B-147476, NOV. 6, 1961

B-147476: Nov 6, 1961

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YOUR LETTER INDICATES THAT THE PROPOSAL RELATES TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND OVERSEAS AREAS AND IS PREMISED UPON YOUR BELIEF THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BETTER REPRESENTED TO OTHER PEOPLES OF THE WORLD IF MORE WIVES TRAVELED WITH THEIR HUSBANDS. YOU RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WOULD REQUIRE CHANGES IN EXISTING REGULATIONS AND POSSIBLY IN THE STATUTES ON WHICH THEY ARE BASED. SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRANSPORTATION UNLESS IT IS CERTIFIED. THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE.

B-147476, NOV. 6, 1961

TO THE SECRETARY OF LABOR:

IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 25, 1961, YOU PROPOSE THAT THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND, IF NECESSARY THE CONTROLLING STATUTORY PROVISIONS BE AMENDED TO PERMIT, UNDER APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES, AN OFFICIAL OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVELING ON BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES TO "APPLY THE VALUE OF THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE AUTHORIZED FOR HIMSELF TO THE PURCHASE OF TWO TOURIST OR ECONOMY CLASS FARES FOR HIM AND HIS WIFE.' YOUR LETTER INDICATES THAT THE PROPOSAL RELATES TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND OVERSEAS AREAS AND IS PREMISED UPON YOUR BELIEF THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BETTER REPRESENTED TO OTHER PEOPLES OF THE WORLD IF MORE WIVES TRAVELED WITH THEIR HUSBANDS. HOWEVER, YOU RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WOULD REQUIRE CHANGES IN EXISTING REGULATIONS AND POSSIBLY IN THE STATUTES ON WHICH THEY ARE BASED.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808, 5 U.S.C. 73B, PROVIDES THAT:

"WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION MAY BE ALLOWED, SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRANSPORTATION UNLESS IT IS CERTIFIED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY.'

THE QUOTED SECTION AUTHORIZES ALLOWANCE TO THE TRAVELER OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION INCURRED WHEN HE TRAVELS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH ACTUAL EXPENSES DO NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST- CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY UTILIZED. THE SECTION PRECLUDES THE ALLOWANCE OF ANY AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES SO INCURRED. WE ARE AWARE OF NO STATUTORY PROVISION AUTHORIZING THE ALLOWANCE OF THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE DEPENDENTS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO MAY ACCOMPANY HIM ON TEMPORARY DUTY, UNRELATED TO TRAVEL TO A PERMANENT POST OF ASSIGNMENT.

ALSO, UNDER CURRENT STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET (SEE ESPECIALLY SUBSECTION C. OF SECTION 3.6) AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER IS EXPECTED TO UTILIZE ,AIR COACH," "TOURIST," ETC., ACCOMMODATIONS WHENEVER SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS MEET REASONABLE AND ADEQUATE STANDARDS FOR CONVENIENCE, SAFETY, COMFORT, AND MEET HIS ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MEETING APPOINTMENTS AND CONNECTIONS WITH OTHER SCHEDULED TRANSPORTATION. SUCH REGULATION CONTEMPLATES THAT FIRST-CLASS AIR ACCOMMODATIONS WILL BE USED ONLY WHEN LOWER-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT REASONABLY ADEQUATE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THOSE FACTORS. CONCERNING USE OF LOWER THAN FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS FOR TRAIN AND STEAMER TRAVEL SEE SECTIONS 3.6A. AND B. OF THOSE REGULATIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT LEGISLATION WOULD BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE A LEGAL BASIS FOR YOUR PROPOSAL, AND SUGGEST THAT IF YOU WISH TO PURSUE THE MATTER FURTHER APPROPRIATE STEPS BE TAKEN TO RECOMMEND LEGISLATION FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS.