B-128902, SEPTEMBER 27, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 240

B-128902: Sep 27, 1956

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REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7. YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT BECAUSE OF THE EXTREMELY RAPID INCREASES IN COST OF HEAVY CONSTRUCTION FROM THE TIME THAT ESTIMATES WERE MADE IN 1946. DISCLOSES THAT THERE IS INCLUDED UNDER THE HEADING " CAPITAL OUTLAY. 000 IS THE ESTIMATED COST FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THE EXISTING SOUTHBOUND FOURTEENTH STREET BRIDGE. H.R. 11438 WAS INTRODUCED TO CARRY OUT THE COMMISSIONERS' RECOMMENDATION. FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SOUTHBOUND HIGHWAY BRIDGE IS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE AT THIS TIME AND WHETHER CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT MAY BE ENTERED INTO FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRIDGE. IT IS FUNDAMENTAL. THIS AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED AS AN INCIDENT TO THE POWER OF THE CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE AND REGULATE EXPENDITURES OF THE PUBLIC MONEY.

B-128902, SEPTEMBER 27, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 240

APPROPRIATIONS - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION - LIMITATION ALTHOUGH THE LIMITATION IN THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1946, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE CONSTRUCTION OF TWO BRIDGES ACROSS THE POTOMAC RIVER, HAS NOT BEEN INCREASED EVEN THOUGH THE CONSTRUCTION OF ONE OF THE BRIDGES COSTS SUBSTANTIALLY THE AMOUNT OF THE AUTHORIZATION, THE AMOUNT MADE AVAILABLE IN THE 1957 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION FOR BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION MAY BE EXPENDED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE LIMITATION; HOWEVER, CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN EXCESS OF THE APPROPRIATION WOULD CONTRAVENE THE ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT.

TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, SEPTEMBER 27, 1956.

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1956, CONCERNING THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR REPLACEMENT OF THE EXISTING SOUTHBOUND FOURTEENTH STREET BRIDGE ACROSS THE POTOMAC RIVER.

THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1946, 60 STAT. 566, AUTHORIZED THE CONSTRUCTION OF TWO FOUR-LANE BRIDGES ACROSS THE POTOMAC RIVER TO REPLACE THE OLDER STRUCTURE KNOWN AS THE FOURTEENTH STREET OR HIGHWAY BRIDGE AT A COST NOT TO EXCEED $7,000,000. YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT BECAUSE OF THE EXTREMELY RAPID INCREASES IN COST OF HEAVY CONSTRUCTION FROM THE TIME THAT ESTIMATES WERE MADE IN 1946, UNTIL CONSTRUCTION OF ONE OF THE TWO BRIDGES BEGAN, THE FINAL COST OF THE FIRST OF THE TWO BRIDGES AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY $6,800,000 OR SUBSTANTIALLY THE AMOUNT AUTHORIZED FOR BOTH BRIDGES.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, APPROVED JUNE 29, 1956, 70 STAT. 439, 450, DISCLOSES THAT THERE IS INCLUDED UNDER THE HEADING " CAPITAL OUTLAY, DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS" AN ITEM FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SECOND BRIDGE AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1946, IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,750,000. SEE PAGES 372, 373, 374 AND 375, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATIONS, 1957, HEARINGS BEFORE A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ON H.R. 10003, 84TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION, WHICH BECAME THE 1957 APPROPRIATION ACT; PAGE 119, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1957, HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE, ON H.R. 10003, 84TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION; PAGE 13 OF HOUSE REPORT NO. 1896, 84TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION; AND PAGE 6 OF SENATE REPORT NO. 2094, 84TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION. THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS IN REPORTING THE BILL WHICH BECAME THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 1957 ( HOUSE REPORT NO. 1896, SUPRA), MADE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

THE COMMITTEE HAS APPROVED THE FUNDS REQUESTED FOR THE HIGHWAY BRIDGE REPLACEMENT BUT HAS STRICKEN THE LANGUAGE RAISING THE CEILING ON THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE TWO SPANS FROM $7,000,000 TO $16,000,000, AND SUGGESTS THAT THIS INCREASED LIMITATION BE REQUESTED OF THE PROPER LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE.

YOU STATE THAT UNDER DATE OF MARCH 2, 1956, THE COMMISSIONERS SUBMITTED A REQUEST THAT LEGISLATION BE ENACTED TO INCREASE THE AUTHORIZED COST OF THE TWO BRIDGES FROM $7,000,000 TO $16,000,000, OF WHICH $9,200,000 IS THE ESTIMATED COST FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THE EXISTING SOUTHBOUND FOURTEENTH STREET BRIDGE. YOU ALSO STATE THAT--- AS INDICATED ABOVE--- $6,800,000 HAS ALREADY BEEN EXPENDED FOR THE NORTHBOUND BRIDGE. YOU REPORT THAT ON MAY 24, 1956, H.R. 11438 WAS INTRODUCED TO CARRY OUT THE COMMISSIONERS' RECOMMENDATION, BUT THAT THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 84TH CONGRESS ADJOURNED WITHOUT TAKING ACTION ON THE BILL.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, YOU PRESENT FOR OUR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE $1,750,000 APPROPRIATED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SOUTHBOUND HIGHWAY BRIDGE IS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE AT THIS TIME AND WHETHER CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT MAY BE ENTERED INTO FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRIDGE.

AS A GENERAL PROPOSITION, APPROPRIATIONS TO CARRY OUT ENABLING OR AUTHORIZING LAWS MUST BE EXPENDED IN STRICT ACCORD WITH THE ORIGINAL AUTHORIZATION BOTH AS TO THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS TO BE EXPENDED AND THE NATURE OF THE WORK AUTHORIZED. SEE OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 31, 1956, (B 125404), TO YOU. IT IS FUNDAMENTAL, HOWEVER, THAT ONE CONGRESS CANNOT BIND A FUTURE CONGRESS AND THAT THE CONGRESS HAS FULL POWER TO MAKE AN APPROPRIATION IN EXCESS OF A COST LIMITATION CONTAINED IN THE ORIGINAL AUTHORIZATION ACT. THIS AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED AS AN INCIDENT TO THE POWER OF THE CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE AND REGULATE EXPENDITURES OF THE PUBLIC MONEY.

THERE IS APPARENTLY NO QUESTION BUT THAT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, MADE AN APPROPRIATION OF $1,750,000 FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE REPLACEMENT BRIDGE FOR THE SOUTHBOUND HIGHWAY BRIDGE AND THAT IT MANIFESTS THE LATEST EXPRESSION OF THE CONGRESS ON THE MATTER. THIS BEING SO, THE LACK OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATION INCREASING THE CEILING ON THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE TWO BRIDGES AS FIXED IN THE ORIGINAL AUTHORIZATION ACT DOES NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OR AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH PROVIDED. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE $1,750,000 APPROPRIATED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SOUTHBOUND HIGHWAY BRIDGE IS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE AT THIS TIME FOR THAT PURPOSE.

AS TO WHETHER CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN EXCESS OF $1,750,000 MAY BE ENTERED INTO FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRIDGE, YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING PROVISION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE:

SECTIONS 47-105 (20:625). " ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT" APPLICABLE TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 665 OF TITLE 31 OF THE CODE OF THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, KNOWN AS THE " ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT," ARE HEREBY EXTENDED AND MADE APPLICABLE IN ALL RESPECTS TO APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR AND EXPENDITURES OF AND TO ALL OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

THE ABOVE REFERRED-TO SECTION 665 OF TITLE 31 OF THE U.S.C. PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

(A) * * * * * *

NO OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL MAKE OR AUTHORIZE AN EXPENDITURE FROM OR CREATE OR AUTHORIZE AN OBLIGATION UNDER ANY APPROPRIATION OR FUND IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE THEREIN; NOR SHALL ANY SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE INVOLVE THE GOVERNMENT IN ANY CONTRACT OR OTHER OBLIGATION, FOR THE PAYMENT OF MONEY FOR ANY PURPOSE, IN ADVANCE OF APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR SUCH PURPOSE, UNLESS SUCH CONTRACT OR OBLIGATION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS OF LAW, IT MUST BE HELD THAT CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN EXCESS OF $1,750,000 FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRIDGE IN QUESTION MAY NOT BE ENTERED INTO, SINCE SUCH OBLIGATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

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