B-211021, MAY 3, 1984

B-211021: May 3, 1984

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DIGEST: THE JOINT STUDY PANEL ON SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION EXPIRES 30 DAYS AFTER THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION OF ITS FINAL REPORT EVEN IF THE REPORT IS SUBMITTED AFTER THE STATUTORY APRIL 1. EXPIRATION OF THE PANEL IS PROVIDED BY SECTION 338(D) OF PUB.L. THE FINANCIAL CLERK HAS ASKED THREE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS PROVISION: (1) A REPORT WAS TO BE COMPLETED. THE PANEL WOULD EXPIRE 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE THE REPORT WAS SUBMITTED. THE LAST SENTENCE WHICH PROVIDES THE EXPIRATION LANGUAGE IS NOT TIED TO THE DEADLINE. EXPIRATION IS TIED TO THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT. WE CONSIDER THE DUE DATE FOR THE REPORT TO BE A DIRECTION TO THE PANEL THAT IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION IN CALCULATING THE PANEL'S EXPIRATION DATE.

B-211021, MAY 3, 1984

DIGEST: THE JOINT STUDY PANEL ON SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION EXPIRES 30 DAYS AFTER THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION OF ITS FINAL REPORT EVEN IF THE REPORT IS SUBMITTED AFTER THE STATUTORY APRIL 1, 1984, DEADLINE.

JOINT STUDY PANEL ON SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION - DATE OF EXPIRATION:

THE FINANCIAL CLERK OF THE SENATE HAS REQUESTED OUR OPINION CONCERNING THE EXPIRATION OF THE JOINT STUDY PANEL ON THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (THE PANEL) CREATED BY SECTION 338 OF PUB.L. NO. 98-21, 97 STAT. 132-133, APRIL 20, 1983. AS EXPLAINED BELOW, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE PANEL EXPIRES 30 DAYS AFTER THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT ON ITS FINDINGS RATHER THAN 30 DAYS AFTER THE STATUTORY DUE DATE OF THE REPORT OR EARLIER.

EXPIRATION OF THE PANEL IS PROVIDED BY SECTION 338(D) OF PUB.L. NO. 98-21, ID., AS FOLLOWS:

"(D) THE PANEL SHALL SUBMIT TO THE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE OF THE SENATE, NOT LATER THAN APRIL 1, 1984, A REPORT OF THE FINDINGS OF THE STUDY CONDUCTED UNDER SUBSECTION (C), TOGETHER WITH ANY RECOMMENDATIONS THE PANEL CONSIDERS APPROPRIATE. THE PANEL AND ALL AUTHORITY GRANTED IN THIS SECTION SHALL EXPIRE THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE SUBMISSION OF ITS REPORT UNDER THIS SECTION."

THE FINANCIAL CLERK HAS ASKED THREE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS PROVISION:

(1) A REPORT WAS TO BE COMPLETED, ACCORDING TO THE STATUTE, BY APRIL 1, 1984, AND THE PANEL WOULD EXPIRE 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE THE REPORT WAS SUBMITTED. BASED ON THIS, CAN THE PANEL CONTINUE TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS BEYOND APRIL 30, 1984?

(2) CAN THE SECRETARY OF THE SENATE EXPEND FUNDS FOR OBLIGATIONS INCURRED AFTER APRIL 30, 1984?

(3) DOES THE FAILURE OF THE REPORT BEING SUBMITTED BY APRIL 1, 1984, CONSTITUTE AN EXTENSION OF THE AUTHORITY GRANTED BY PUBLIC LAW 98-21 WITHOUT CONGRESS ACTING TO EXTEND THE AUTHORITY BY STATUTE?

WHILE SECTION 338(D) PROVIDES A DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT, THE LAST SENTENCE WHICH PROVIDES THE EXPIRATION LANGUAGE IS NOT TIED TO THE DEADLINE. INSTEAD, EXPIRATION IS TIED TO THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT. WE CONSIDER THE DUE DATE FOR THE REPORT TO BE A DIRECTION TO THE PANEL THAT IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION IN CALCULATING THE PANEL'S EXPIRATION DATE. THE ACTUAL EXPIRATION DATE IS CONTINGENT ON THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT EVEN IF THE APRIL 1, 1984, DEADLINE IS NOT MET.

IN THE FIRST PLACE, WITHOUT THE LAST SENTENCE, A DEADLINE SUCH AS THAT ESTABLISHED BY THE SUBSECTION WOULD CLEARLY BE DIRECTORY AS OPPOSED TO MANDATORY. CONGRESS OFTEN ESTABLISHES SIMILAR SCHEDULES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, BUT FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH STATUTORY SCHEDULES IS NOT NORMALLY CONSIDERED TO TERMINATE THE AUTHORITY TO CARRY OUT THE FUNCTION UNLESS TERMINATION IS REQUIRED IN THE MOST UNMISTAKABLE TERMS. ADDITIONALLY, TERMINATION OF THE PANEL'S EXISTENCE PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION OF ITS REPORT WOULD DEPRIVE THE CONGRESS OF THE FINAL PRODUCT REQUIRED BY THE LAW - A PRODUCT WHICH HAS ALREADY INVOLVED CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE. ALSO NOTE THAT CONGRESS RETAINS CONTROL OVER THE LIFE OF THE PANEL THROUGH LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT AND THE APPROPRIATION PROCESS. ACCORDINGLY, OUR INTERPRETATION DOES NOT PROVIDE A PERMANENT AND INDEPENDENT LIFE TO THE PANEL. WE HAVE EXAMINED THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THIS SECTION AND HAVE FOUND NOTHING THAT WOULD LEAD US TO RESOLVE THE AMBIGUITY IN ANY OTHER WAY. ACCORDINGLY, THE FIRST TWO QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. AS TO THE THIRD QUESTION, UNDER OUR INTERPRETATION OF THE EXPIRATION PROVISION, FAILURE TO SUBMIT THE REPORT ON APRIL 1 HAS NO EFFECT ON EXTENDING THE AUTHORITY OF THE PANEL SINCE IT CONTINUES UNTIL 30 DAYS AFTER SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT.