B-61359, NOVEMBER 7, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 312

B-61359: Nov 7, 1946

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- ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CHARGED TO. 1946: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS MAY EMPLOY FUNDS WHICH WERE ALLOCATED BY THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT. THE FURTHER QUESTION IS SUBMITTED AS TO WHETHER THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS IS RESTRICTED IN THE EXPENDITURE OF SUCH FUNDS TO TOTAL OF 184 PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES (WHETHER ACQUIRED THROUGH PURCHASE OR THROUGH TRANSFER WITHOUT A TRANSFER OF FUNDS). EVEN THOUGH SOME OF SUCH VEHICLES WERE ACQUIRED WITHOUT A TRANSFER OF FUNDS (PURSUANT TO SECTION 102 TO PUBLIC LAW 346. PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IN EXCESS OF 184 HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION SINCE JULY 1.

B-61359, NOVEMBER 7, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 312

VEHICLES - ACQUISITION BY TRANSFER FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS AS CONSTITUTING "PURCHASES" THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 16 (A) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, THAT PASSENGER VEHICLES ACQUIRED BY TRANSFER FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS BE CONSIDERED AS PURCHASES HAS REFERENCE TO TRANSFERS INVOLVING AN EXPENDITURE FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS, AND, THEREFORE, VEHICLES ACQUIRED BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION BY TRANSFER FROM THE WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS PURSUANT TO SECTION 102 OF THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944--- SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITING THE REIMBURSEMENT OF APPROPRIATIONS ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH TRANSFERS--- ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CHARGED TO, OR REGARDED AS A PART OF, THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF VEHICLES AUTHORIZED TO BE PURCHASED BY THE ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, NOVEMBER 7, 1946:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS MAY EMPLOY FUNDS WHICH WERE ALLOCATED BY THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947 ( PUBLIC LAW 334, 79TH CONGRESS, APPROVED MARCH 28, 1946), TO ACQUIRE "NOT TO EXCEED 184" PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES, AND IN ADDITION THERETO MAY ACQUIRE SUCH OTHER PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES AS MAY BE NEEDED FOR OFFICIAL USE WITHOUT A TRANSFER OF FUNDS PURSUANT TO SECTION 102 OF THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944 ( PUBLIC LAW 346, 78TH CONGRESS).

IF THE ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING SHOULD BE IN THE NEGATIVE, THE FURTHER QUESTION IS SUBMITTED AS TO WHETHER THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS IS RESTRICTED IN THE EXPENDITURE OF SUCH FUNDS TO TOTAL OF 184 PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES (WHETHER ACQUIRED THROUGH PURCHASE OR THROUGH TRANSFER WITHOUT A TRANSFER OF FUNDS), EVEN THOUGH SOME OF SUCH VEHICLES WERE ACQUIRED WITHOUT A TRANSFER OF FUNDS (PURSUANT TO SECTION 102 TO PUBLIC LAW 346, 78TH CONGRESS), ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1946 BUT PRIOR TO AUGUST 2, 1946 (THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS).

PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IN EXCESS OF 184 HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION SINCE JULY 1, 1946 PURSUANT TO SECTION 102 OF PUBLIC LAW 346, 78TH CONGRESS.

THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IN A NUMBER OF INSTANCES HAS REQUESTED THE WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS TO "FREEZE" CERTAIN HOSPITALS AND ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT LOCATED THEREAT NEEDED TO OPERATE THE SAME. SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE FEDERAL BOARD OF HOSPITALIZATION AND THE PRESIDENT, IT IS EXPECTED THAT MANY OF THESE HOSPITALS AND SUCH EQUIPMENT WILL BE ACQUIRED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR OF 1947, WITHOUT AN EXCHANGE OF FUNDS, PURSUANT TO SECTION 102, PUBLIC LAW 346, 78TH CONGRESS. THERE WILL BE A NUMBER OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES, INCLUDING AMBULANCES, TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AS PART OF THE ESSENTIAL OPERATING EQUIPMENT OF SUCH HOSPITALS. OF COURSE, A LARGE NUMBER OF NEW VEHICLES ARE NEEDED AT THE MANY HOSPITALS AND THE OTHER INSTALLATIONS OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION. IN SOME CASES ALL OF THE BEDS OF THE HOSPITALS ACQUIRED BY TRANSFER AS ABOVE-MENTIONED WILL BE USED AND ALL OF THE VEHICLES AT SUCH HOSPITALS WILL BE NEEDED TO OPERATE SAME. IN OTHER INSTANCES, ONLY A PORTION OF THE BEDS AT SUCH HOSPITALS WILL BE USED AND ONLY A PART OF THE PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES THUS ACQUIRED WILL BE NEEDED. HOWEVER, IN SUCH CASES IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT ALL SERVICEABLE VEHICLES, OTHER THAN AMBULANCES WHICH ARE NEEDED AT SUCH HOSPITALS, WILL BE PROFITABLY USED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AT OTHER HOSPITALS AND OFFICES OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION.

THIS SUBMISSION IS MADE IN VIEW OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947 ( PUBLIC LAW 334, 79TH CONGRESS), WHICH UNDER THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SECTION ON PAGE 17 STATES AS OLLOWS:

"PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THIS APPROPRIATION SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO * * * FOR PURCHASE (NOT TO EXCEED ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FOUR, WHICH WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AMBULANCES, SHALL BE USED OR SURPLUS), MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES; * * *.'

AND SECTION 407 OF THE ACT OF JULY 23, 1946 ( PUBLIC LAW 521, 79TH CONGRESS, ENTITLED THE " THIRD DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946"), WHEREIN THE RESTRICTION ABOVE-MENTIONED IN THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947 TO THE EFFECT THAT THE 184 PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES ,SHALL BE USED OR SURPLUS" WAS REMOVED; AND THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, (38 STAT. 508; 5 U.S.C.A. 79), WHICH PROVIDES:

"NO APPROPRIATION MADE IN ANY ACT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF ANY MOTOR-PROPELLED * * * PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE FOR THE SERVICE OF ANY OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENTS, OR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE, UNLESS SPECIFIC AUTHORITY IS GIVEN THEREFOR. THERE SHALL NOT BE EXPENDED OUT OF ANY APPROPRIATION MADE BY CONGRESS ANY SUM FOR PURCHASE, * * * OF MOTOR-PROPELLED * * * PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES FOR ANY BRANCH OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES UNLESS THE SAME IS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW. * * *" (ITALICS ADDED.) AND SECTION 16 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946 ( PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS), WHICH AMENDS SECTION 5 (E) OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE ACQUISITION OF * * * PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES BY ANY AGENCY BY TRANSFER FROM ANOTHER DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS A PURCHASE WITHIN THE MEANING HEREOF.' (ITALICS ADDED.)

AS OF OCTOBER 1, 1946, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HAD ACQUIRED FROM THE ARMY OR NAVY WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT AND WAS OPERATING 24 HOSPITALS (14,939 BEDS). THIS NUMBER INCLUDES 7 OF THE 8 HOSPITALS SET FORTH IN THE LIST INSERTED IN THE RECORD OF THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 79TH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION, AT PAGE 842, ON THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION BILL FOR 1947. IN ADDITION TO THESE 24 HOSPITALS, 7 OTHER MILITARY HOSPITALS (5050 BEDS) HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR ACQUISITION, AND 5 MORE MILITARY AND PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITALS ARE PROPOSED FOR ACQUISITION. WITH EACH HOSPITAL ACQUIRED IN THE PAST A VARYING NUMBER OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED AS PART OF THE EQUIPMENT OF THE HOSPITAL. IN ONE INSTANCE, THE MCGUIRE GENERAL HOSPITAL, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, THE NUMBER TRANSFERRED WAS 20. IT IS EXPECTED THAT WITH EACH MILITARY OR NAVAL HOSPITAL HEREAFTER ACQUIRED, A VARYING NUMBER OF PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES WILL LIKEWISE BE TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. VEHICLES, SUCH AS AMBULANCES, PASSENGER CARS AND BUSES, ARE AS ESSENTIAL TO THE OPERATION OF A HOSPITAL AS BEDS, OPERATING ROOM EQUIPMENT, ET CETERA.

SECTION 102 OF THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944, APPROVED JUNE 22, 1944 (58 STAT. 284), CITED IN YOUR LETTER, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS AND THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ARE HEREBY GRANTED AUTHORITY TO ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS AND CONTRACTS FOR THE MUTUAL USE OR EXCHANGE OF USE OF HOSPITAL AND DOMICILIARY FACILITIES, AND SUCH SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, AND MATERIAL AS MAY BE NEEDED TO OPERATE PROPERLY SUCH FACILITIES, OR FOR THE TRANSFER, WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT OF APPROPRIATIONS, OF FACILITIES, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, OR MATERIAL NECESSARY AND PROPER FOR AUTHORIZED CARE FOR VETERANS * * *. (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 5 U.S.C. 78, WAS AMENDED BY SECTION 16 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 810, 811, TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 5. (A) UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW, NO APPROPRIATION SHALL BE EXPENDED TO PURCHASE OR HIRE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES FOR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT OTHER THAN THOSE FOR THE USE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE SECRETARIES TO THE PRESIDENT, OR THE HEADS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS ENUMERATED IN 5 U.S.C. 1.

(E) THE ACQUISITION OF AIRCRAFT OR PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES BY ANY AGENCY BY TRANSFER FROM ANOTHER DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS A PURCHASE WITHIN THE MEANING HEREOF.

BY ITS PLAIN TERMS THE FOREGOING PROVISION OF LAW CIRCUMSCRIBES EXPENDITURES FOR THE "PURCHASE" OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES AND, THEREFORE, REPRESENTS A LIMITATION UPON THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS. HENCE, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 5 (E) THEREOF--- THAT TRANSFERS OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT BE CONSIDERED AS PURCHASES--- REFERS TO THOSE TRANSFERS OF VEHICLES WHICH INVOLVE AN EXPENDITURE FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. SINCE THE TRANSFER OF VEHICLES TO YOUR ADMINISTRATION BY VIRTUE OF THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 102 OF THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944, SUPRA, DOES NOT INVOLVE AN EXPENDITURE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS-- IN FACT, PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY IS PROHIBITED--- I AM OF THE OPINION THAT THE VEHICLES SO TRANSFERRED ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CHARGED TO, OR REGARDED AS A PART OF, THE 184 PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES AUTHORIZED TO BE PURCHASED UNDER THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR YOUR ADMINISTRATION.

ACCORDINGLY, AND IN SPECIFIC ANSWER TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT FUNDS MAY BE EXPENDED FROM SAID APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF NOT TO EXCEED 184 PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES WITHOUT REGARD TO SUCH OTHER AUTOMOBILES AS MAY BE ACQUIRED BY YOUR ADMINISTRATION, WITHOUT A TRANSFER OF FUNDS, UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 102 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1944, SUPRA. ..END :