B-64822, APRIL 23, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 802

B-64822: Apr 23, 1947

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BOTH SENATE REPORT NO. 1636 AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REPORT NO. 2186 INDICATE THAT THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION IS TO CODIFY THE NECESSARY PROVISIONS OF A SERIES OF PREVIOUSLY ENACTED STATUTES INTO A SINGLE PERMANENT STATUTE AND DO NOT INDICATE THAT ANY DETERRENT FROM PRACTICES CONSIDERED LAWFUL UNDER THE PREVIOUS LEGISLATION IS INTENDED TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. YOUR OPINION RESPECTFULLY IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PRACTICE OF HIRING SPECIAL CONVEYANCES UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO BE PAID FOR FROM THE APPROPRIATION " TRAVELING EXPENSES. - SINCE 1904 A SERIES OF STATUTES INCLUDING APPROPRIATION ACTS HAS RESTRICTED TO A GREATER OR LESSER DEGREE THE PURCHASE AND USE OF WHAT WERE AT ONE TIME REFERRED TO AS "MOTOR- PROPELLED OR HORSE-DRAWN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES.'.

B-64822, APRIL 23, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 802

PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES - HIRE - APPLICABILITY OF PROHIBITION IN ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, TO HIRE UNDER TRAVEL REGULATIONS THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 16 (A) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, AGAINST THE "HIRE" OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW, HAS REFERENCE TO THE HIRING OF SUCH VEHICLES UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH WOULD PASS ALL THE BENEFITS OF TEMPORARY OWNERSHIP OF THE VEHICLE TO THE PARTICULAR AGENCY INVOLVED, AND MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS EXTENDING TO THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES BY EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS AS AUTHORIZED BY PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, APRIL 23, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 19, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 16 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS AMENDS SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914 (5 U.S.C. 78) TO READ AS FOLLOWS: "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.' ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

BOTH SENATE REPORT NO. 1636 AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REPORT NO. 2186 INDICATE THAT THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION IS TO CODIFY THE NECESSARY PROVISIONS OF A SERIES OF PREVIOUSLY ENACTED STATUTES INTO A SINGLE PERMANENT STATUTE AND DO NOT INDICATE THAT ANY DETERRENT FROM PRACTICES CONSIDERED LAWFUL UNDER THE PREVIOUS LEGISLATION IS INTENDED TO BE ACCOMPLISHED.

HOWEVER, THE INCLUSION OF THE WORDS "OR HIRE," WHICH DO NOT APPEAR IN ANY PREVIOUS LEGISLATION ON THE SUBJECT, WOULD SEEM, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC ENABLING LANGUAGE IN AN APPROPRIATION, TO NULLIFY PARAGRAPH 11 OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PERMITS THE HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES (INCLUDING AUTOMOBILES) UNDER CERTAIN SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES.

THE APPROPRIATION " TRAVELING EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR" CONTAINS NO SPECIFIC LANGUAGE AUTHORIZING THE HIRE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES.

IN CONSIDERATION OF THE FOREGOING RECITAL OF FACTS, YOUR OPINION RESPECTFULLY IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PRACTICE OF HIRING SPECIAL CONVEYANCES UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO BE PAID FOR FROM THE APPROPRIATION " TRAVELING EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR" NOW MUST BE DISCONTINUED.

WITH RESPECT TO THE PARTICULAR PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 16 OF PUBLIC LAW 600 APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 806, 810, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, REPORT NO. 1636 OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON EXPENDITURES IN THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:

SECTION 16. AUTOMOBILES AND AIRCRAFT.--- SINCE 1904 A SERIES OF STATUTES INCLUDING APPROPRIATION ACTS HAS RESTRICTED TO A GREATER OR LESSER DEGREE THE PURCHASE AND USE OF WHAT WERE AT ONE TIME REFERRED TO AS "MOTOR- PROPELLED OR HORSE-DRAWN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES.' SECTION 16 IS PROPOSED TO CODIFY THOSE ENACTMENTS INTO A SINGLE PERMANENT STATUTE AS AN AMENDMENT OF 1914 ACT. SUBSECTION (A) OF THE AMENDED ACT PROHIBITS (WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS) THE PURCHASE OR HIRE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW. THE PRESENT STATUTE HAS THE SAME EFFECT BUT INCLUDES, ALSO, A RESTRICTION ON EXPENSES FOR MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION WHICH IS BELIEVED TO BE UNNECESSARY SO LONG AS THE ORIGINAL ACQUISITION OF THE CARS IS UNDER CONGRESSIONAL CONTROL. * * *

IDENTICAL LANGUAGE IS CONTAINED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 2186, MAY 29, 1946.

THE 1914 STATUTE MENTIONED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED REPORT IN SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, 5 U.S.C. 78, WHICH PROVIDED.

NO APPROPRIATION MADE IN ANY ACT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF ANY MOTOR-PROPELLED OR HORSE-DRAWN 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, MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, OR OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED OR HORSE-DRAWN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES FOR ANY BRANCH OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES UNLESS THE SAME IS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW. IN THE ESTIMATES FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR THERE SHALL BE SUBMITTED IN DETAIL ESTIMATES FOR SUCH NECESSARY APPROPRIATIONS AS ARE INTENDED TO BE USED FOR PURCHASE, MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, OR OPERATION OF ALL MOTOR PROPELLED OR HORSE-DRAWN PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES, SPECIFYING THE SUMS REQUIRED, THE PUBLIC PURPOSES FOR WHICH SAID VEHICLES ARE INTENDED, AND THE OFFICIALS OR EMPLOYEES BY WHOM THE SAME ARE TO BE USED.

THE APPLICATIONS OF THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT TO CASES INVOLVING THE HIRE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, WAS CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF APRIL 4, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 836, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD (QUOTING THE SYLLABUS), AS FOLLOWS:

THE HIRING OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES FOR A CONTINUOUS, INDEFINITE, OR EXTENDED PERIOD UNDER AN AGREEMENT WHICH PLACES THE VEHICLES IN THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, CONFERS ALL THE BENEFITS OF TEMPORARY OWNERSHIP AND IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, PROHIBITING THE PURCHASE, MAINTENANCE, OR OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES UNLESS SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR.

THE HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVEL UPON PUBLIC BUSINESS BY THE TRIP, MILE, HOUR, OR DAY TO REACH POINTS INACCESSIBLE BY COMMON CARRIERS IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES. WHERE THE PUBLIC BUSINESS SO REQUIRES, CONTRACTS MAY BE ENTERED INTO FOR HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES COVERING A PERIOD OF A YEAR OR LESS, PAYMENT TO BE MADE ON THE BASIS INDICATED ONLY FOR SUCH TIME AS THE VEHICLE IS ACTUALLY REQUIRED ON OFFICIAL TRIPS AWAY FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OR PLACE WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE IS HIRED.

THE HOLDING IN THAT DECISION--- WHICH IS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS RENDERED BOTH PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT THERETO--- DISCLOSES THAT THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN THE SECOND SENTENCE OF THE SAID 1914 STATUTE AGAINST THE "PURCHASE, MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, OR OPERATION" OF PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES CONSISTENTLY HAD BEEN CONSTRUED AS INCLUDING THE "HIRE" OF SUCH VEHICLES WHEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF SUCH HIRING WERE SUCH AS TO PASS TO THE PARTICULAR FEDERAL AGENCY INVOLVED ALL THE BENEFITS OF TEMPORARY OWNERSHIP OF THE VEHICLE. HENCE, IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE "HIRE" OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES EXISTED NOT BY SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROVISION BUT BY RULE OF DECISION OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE STATED PURPOSE OF THE AMENDATORY PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 600, TO CONTINUE IN EFFECT THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1914 STATUTES WITH CERTAIN REFINEMENTS IN LANGUAGE ONLY, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE INCLUSION OF THE PHRASE "OR HIRE" IN PUBLIC LAW 600 MERELY WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONTINUING IN EFFECT THE EXISTING PROHIBITION AGAINST THE "HIRE"OF VEHICLES.

AS DISCLOSED BY THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF THE SYLLABUS OF THE DECISION OF APRIL 4, 1925, QUOTED ABOVE, THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE "HIRE" OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES NEVER HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AS APPLYING TO INSTANCES INVOLVING THE "HIRE" OF VEHICLES BY EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS UNDER THE CONDITIONS CONTEMPLATED BY SECTION 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. HENCE, SINCE, AS STATED ABOVE, THE PHRASE "OR HIRE" APPEARING IN SECTION 16 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 600 (60 STAT. 810), IS INTENDED TO COVER ONLY THOSE INSTANCES OF HIRE THERETOFORE PROHIBITED BY THE SAID 1914 STATUTE, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT SUCH PROHIBITION DOES NOT EXTEND TO THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES AS AUTHORIZED BY THE SAID REGULATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.