B-130221, MAR. 13, 1957

B-130221: Mar 13, 1957

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AN APPROPRIATION CHANGE WAS SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS IN MAY 1956 TO EXTEND THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION TO JUNE 30. WAS GRANTED BY THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT. IT IS STATED IN THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR'S LETTER THAT EXTENSION OF AVAILABILITY GRANTED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT. THAT DOES NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOW SINCE THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE IS CAPABLE OF ASCERTAINMENT. THE LETTER FURTHER STATES THAT IN ORAL DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY IT WAS ASCERTAINED THAT THEIR INTERPRETATION OF THE LANGUAGE WAS THAT SINCE THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE AND NOT THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE WAS EXTENDED TO JUNE 30. IT WAS REQUIRED THAT THE FUNDS SO EXTENDED BE ACCOUNTED FOR UNDER A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT APPROPRIATION SYMBOL.

B-130221, MAR. 13, 1957

TO HONORABLE FRANKLIN G. FLOETE, ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

ON DECEMBER 28, 1956, THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION REQUESTED OUR VIEWS CONCERNING THE MANNER OF ACCOUNTING FOR THAT PART OF AN APPROPRIATION WHOSE AVAILABILITY FOR OBLIGATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED FROM JUNE 30, 1956, TO JUNE 30, 1957.

THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, 68 STAT. 800, 815, APPROPRIATED $2,970,600 TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30, 1956, TO PROVIDE FACILITIES FOR 29 ADDITIONAL FEDERAL JUDGES AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 10, 1954, 68 STAT. 8. BECAUSE OF THE FACT YOUR ADMINISTRATION WOULD BE UNABLE TO PROVIDE FACILITIES FOR THREE OF THE JUDGES PRIOR TO JUNE 30, 1956, AN APPROPRIATION CHANGE WAS SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS IN MAY 1956 TO EXTEND THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION TO JUNE 30, 1957, SO THAT FACILITIES CONTEMPLATED FOR THE THREE JUDGES UNDER THE ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION COULD BE PROVIDED.

THIS EXTENSION OF AVAILABILITY TO JUNE 30, 1957, WAS GRANTED BY THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, 70 STAT. 678, 686, IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"ADDITIONAL COURT FACILITIES

"THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE OF THE APPROPRIATION GRANTED UNDER THIS HEAD IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, SHALL REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30, 1957.'

IN VIEW OF THAT LANGUAGE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY BY ANNOUNCEMENTS OF ACCOUNT SYMBOLS AND TITLES NO. 47-194, DATED AUGUST 2, 1956, ASSIGNED A NEW SYMBOL AND TITLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACCOUNTING FOR THE UNOBLIGATED PORTION OF THE ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION REMAINING AVAILABLE IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1957.

IT IS STATED IN THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR'S LETTER THAT EXTENSION OF AVAILABILITY GRANTED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, DOES NOT INDICATE THE PRECISE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE TO BE EXTENDED AND THAT, THEREFORE, THE EXTENSION OF THE PROGRAM FOR ONE MORE YEAR SEEMS TO ACTUALLY STATE THE INTENT OF CONGRESS. HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOW SINCE THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE IS CAPABLE OF ASCERTAINMENT. THE LETTER FURTHER STATES THAT IN ORAL DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY IT WAS ASCERTAINED THAT THEIR INTERPRETATION OF THE LANGUAGE WAS THAT SINCE THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE AND NOT THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE WAS EXTENDED TO JUNE 30, 1957, IT WAS REQUIRED THAT THE FUNDS SO EXTENDED BE ACCOUNTED FOR UNDER A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT APPROPRIATION SYMBOL.

THE LETTER CONTINUES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THIS INTERPRETATION AND SUBSEQUENT ASSIGNMENT OF A SEPARATE SYMBOL CONFLICTS WITH THE INTENT OF GSA IN REQUESTING THE LANGUAGE CHANGE AND IS BELIEVED ALSO TO BE IN CONFLICT WITH THE INTENT OF CONGRESS AND THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET SINCE FOR EXTERNAL BUDGETARY PURPOSES ALL DATA WITH RESPECT TO ADDITIONAL COURT FACILITIES IS PRESENTED AS A SINGLE ITEM. ALSO, THE ASSIGNMENT OF A SEPARATE SYMBOL PRESENTS VARYING ACCOUNTING PROBLEMS, THUS CAUSING NEEDLESS BOOKKEEPING REQUISITES.

"IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU APPROVE THE PRINCIPLE THAT THESE FUNDS REMAIN ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE EXTENDED PERIOD UNDER THE ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION SYMBOL AND TITLE IN ORDER THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT CAN BE SO ADVISED.'

GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 84, SECOND REVISION, DATED NOVEMBER 20, 1950, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WILL ASSIGN RECEIPT, EXPENDITURE, BASIC WORKING FUND, AND OFFICIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT SYMBOLS AND TITLES CONSISTENT WITH THE PRINCIPLES ESTABLISHED BY THIS REGULATION AND WILL ISSUE APPROPRIATE ANNOUNCEMENTS OF ALL SYMBOLS AND TITLES ASSIGNED TO SPECIFIC COUNTS.'

UNDER THE AUTHORITY GRANTED THEREIN AND CONSISTENT WITH A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AND REGULATIONS OF OUR OFFICE AND ACTIONS TAKEN BY US PRIOR TO 1951 IN SIMILAR CASES, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT ASSIGNED THE ACCOUNT SYMBOL IN THE INSTANT CASE. SEE A-19402, SEPTEMBER 1, 1927; GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE REGULATIONS NO. 125, DATED APRIL 2, 1956, PART II-4-A (4); AND CF. 22 COMP. GEN. 59. SEE ALSO BUDGET-TREASURY REGULATION NO. 1, SEC. 21, PARAGRAPH ENTITLED ,REAPPROPRIATION.' IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST FOR ITS VIEWS IN THE MATTER THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, ON FEBRUARY 8, 1957, REPORTED TO US, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW ACCOUNTS WHEN UNOBLIGATED BALANCES OF EXPIRED ACCOUNTS ARE REAPPROPRIATED PROVIDES AN ELEMENT OF CENTRAL CONTROL WHICH WOULD BE LOST IF THE ACCOUNTS WERE NOT ESTABLISHED. THIS IS OBVIOUS SINCE AN AGENCY MUST TAKE POSITIVE DOCUMENTARY ACTION TO TRANSFER THE AMOUNT WHICH IS REAPPROPRIATED FROM THE EXPIRED ACCOUNT TO THE NEW ACCOUNT BEFORE IT CAN BE OBLIGATED. FURTHER, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IS ADVISED OF THE ACTION TAKEN SO THAT THE EXACT AMOUNT OF THE REAPPROPRIATION IS KNOWN TO THE CENTRAL AGENCIES AS WELL AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY AND SUCH REAPPROPRIATION CAN BE REFLECTED IN THE CENTRAL ACCOUNTS AND REPORTS.'

CONCERNING THE INTENT OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN ITS LETTER ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

"IN A RECENT DISCUSSION OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION LEGISLATION WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, THEY ADVISED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT THAT IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE, THE LANGUAGE SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS COULD POSSIBLY HAVE PROVIDED FOR THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE TO BE MADE AVAILABLE RATHER THAN THE UNOBLIGATED BALANCE. ON THE BASIS OF THE LANGUAGE OF THE LAW AS ENACTED, HOWEVER, THEY FELT THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW ACCOUNT WAS PROPER.'

THUS, IT APPEARS THAT THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET HAS CONCURRED IN THE POSITION TAKEN BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

WHILE IT MAY BE THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEPARATE ACCOUNT IN THIS CASE PRESENTS ACCOUNTING AND BOOKKEEPING PROBLEMS, IN VIEW OF WHAT HAS BEEN STATED ABOVE AND THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT BY OUR ABOVE QUOTED REGULATION NO. 84, WE WOULD NOT BE INCLINED TO QUESTION THE ACTION TAKEN BY THAT DEPARTMENT IN THE MATTER. CF. 19 COMP. GEN. 636. THEREFORE, WE MAY NOT APPROVE THE PRINCIPLE THAT THE FUNDS IN QUESTION REMAIN ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE EXTENDED PERIOD UNDER THE ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION SYMBOL AND TITLE.