B-46462, JANUARY 12, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 514

B-46462: Jan 12, 1945

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WILL BE ACCEPTED. 1945: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 23. PRESENTING FOR DECISION CERTAIN QUESTIONS WHICH HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 404 OF THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT. YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE STATED AND ANSWERED SERIATIM: 1. THE FIRST QUESTION WHICH WE WOULD LIKE TO PRESENT FOR YOUR DECISION IS WHETHER UNDER THE QUOTED PROVISION A LIMITATION WOULD BE ESTABLISHED FOR THE DEPARTMENT AS A WHOLE OR WHETHER IT WOULD BE NECESSARY THAT LIMITATIONS BE ESTABLISHED FOR EACH APPROPRIATION SHOWN IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES. THE SAVINGS HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THE TREASURY FROM THE VARIOUS APPROPRIATIONS. THERE WOULD BE COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISION IF THE 90 PERCENT AVAILABLE WERE ESTABLISHED AS A TOTAL LIMITATION.

B-46462, JANUARY 12, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 514

APPROPRIATIONS - LIMITATIONS - COMMUNICATION SERVICES THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE OR OBLIGATION FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS, TELEGRAMS, AND CABLEGRAMS, AS A RESULT OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 404 OF THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945, REDUCING FUNDS APPROPRIATED OR MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENTS NAMED THEREIN FOR SUCH COMMUNICATION SERVICES BY AN AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO 10 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED AMOUNTS THEREFOR INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES, MAY BE ESTABLISHED EITHER AS ONE LIMITATION FOR THE PARTICULAR DEPARTMENT AS A WHOLE, OR AS A LIMITATION ON EACH APPROPRIATION SHOWN IN THE DEPARTMENT'S BUDGET ESTIMATES. THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE TO A PARTICULAR DEPARTMENT FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS, TELEGRAMS, AND CABLEGRAMS AS A RESULT OF APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 404 OF THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945, APPROVED DECEMBER 22, 1944, REDUCING FUNDS APPROPRIATED OR MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH COMMUNICATION SERVICES BY AN AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO 10 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED AMOUNTS THEREFOR INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES, CONSTITUTES AN APPROPRIATION LIMITATION, AND, THEREFORE, WHILE A CERTIFICATION OF EXPENDITURES FOR SUCH SERVICES FROM JULY 1, 1944, TO JANUARY 31, 1945, WILL BE ACCEPTED, EXPENDITURES FOR THE SUBSEQUENT PERIOD MUST BE REPORTED AND ACCOUNTED FOR CURRENTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE USUAL REQUIREMENTS. THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 404 OF THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945, THAT THE SAVINGS EFFECTED AS A RESULT OF THE PROVISION THEREIN REDUCING THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED OR MADE AVAILABLE FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS, TELEGRAMS, AND CABLEGRAMS "SHALL NOT BE DIVERTED TO OTHER USE BUT SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY" AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, CONTEMPLATES THE RETURN OF SUCH FUNDS TO THE SOURCE FROM WHICH MADE AVAILABLE, AND, THEREFORE, THE SAVINGS EFFECTED IN THE MONEYS MADE AVAILABLE FROM CAPITAL FUNDS OF THE COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION AND THE FEDERAL FARM MORTGAGE CORPORATION FOR SUCH SERVICES MAY BE RETURNED TO THE CORPORATIONS' CAPITAL FUNDS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 12, 1945:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 23, 1944, PRESENTING FOR DECISION CERTAIN QUESTIONS WHICH HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 404 OF THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945, APPROVED DECEMBER 22, 1944, 58 STAT. 886 ( PUBLIC LAW 529, 78TH CONGRESS), WHICH PROVIDES:

THAT DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1945 THERE SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE OR OBLIGATION FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS AND FOR TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AND THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT NOT TO EXCEED 90 PERCENTUM IN THE CASE OF EACH OF SAID DEPARTMENTS OF THE AMOUNTS INCLUDED FOR SUCH PURPOSES IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1945 UNDER THE SCHEDULES IN THE BUDGET UNDER THE HEADING " COMMUNICATION SERVICES: " PROVIDED, THAT THE SAVINGS HEREBY EFFECTED IN THE ITEMS FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS AND FOR TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS FOR EACH OF THE SAID DEPARTMENTS SHALL NOT BE DIVERTED TO OTHER USE BUT SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS * * *.

YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE STATED AND ANSWERED SERIATIM:

1. THE FIRST QUESTION WHICH WE WOULD LIKE TO PRESENT FOR YOUR DECISION IS WHETHER UNDER THE QUOTED PROVISION A LIMITATION WOULD BE ESTABLISHED FOR THE DEPARTMENT AS A WHOLE OR WHETHER IT WOULD BE NECESSARY THAT LIMITATIONS BE ESTABLISHED FOR EACH APPROPRIATION SHOWN IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES. THE DEPARTMENT RECOGNIZES, OF COURSE, THAT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO CONSULT THE BUDGET SCHEDULES FOR THE PURPOSE OF REDUCING THE COMMUNICATION SERVICES ITEMS BY AN AMOUNT WHICH REPRESENTS 10 PERCENT OF FUNDS ESTIMATED FOR "LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS, TELEGRAMS, AND CABLEGRAMS; BUT WE THINK THAT ONCE THAT REDUCTION HAS BEEN MADE, AND THE SAVINGS HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THE TREASURY FROM THE VARIOUS APPROPRIATIONS, THERE WOULD BE COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISION IF THE 90 PERCENT AVAILABLE WERE ESTABLISHED AS A TOTAL LIMITATION. IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE PROVISION IS TO REDUCE THE USE OF THE SPECIFIED TYPES OF COMMUNICATION SERVICES BY 10 PERCENT. MOREOVER, THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROVISION ITSELF INDICATES A DEPARTMENTAL APPROACH, SINCE IT STATES THAT "THERE SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE OR OBLIGATION * * * BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE THE AMOUNTS INCLUDED FOR SUCH PURPOSES IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1945 * * * THE SAVINGS HEREBY EFFECTED * * * FOR EACH OF SAID DEPARTMENTS * * * SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY.' (ITALICS SUPPLIED.) THE USE OF THIS LANGUAGE DEMONSTRATES, IN OUR VIEW, AN INTENTION ON THE PART OF THE CONGRESS TO PLACE A GENERAL LIMITATION ON THE USE OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT SHOWN IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES RATHER THAN A LIMIT ON EACH APPROPRIATION. THE REFERENCE TO THE BUDGET SCHEDULES SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN USED ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING A METHOD OF ARRIVING AT THE TOTAL TO BE AVAILABLE. RECOGNIZE, OF COURSE, THAT A LIMITATION ON EACH APPROPRIATION WOULD EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSE OF THIS STATUTE, BUT IT IS OUR BELIEF THAT THE METHOD WE HAVE SUGGESTED WOULD ALSO CONSTITUTE FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROVISION AND WITH ITS CLEAR PURPOSE.

AS YOU KNOW, THE PROVISION HERE IN QUESTION DEVELOPED FROM A PROVISION OF SIMILAR IMPORT IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945. (SEE HEARINGS BEFORE THE DEFICIENCY SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, P. 212 FF.) WHILE THAT PROVISION IS SOMEWHAT DIFFERENTLY WORDED, IT CLEARLY PROVIDES FOR A LIMITATION MERELY IN GENERAL ON THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR RATHER THAN ON INDIVIDUAL ITEMS. WE BELIEVE CONGRESS INTENDED THE SAME TYPE OF RESTRICTION HERE, UTILIZING THE DEVICE OF PERCENTAGES, SINCE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS WERE BEING COVERED.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE CITED PROVISION OF LAW WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS CONCLUSIVELY INDICATING THE MANNER IN WHICH THE LIMITATIONS CONTEMPLATED BY ITS TERMS ARE TO BE ESTABLISHED AND, MOREOVER, THE LEGISLATIVE PROCEEDINGS ARE BARREN OF ANY MATERIAL EXPLAINING ITS INTENDED WORKINGS. HOWEVER, THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 404 CLEARLY ARTICULATES THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE CONGRESS, TO WIT, TO REDUCE THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED OR MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENTS NAMED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1945 FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS AND FOR TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS BY AN AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO THE 10 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED AMOUNTS FOR SUCH SERVICES INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS FOR ITS CONSIDERATION IN MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1945. HENCE, WHETHER THE RESULTING MAXIMUM AMOUNT AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE OR OBLIGATION BE ESTABLISHED AS ONE LIMITATION FOR EACH APPROPRIATION SHOWN IN THE DEPARTMENT'S BUDGET ESTIMATES WOULD SEEM IMMATERIAL, SINCE IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE EMPLOYMENT OF EITHER METHOD WILL RESULT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE ENACTMENT AND, UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, COULD NOT BE SAID TO CONTRAVENE THE TERMS THEREOF. THEREFORE, AND SINCE YOUR SUBMISSION INDICATES AN ADMINISTRATIVE DESIRE TO OBSERVE A SINGLE LIMITATION, COVERING THE ENTIRE DEPARTMENT, UPON THE FUNDS TO BE EXPENDED OR OBLIGATED FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS AND FOR TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS, THE LIMITATION TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THIS OFFICE FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO SAID SECTION 404 WILL BE ESTABLISHED UPON THAT BASIS.

2. THE NEXT QUESTION DEALS WITH THE ACCOUNTING OPERATIONS UNDER THIS PROVISION. IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR THIS DEPARTMENT TO CERTIFY TO YOU THE AMOUNTS INCLUDED FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS, TELEGRAMS, AND CABLEGRAMS IN THE COMMUNICATION SERVICES ITEMS IN THE BUDGET SCHEDULES SINCE THE AMOUNTS DO NOT APPEAR SEPARATELY IN THE BUDGET. AS A MEANS OF COMPLYING WITH THE PROVISION, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOUR OFFICE ALSO ACCEPT A CERTIFICATION OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT OBLIGATED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR THESE SERVICES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1945, SUCH CERTIFICATION TO BE FURNISHED FOLLOWING THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR. AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN TO WHICH WE UNDERSTAND SOME CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN WOULD BE THE FURNISHING OF A CERTIFICATION BASED UPON EXPENDITURES FOR THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1945, AND THEREAFTER THE MAINTENANCE OF CURRENT ACCOUNTING OF EXPENDITURES CHARGEABLE TO THE LIMITATION. IF A CERTIFICATION IS ACCEPTABLE FOR THE FIRST SIX MONTHS, IT SEEMS REASONABLE THAT SUCH A CERTIFICATION COVERING THE ENTIRE YEAR WOULD ALSO BE ACCEPTABLE AND JUST AS EFFECTIVE. THE PLAN WE RECOMMEND WOULD SEEM TO BE DESIRABLE BOTH FROM YOUR STANDPOINT AND OURS AND ADEQUATE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW. YOUR ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS METHOD WOULD BE SATISFACTORY.

IT WOULD SEEM APPARENT THAT ONCE THERE IS ASCERTAINED THE AMOUNT REPRESENTING THE LIMITATION UPON THE FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS AND FOR TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS, IT OPERATES AS AN APPROPRIATION LIMITATION WITH THE SAME FORCE AND EFFECT AS THOUGH WRITTEN INTO THE APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE ITSELF AND, SUCH BEING THE CASE, THERE IS PERCEIVED NO REASONABLE BASIS FOR NOT REPORTING EXPENDITURES CURRENTLY IN THE USUAL MANNER. THEREFORE, WHILE THERE WILL BE ACCEPTABLE A CERTIFICATION OF EXPENDITURES FOR THE SERVICES IN QUESTION FROM JULY 1, 1944, TO JANUARY 31, 1945, IT MUST BE HELD THAT SUCH EXPENDITURES AS MAY BE MADE FOLLOWING THE PERIOD SPECIFIED ARE TO BE REPORTED AND ACCOUNTED FOR CURRENTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE USUAL REQUIREMENTS.

IN THAT CONNECTION, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IN THE NEAR FUTURE A LETTER WILL BE ADDRESSED TO YOUR DEPARTMENT AND THE OTHER DEPARTMENTS NAMED IN THE SECTION OF THE STATUTE HERE INVOLVED SETTING FORTH THE INFORMATION WHICH WILL BE REQUIRED BY THIS OFFICE AND THE MANNER IN WHICH IT IS TO BE SUBMITTED HERE.

3. OUR THIRD QUESTION RELATES TO THE FUNDS OF THE COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION AND THE FEDERAL FARM MORTGAGE CORPORATION. THESE CORPORATIONS ARE PROHIBITED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1936, 15 U.S.C. 712A, FROM EXPENDING MONEY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, EXCEPT PURSUANT TO AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION SPECIFICALLY THEREFOR. IN PRACTICE, CONGRESS ANNUALLY IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATION ACT PROVIDES AN AUTHORIZATION FOR AN EXPENDITURE OF CAPITAL FUNDS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES BY THESE CORPORATION. MONEYS AUTHORIZED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES BUT NOT EXPENDED FOR SUCH PURPOSES ARE NOT CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUNDS OF THE TREASURY BUT ARE RETURNED TO THE CAPITAL FUNDS OF THE CORPORATIONS, AND SUCH CAPITAL FUNDS ARE HELD SEPARATE FROM THE GENERAL FUNDS OF THE TREASURY. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE REQUESTED TO ADVISE THIS DEPARTMENT WHETHER IN THESE INSTANCES THE AMOUNTS WITHDRAWN FROM EXPENDITURE FOR COMMUNICATION SERVICES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE PROVISION IN QUESTION, MUST BE DEPOSITED IN THE GENERAL FUNDS OF THE TREASURY OR WHETHER THEY MAY BE RETURNED TO THE CAPITAL FUND OF THE CORPORATIONS. IS OUR CONTENTION THAT, SINCE CONGRESS WAS PRINCIPALLY INTERESTED IN A REDUCTION IN EXPENDITURE FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS, TELEGRAMS, AND CABLEGRAMS, AND SINCE THEY WERE LEGISLATING FOR A NUMBER OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, THE MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS REQUIREMENT IS A DESIGNATION TO GUARANTEE A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT WAS INTENDED THAT MONEYS WHICH ARE NOT CURRENTLY AND REGULARLY APPROPRIATED MUST BE DEPOSITED INTO THE GENERAL FUNDS BUT MERELY THAT A SAVING SHOULD BE EFFECTED IN AMOUNT SPENT FOR CERTAIN COMMUNICATION SERVICES.

THE PROVISION REQUIRING THAT THE SAVINGS "SHALL NOT BE DIVERTED TO OTHER USE BUT SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY" IS UNDERSTOOD TO CONTEMPLATE THE RETURN OF SUCH FUNDS TO THE SOURCE FROM WHICH MADE AVAILABLE; AND, SINCE THE MONEYS MADE AVAILABLE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ARE DERIVED FROM THE CAPITAL FUNDS OF THE CORPORATIONS REFERRED TO, I THINK THERE CAN BE LITTLE OR NO DOUBT THAT THE CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND THAT THERE BE ACCOMPLISHED A REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF SUCH CAPITAL FUNDS--- A RESULT WHICH NECESSARILY FOLLOW FROM THE DEPOSIT OF SUCH SAVINGS IN THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY. ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE SAVINGS EFFECTED IN THE AMOUNTS MADE AVAILABLE TO THE COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION AND THE FEDERAL FARM MORTGAGE CORPORATION FOR LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS AND FOR TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS MAY BE RETURNED TO THE CAPITAL FUNDS OF THE CORPORATIONS.