B-151544, JUNE 17, 1963, 42 COMP. GEN. 699

B-151544: Jun 17, 1963

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IS NOT PROPER IN THE ABSENCE OF ANYTHING IN THE ACT OR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THAT INDICATES THAT AFTER A FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION HAS EXPIRED IT RETROACTIVELY MAY BE OBLIGATED TO COVER TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED IN A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR. WHILE NO ADJUSTMENT ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH PREVIOUS TRAVEL COSTS WHICH WERE IMPROPERLY CHARGED. WE NOTED THAT IN NUMEROUS INSTANCES APPROPRIATIONS LIMITED FOR OBLIGATION PURPOSES TO ONE FISCAL YEAR WERE BEING OBLIGATED AND CHARGED FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS INCIDENT TO TRANSFERS. IN EACH INSTANCE WE NOTED A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION HAD BEEN ISSUED SHOWING THE APPROPRIATION SYMBOL OF THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR AS THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED FOR THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AND EACH CONTAINED A NOTATION THEREON TO THE EFFECT THAT NO EXPENSES WERE TO BE INCURRED THEREUNDER PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR.

B-151544, JUNE 17, 1963, 42 COMP. GEN. 699

APPROPRIATIONS - OBLIGATION - TRAVEL EXPENSES THE PRACTICE OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT IN CHARGING AN EXPIRED APPROPRIATION FOR OVERSEAS TRAVEL COSTS, AFTER THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED IN THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR AND THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH DESIGNATED THE SUCCEEDING APPROPRIATION FOR OBLIGATION HAD BEEN CANCELED, ON THE BASIS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1956, 5 U.S.C. 170O, WHICH AUTHORIZED THE CHARGING OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME TRAVEL BEGINS, IS NOT PROPER IN THE ABSENCE OF ANYTHING IN THE ACT OR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THAT INDICATES THAT AFTER A FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION HAS EXPIRED IT RETROACTIVELY MAY BE OBLIGATED TO COVER TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED IN A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR, AND, THEREFORE, WHILE NO ADJUSTMENT ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH PREVIOUS TRAVEL COSTS WHICH WERE IMPROPERLY CHARGED, IN THE FUTURE TRAVEL COSTS MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO EXPIRED APPROPRIATIONS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 17, 1963:

IN OUR AUDIT OF THE ANNUAL REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE PURSUANT TO SECTION 1311 OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, APPROVED AUGUST 26, 1954, CH. 935, 68 STAT. 830, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 210 (A) OF THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT MATTERS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1960, APPROVED JULY 8, 1959, PUBLIC LAW 86-79, 73 STAT. 167, 31 U.S.C. 200, WE NOTED THAT IN NUMEROUS INSTANCES APPROPRIATIONS LIMITED FOR OBLIGATION PURPOSES TO ONE FISCAL YEAR WERE BEING OBLIGATED AND CHARGED FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS INCIDENT TO TRANSFERS, FOUR TO NINE MONTHS SUBSEQUENT TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE PERIODS OF AVAILABILITY AND AFTER THE REPORTS REQUIRED BY SECTION 1311 HAD BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS. IN EACH INSTANCE WE NOTED A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION HAD BEEN ISSUED SHOWING THE APPROPRIATION SYMBOL OF THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR AS THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED FOR THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AND EACH CONTAINED A NOTATION THEREON TO THE EFFECT THAT NO EXPENSES WERE TO BE INCURRED THEREUNDER PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR. HOWEVER, THESE AUTHORIZATIONS WERE CANCELED AFTER THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN COMPLETED AND WERE REPLACED BY AUTHORIZATIONS WHICH DESIGNATED THE APPROPRIATION SYMBOL OF THE PRECEDING YEAR AS THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED FOR THE TRAVEL. STANDARD FORMS NO. 1097, VOUCHER AND SCHEDULE TO EFFECT CORRECTIONS OF ERRORS, WERE PROCESSED TO EFFECT THE TRANSFER OF CHARGES BETWEEN THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED. CERTAIN PREPARATORY TRAVEL COSTS HAD BEEN INCURRED IN THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEARS AND THIS CIRCUMSTANCE WAS CITED AS THE BASIS FOR RETROACTIVELY CHARGING ALL TRAVEL COSTS TO THE PRECEDING YEAR APPROPRIATION. THE ACTUAL TRAVEL, HOWEVER, WAS PERFORMED IN THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR AS ORIGINALLY CONTEMPLATED.

BY LETTER OF APRIL 8, 1963, WE BROUGHT THE MATTER TO THE ATTENTION OF MR. ANTHONY NOVAK, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF FINANCE, AND REQUESTED HIS VIEWS CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF THE APPROPRIATION CHARGES DISCUSSED ABOVE IN VIEW OF THE RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY SECTION 1311 OF THE ABOVE ACT. REPLY TO THAT LETTER, THE DIRECTOR, BY LETTER OF APRIL 19, 1963, ADVISED THAT, IN HIS VIEW, THE CHARGES ULTIMATELY MADE WERE IN ACCORDANCE WITH AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1956, CH. 841, 70 STAT. 891, 5 U.S.C. 170O.

SECTION 1311 OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 200, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

(A) * * * AFTER AUGUST 26, 1954, NO AMOUNT SHALL BE RECORDED AS AN OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES UNLESS IT IS SUPPORTED BY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE OF---

(7) * * * EXPENSES OF TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW * * *.

(D) NO APPROPRIATION OR FUND WHICH IS LIMITED FOR OBLIGATION PURPOSES TO A DEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF SUCH PERIOD EXCEPT FOR LIQUIDATION OF AMOUNTS OBLIGATED IN ACCORD WITH SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION * * *.

THE GENERAL RULE RELATIVE TO THE CHARGING OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL IS THAT SUCH EXPENSES ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE EXPENSES ARE INCURRED. CONSEQUENTLY, WHERE TRAVEL EXPENSES ARE INCURRED NEAR THE END OF ONE FISCAL YEAR AND TRAVEL EXTENDS INTO THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, THE TOTAL COSTS OFTEN ARE CHARGEABLE IN PART TO BOTH FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS.

CONSEQUENTLY, AND IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF LAW CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE -QUOTED SECTION 1311, IT IS CLEAR THAT THAT PORTION OF THE TRAVEL COSTS HERE INVOLVED WHICH WERE NOT INCURRED UNTIL AFTER JULY 1, COULD NOT PROPERLY BE CHARGED AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR UNLESS SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1956, 5 U.S.C. 170O, REFERRED TO BY THE DIRECTOR, PROVIDES AN EXCEPTION TO SUCH FISCAL YEAR OBLIGATIONAL REQUIREMENT.

THE REFERRED-TO SECTION 10, READS AS FOLLOWS:

APPROPRIATED FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL OF PERSONNEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES INCLUDING TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL EFFECTS, HOUSEHOLD GOODS, OR AUTOMOBILES OF SUCH PERSONNEL SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH EXPENSES WHEN ANY PART OF SUCH TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION BEGINS IN ONE FISCAL YEAR PURSUANT TO TRAVEL ORDERS, ISSUED IN THAT YEAR, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT SUCH TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION MAY NOT BE COMPLETED DURING THE SAME FISCAL YEAR.

AUTHORITY SIMILAR TO THAT CONTAINED IN THE QUOTED SECTION 10 ORIGINALLY WAS INCLUDED AS A GENERAL PROVISION (SECTION 106) OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, APPROVED JUNE 3, 1948, CH. 400, 62 STAT. 316, AND WAS REPEATED IN SUBSEQUENT ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UP TO THE TIME OF THE ENACTMENT OF THE PERMANENT AUTHORITY NOW CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1956.

THE PURPOSE OF THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1956, IS EXPLAINED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 2508 AND IN SENATE REPORT NO. 1175, 84 CONGRESS, IT BEING STATED ON PAGE 17 OF THE HOUSE REPORT AS FOLLOWS:

THIS SECTION WAS ORIGINALLY INCLUDED AS A GENERAL PROVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1949 BY THE HOUSE APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE.

IT WAS DEVELOPED IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR RECOMMENDATIONS TO MEET PROBLEMS ARISING FROM REGULATIONS AND DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. THE LANGUAGE ORIGINALLY APPEARED AS SECTION 106, PUBLIC LAW 597, 80TH CONGRESS, JUNE 3, 1958 (62 STAT. 316). SINCE THEN IT HAS BEEN REPEATED IN EACH ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT.

THIS PROVISION PERMITS THE DEPARTMENT TO BUDGET AND CONTROL EXPENSES OF A PLANNED TRANSFER PROGRAM. IT PERMITS THE DEPARTMENT TO CHARGE THE TOTAL COSTS INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH EACH TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION FOR TRAVEL, PER DIEM, AND TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME EITHER THE TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION BEGINS. UNDER CURRENT REGULATIONS AND RULINGS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OBLIGATIONS INCIDENT TO TRAVEL OF PERSONNEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, INCLUDING TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ARE INCURRED AND ARE CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME AS FOLLOWS: (A) TRAVEL--- (1) AT THE TIME THE TICKET IS PURCHASED IF TRAVEL IS TO COMMENCE WITHIN THE CURRENT YEAR; (2) AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL COMMENCES IF TICKET WAS PURCHASED IN A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR; (B) PER DIEM--- AT THE TIME PER DIEM OCCURS; AND (C) TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS--- AT THE TIME A BILL OF LADING IS SERVED UPON THE CARRIER. THESE INTERPRETATIONS ARE CONTAINED IN DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL GIVEN IN 26 COMP. GEN. 961 (1947), 27 COMP. GEN. 25 (1947), 27 COMP. GEN. 764 (1948).

IN TRANSFERRING PERSONNEL FROM ONE POST TO ANOTHER IT REQUIRES A PERIOD OF 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR OR MORE TO COMPLETE THE TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE, HIS DEPENDENTS AND EFFECTS. UNDER EXISTING RULINGS THE COSTS INVOLVED USUALLY MUST BE CHARGED TO 2 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS WHICH CREATES A LARGE VOLUME OF WORK AND ADJUSTMENT OF ACCOUNTS. UNDER THIS PROVISION THE CHARGES CAN BE PLACED AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION REQUESTED FOR THE PLANNED TRANSFERS.

ALSO, IN CONNECTION WITH THE LEGISLATION'S FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, THE DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, IN LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 7, 1949, ADDRESSED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AND CONSIDERED IN 29 COMP. GEN. 142, STATED, IN EFFECT, THAT THE DEPARTMENT IN JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED LANGUAGE HAD POINTED OUT TO THE HOUSE APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE THAT ITS ENACTMENT INTO LAW WOULD MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO PLAN TRANSFERS OF PERSONNEL WELL IN ADVANCE SINCE IT WOULD KNOW AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR EXACTLY WHAT FUNDS WERE AVAILABLE FOR COMMITMENT DURING THE YEAR WITHOUT BEING CONFRONTED WITH AN UNKNOWN CARRY-OVER FROM THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR; THAT AUTHORIZATIONS FOR TRAVEL COULD BE SPACED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR ACCORDING TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE INSTEAD OF HAVING TO CONCENTRATE SUCH AUTHORIZATIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR IN ORDER TO ENABLE AS MANY AS POSSIBLE TO BE COMPLETED DURING THE SAME FISCAL YEAR; AND THAT THE BACKGROUND OF THE LEGISLATION CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE PRINCIPAL OBJECTIVE WAS TO PERMIT THE DEPARTMENT TO CHARGE ALL TRAVEL EXPENSES TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME ANY PART OF THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY BEGAN IN ORDER TO AVOID THE UNCERTAINTY CAUSED BY CARRYING CHARGES OVER FROM ONE FISCAL YEAR TO THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR.

WHILE THIS SECTION 10 PROVIDES THAT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME TRAVEL BEGINS "SHALL BE AVAILABLE" FOR TRAVEL COSTS EXTENDING INTO THE NEXT YEAR, THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY INDICATES AND YOUR DEPARTMENT HAS CONSTRUED SUCH TERM AS BEING PERMISSIVE RATHER THAN MANDATORY. HOWEVER, IN ORDER TO CHARGE THE ENTIRE COST OF TRAVEL EXTENDING INTO TWO FISCAL YEARS TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME TRAVEL COSTS FIRST ARE INCURRED, SUCH COSTS MUST BE INCURRED PURSUANT TO TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED DURING THAT FISCAL YEAR. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH TRAVEL ORDERS, IT IS CLEAR THAT TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED IN THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR COULD NOT BE CHARGED TO THE PRIOR FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION EVEN THOUGH SOME TRAVEL COSTS WERE INCURRED IN THE PRECEDING YEAR. WE THINK IT EQUALLY CLEAR THAT TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED IN ONE FISCAL YEAR AND DESIGNATING THE FOLLOWING FISCAL YEAR AS THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED IN SUCH FOLLOWING YEAR CANNOT BE CANCELED AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THEY WERE ISSUED MERELY IN ORDER TO DESIGNATE THE EXPIRED APPROPRIATION AS THE ONE CHARGEABLE WITH SUCH COSTS. NOTHING IN THE ACT OR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY SUGGESTS THAT AFTER A FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION HAS EXPIRED IT RETROACTIVELY MAY BE OBLIGATED TO COVER COSTS OF TRAVEL INCURRED IN THE SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR.

ACCORDINGLY, AND ALTHOUGH NO ADJUSTMENT ACTION NOW WILL BE TAKEN BY US, TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH OVERSEAS TRAVEL HEREAFTER SHOULD BE CHARGED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS DECISION.