66 STAT. 639--- WAS THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, AND HENCE THE SUMS APPROPRIATED THEREBY WOULD BE "AVAILABLE" UNTIL JUNE 30, 1953, WITHOUT SPECIFICALLY SO STATING.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF LAW HERE INVOLVED, THE ADMINISTRATOR OF CIVIL AERONAUTICS HAS CERTIFIED TO THE CONGRESS SUCH AMOUNTS AS HE FOUND TO BE THE ACTUAL OR ESTIMATED COST OF THE REHABILITATION OR REPAIR OF AIRPORTS FOR WHICH CLAIMS HAD BEEN TIMELY SUBMITTED. THE CONGRESS THEREUPON APPROPRIATED THE AMOUNTS CERTIFIED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR, SPECIFYING IN THE VARIOUS ACTS THE AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED FOR EACH SUCH AIRPORT. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT IS NOTED THAT SECTION 17 (B) OF THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT, 49 U.S.C. 1116 (B), PROVIDES IN PART THAT " CERTIFICATIONS MADE HEREUNDER BY THE ADMINISTRATOR SHALL BE DEEMED CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, PAYABLE AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED.'

WHEN AN APPROPRIATION IS BY ITS TERMS MADE AVAILABLE UNTIL A SPECIFIED DATE, THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT THE AVAILABILITY RELATES TO THE AUTHORITY TO OBLIGATE THE APPROPRIATION, AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY PROHIBIT PAYMENTS AFTER THE AVAILABLE DATE FOR OBLIGATIONS PREVIOUSLY INCURRED, UNLESS THE PAYMENT IS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED BY STATUTE. 23 COMP. GEN. 862. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF LAW SET OUT ABOVE, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE OBLIGATIONS EXISTED BEFORE THE APPROPRIATIONS WERE ENACTED. SINCE THE APPROPRIATIONS WERE OBLIGATED AT THE INSTANT OF THEIR ENACTMENT, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE PERIOD OF AVAILABILITY PLACED UPON THE FUNDS RELATES TO EXPENDITURES RATHER THAN TO OBLIGATIONS. THEREFORE, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT, AS OF JUNE 30, 1953, THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO CURTAIL EXPENDITURES BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY AND TO LAPSE THE UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS AS OF THAT DATE. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF THE ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION INDICATING A DIFFERENT DISPOSITION OF SUCH FUNDS, THE BALANCES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED WILL BE FOR TRANSFERRING ON JUNE 30, 1953, TO THE CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT " PAYMENT OF CERTIFIED CLAIMS" UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1949, 63 STAT. 407 (31 U.S.C. 712B) AND ANY CLAIMS OF PAYMENT ARISING UNDER THE APPROPRIATIONS SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT.