B-115750, JULY 20, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 41

B-115750: Jul 20, 1953

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PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE ACCEPTED AS TENANTS ON A RENTAL BASIS BY THE AGENCIES WHICH WERE AUTHORIZED TO ERECT AND MANAGE DEFENSE HOUSING. IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE EXPENSES OF AN EMERGENCY DEFENSE HOUSING FACILITY WHICH THE COAST GUARD PROPOSES TO ACQUIRE FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR USE BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL ON A RENTAL BASIS. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 11. WHICH AT PRESENT IS UNDER THE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY. THE ACTING SECRETARY'S LETTER INDICATES THAT THE HOUSING PROJECT WAS BUILT IN 1942 WITH LANHAM HOUSING ACT FUNDS AND THAT THE HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE ADMINISTRATOR TRANSFERRED JURISDICTION THEREOF TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY PURSUANT TO SECTION 4 OF THE LANHAM HOUSING ACT.

B-115750, JULY 20, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 41

COAST GUARD - "OPERATING EXPENSES" APPROPRIATION - AVAILABILITY FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF DEFENSE HOUSING FACILITY WHILE UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1945, PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE ACCEPTED AS TENANTS ON A RENTAL BASIS BY THE AGENCIES WHICH WERE AUTHORIZED TO ERECT AND MANAGE DEFENSE HOUSING, NO AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE COAST GUARD TO ERECT OR RENT AND MANAGE SUCH HOUSING, AND THEREFORE, THE APPROPRIATION " OPERATING EXPENSES, COAST GUARD" IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE EXPENSES OF AN EMERGENCY DEFENSE HOUSING FACILITY WHICH THE COAST GUARD PROPOSES TO ACQUIRE FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR USE BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL ON A RENTAL BASIS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL FISHER TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JULY 20, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 11, 1953, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, REQUESTING A DECISION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMERGENCY HOUSING FACILITY, COMPRISING 50 UNITS LOCATED IN THE CITY OF CAPE MAY, N.J., WHICH AT PRESENT IS UNDER THE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY.

THE ACTING SECRETARY'S LETTER INDICATES THAT THE HOUSING PROJECT WAS BUILT IN 1942 WITH LANHAM HOUSING ACT FUNDS AND THAT THE HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE ADMINISTRATOR TRANSFERRED JURISDICTION THEREOF TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY PURSUANT TO SECTION 4 OF THE LANHAM HOUSING ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 21, 1942, PUBLIC LAW 409, 56 STAT. 11. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THIS HOUSING PROJECT HAS BEEN OPERATED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE NAVY AND COAST GUARD PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES ON A RENTAL BASIS, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE FOR UTILITIES; THAT COAST GUARD PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES OCCUPY MORE THAN 40 UNITS OF THE PROJECT; THAT CONTINUED OCCUPANCY IS ESSENTIAL; AND THAT UPON RELINQUISHMENT OF THE EMERGENCY HOUSING PROJECT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, THE COAST GUARD HAS PROPOSED THAT THE PROJECT BE RELINQUISHED TO ITS CONTROL AND JURISDICTION THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF A NAVY USE PERMIT, OR POSSIBLE PERMANENT TRANSFER, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL PROPERTY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 40 U.S.C. 471, ET SEQ. THE LETTER REQUESTS A DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) WHETHER COAST GUARD PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS MAY OCCUPY THE PROJECT ON A RENTAL BASIS AS HERETOFORE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, WITHOUT LOSS OF RENTAL ALLOWANCE, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 120, APPROVED 2 JULY, 1945, 59 STAT. 316, SHOULD THE COAST GUARD ACQUIRE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OVER THE HOUSING PROJECT IN QUESTION.

(2) SINCE RENTALS COLLECTED ARE TO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS AND UTILITIES WILL BE PAID FOR BY THE OCCUPANTS OF THE DWELLINGS, IS THE COAST GUARD APPROPRIATION " OPERATING EXPENSES" AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE EXPENSES OF THE HOUSING PROJECT.

THE FIRST QUESTION--- WHETHER COAST GUARD PERSONNEL MAY OCCUPY THE HOUSING PROJECT ON A RENTAL BASIS FROM THE COAST GUARD--- IS INDICATED IN THE ACTING SECRETARY'S LETTER TO BE CONTINGENT UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF ITS APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENSES OF OPERATING THE PROJECT AND QUESTION 2 THEREFORE WILL BE CONSIDERED FIRST.

THE APPROPRIATION " OPERATING EXPENSES, COAST GUARD," CONTAINED IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, PUBLIC LAW 73, APPROVED JUNE 18, 1953, 67 STAT. 69, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE COAST GUARD, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, INCLUDING SERVICES AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 15 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946 (5 U.S.C. 55A); PURCHASE OF NOT TO EXCEED THIRTY-TWO PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES FOR REPLACEMENT ONLY; MAINTENANCE, OPERATION, AND REPAIR OF AIRCRAFT; RECREATION AND WELFARE; AND EXAMINATION OF ESTIMATES OF APPROPRIATIONS IN THE FIELD; $188,250,000:

AS WAS POINTED OUT IN 25 COMP. GEN. 798, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE PRACTICE TO FURNISH QUARTERS TO MILITARY PERSONNEL WITHOUT CHARGE AS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE MILITARY LIFE. IT WAS ONLY BY VIRTUE OF CERTAIN SPECIFIC ACTS QUOTED OR CITED THEREIN THAT THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND NAVY AND THE NATIONAL HOUSING AGENCY AND ITS SUCCESSORS WERE AUTHORIZED TO CONSTRUCT AND MAINTAIN CERTAIN DEFENSE HOUSING AND MAKE IT AVAILABLE TO CIVILIAN DEFENSE WORKERS AS WELL AS MILITARY PERSONNEL WITHOUT AFFECTING THE MONEY ALLOWANCE TO WHICH THE LATTER OTHERWISE ARE ENTITLED FOR RENTAL OF QUARTERS. WHILE UNDER SUCH PROVISIONS OF LAW, AND MORE PARTICULARLY UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1945, 59 STAT. 316, PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE ACCEPTED AS TENANTS ON A RENTAL BASIS--- WITHOUT AFFECTING MONEY ALLOWANCES TO WHICH THE SAID PERSONNEL ARE ENTITLED FOR QUARTERS--- BY THE AGENCIES WHICH WERE AUTHORIZED TO ERECT AND MANAGE THE SAID DEFENSE HOUSING, NAMELY, THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY, NAVY, AND THE NATIONAL HOUSING AGENCY AND ITS SUCCESSORS, NO AUTHORITY APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO THE COAST GUARD TO ERECT OR RENT AND MANAGE SUCH DEFENSE HOUSING. FURTHERMORE, WHILE SECTION 4 OF THE LANHAM ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 21, 1942, 56 STAT. 12, AUTHORIZES THE TRANSFER OF SUCH HOUSING AS MAY BE PERMANENTLY USEFUL FROM THE NATIONAL HOUSING AGENCY AND ITS SUCCESSORS, TO THE ARMY AND NAVY UPON THE REQUEST OF THE SECRETARIES OF THOSE DEPARTMENTS, NO SIMILAR AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY FOR COAST GUARD PURPOSES.

SINCE THE COAST GUARD HAS NO SUCH AUTHORITY TO MANAGE AND RENT DEFENSE HOUSING AND SINCE THE HEARINGS AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, DO NOT SHOW THAT ANY FUNDS WERE REQUESTED OR APPROPRIATED FOR THE MAINTENANCE BY THE COAST GUARD OF SUCH RENTAL HOUSING, I AM CONSTRAINED TO THE VIEW THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR OPERATING EXPENSES OF THE COAST GUARD IS NOT AVAILABLE THEREFOR, EVEN THOUGH THAT APPROPRIATION IS MADE AVAILABLE IN SPECIFIC TERMS FOR "NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE COAST GUARD. THAT APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE ONLY FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES OF THE SERVICE AND THERE APPEARS TO BE NO AUTHORITY FOR THE COAST GUARD TO CARRY ON THE INVOLVED HOUSING PROJECT ON A RENTAL BASIS.

IN VIEW OF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION 2 AS SET OUT ABOVE, IT APPEARS UNNECESSARY TO CONSIDER QUESTION 1.