B-163565, MAR. 8, 1968

B-163565: Mar 8, 1968

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WAS IN ACCORD WITH THE LANGUAGE AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE LAW. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE. YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE REVIEWED THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT IN QUESTION AND FIND NOTHING TO SUPPORT THE REDUCED ALLOWANCE AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 3 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. WAS WORDED AS FOLLOWS: "SEC. 24 UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND TO THE EXTENT DEEMED NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE. AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHO IS REIMBURSED UNDER SECTION 1 (A) OR SECTION 2.3 OF THIS ACT SHALL. IF HE DOES NOT HAVE AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY. 1965 (REPORT NO. 1199) WAS AMENDED BY STRIKING OUT THE WORDS "EQUAL TO" AS THEY APPEARED (TWICE) IN THE PROPOSED SECTION AND INSERTING THE WORDS "NOT TO EXCEED" IN LIEU THEREOF.

B-163565, MAR. 8, 1968

EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - PUBLIC LAW 89-516 - MISCELLANIOUS EXPENSES DECISION TO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE DENYING CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION. THE REDUCTION OF A MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE BELOW THE ONE OR TWO WEEKS' SALARY EQUIVALENT UNDER SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516, 5 U.S.C. 5724A (B), WAS IN ACCORD WITH THE LANGUAGE AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE LAW.

TO MR. KENNETH E. BROOTEN, JR.:

ON FEBRUARY 7, 1968, CONGRESSMAN HENRY B. GONZALEZ ASKED THAT WE CONSIDER FURTHER YOUR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT OF AN ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE UNDER SECTION 24 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF1946, AS AMENDED, AS ADDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516, APPROVED JULY 21, 1966, NOW 5 U.S.C. 5724A (B) UPON YOUR TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE, DATED DECEMBER 22, 1967.

AS INDICATED IN YOUR CORRESPONDENCE TRANSMITTED HERE BY CONGRESSMAN GONZALEZ, YOU BELIEVE THAT THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET HAS EXCEEDED THE AUTHORITY GIVEN BY CONGRESS IN THAT BY REGULATION OF SUCH AGENCY THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE HAS BEEN REDUCED BELOW THE ONE OR TWO WEEKS' SALARY AS PROVIDED IN THE AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION. FURTHER, YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE REVIEWED THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT IN QUESTION AND FIND NOTHING TO SUPPORT THE REDUCED ALLOWANCE AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 3 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56.

SECTION 24 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946 AS ORIGINALLY PROPOSED IN H.R. 10607, 89TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION, INTRODUCED BY CONGRESSMAN ROSENTHAL, WAS WORDED AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 24 UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE AND TO THE EXTENT DEEMED NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, AS PROVIDED THEREIN, AND NOTWITHSTANDING OTHER REIMBURSEMENT AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS ACT, AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHO IS REIMBURSED UNDER SECTION 1 (A) OR SECTION 2.3 OF THIS ACT SHALL, IF HE HAS AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY, RECEIVE AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO TWO WEEKS' BASIC COMPENSATION, OR, IF HE DOES NOT HAVE AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO ONE WEEK'S BASIC COMPENSATION: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH AMOUNTS SHALL NOT EXCEED AMOUNTS DETERMINED FROM THE MAXIMUM RATE OF GRADE GS-13 IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED.'

THE BILL H.R. 10607 AS REPORTED BY THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON OCTOBER 12, 1965 (REPORT NO. 1199) WAS AMENDED BY STRIKING OUT THE WORDS "EQUAL TO" AS THEY APPEARED (TWICE) IN THE PROPOSED SECTION AND INSERTING THE WORDS "NOT TO EXCEED" IN LIEU THEREOF. THE SUBSTITUTION OF SUCH LANGUAGE WAS EXPLAINED ON PAGE 8 OF THE REPORT AS FOLLOWS:

"THE THIRD AND FOURTH AMENDMENTS PLACE A CEILING ON THE AMOUNT OF MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES OF 2 WEEKS' BASIC COMPENSATION FOR AN EMPLOYEE WITH A FAMILY AND 1 WEEK'S BASIC COMPENSATION FOR AN EMPLOYEE WITHOUT A FAMILY. WITHOUT THE AMENDMENT THESE EMPLOYEES WOULD RECEIVE A FLAT AMOUNT OF 1 OR 2 WEEKS' COMPENSATION FOR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES.'

THE ABOVE AMENDMENTS BY THE COMMITTEE MAY HAVE BEEN PREDICATED TO SOME EXTENT ON THE REMARKS CONTAINED IN OUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1965, PRINTED ON PAGES 24 THROUGH 27 OF HOUSE REPORT NO. 1199.

MOREOVER, SENATE REPORT NO. 1357, 89TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION ON H.R. 10607, ON PAGE 8 CONTAINS AN EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISION IN QUESTION AS SUBMITTED TO THE CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE, BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET UNDER DATE OF APRIL 25, 1966. THAT EXPLANATION IS AS FOLLOWS:

"SIXTH, THE BILL WOULD AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF A CASH ALLOWANCE IN DEFRAYING A WIDE VARIETY OF MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES NORMALLY INCURRED WHEN EMPLOYEES ARE TRANSFERRED. THE BILL PROVIDES THAT THE PAYMENTS ARE TO BE ALLOWED ONLY TO THE EXTENT DEEMED NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, AS PROVIDED IN ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS. THE PAYMENT COULD NOT EXCEED 2 WEEKS' BASIC COMPENSATION FOR EMPLOYEES WITHOUT IMMEDIATE FAMILIES. THE BILL FURTHER PROVIDES THAT THE AMOUNTS OF THE PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED AMOUNTS DETERMINED FROM THE MAXIMUM RATE OF GRADE GS 13 IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED.'

WE NOTE THAT THE TESTIMONY ON H.R. 10607 WHICH YOU QUOTE IN YOUR CORRESPONDENCE WAS GIVEN PRIOR TO THE ACTION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE IN AMENDING THE BILL IN THE MANNER REFERRED TO ABOVE. ALSO, THE QUOTATION FROM HOUSE REPORT NO. 1199 APPEARING IN YOUR CORRESPONDENCE ACTUALLY IS PART OF A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND JUSTIFICATION WHICH ACCOMPANIED A DRAFT OF THE BILL (LATER INTRODUCED AS H.R. 10607) SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION UNDER DATE OF MAY 20, 1965. THEREFORE, SUCH QUOTATION IS NOT PERTINENT TO THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 24, AS AMENDED BY THE COMMITTEE ON OCTOBER 12, 1965. AS TO CONGRESSMAN ROSENTHAL'S STATEMENT ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE EFFECT THAT AN EMPLOYEE WOULD RECEIVE (FOR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES) THE EQUIVALENT OF ONE OR TWO WEEKS' SALARY DEPENDING ON WHETHER HE WAS SINGLE OR MARRIED WE DO NOT BELIEVE SUCH STATEMENT IS SIGNIFICANT IN THE LIGHT OF THE ACTION TAKEN TO REMOVE THE WORDS "EQUAL TO" AND THE STATED PURPOSE THEREOF AS REFLECTED IN THE REPORTS FROM WHICH WE HAVE QUOTED HEREIN.

ACCORDINGLY, OUR VIEW IS THAT THE REGULATION OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET WHICH PROVIDES FOR A MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE WHICH, UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, IS LESS THAN AN EMPLOYEE'S SALARY FOR ONE OR TWO WEEKS, AS THE CASE MAY BE, IS FULLY SUPPORTED BY THE LANGUAGE OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AND THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THEREOF. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT AS A MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE ALLOWANCE WAS CORRECT AND IS HEREBY SUSTAINED.