B-78848, AUGUST 9, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 89

B-78848: Aug 9, 1948

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ARE NOT REPEALED BY SECTION 201 OF THE ACT OF JULY 3. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON JULY 29. IN WHICH A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE EFFECT OF THE APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 201 OF THE POSTAL RATE REVISION ACT. THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE PROVISIONS OF THE TWO ACTS IS DESCRIBED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE PUBLIC LAW 819. IS ESTABLISHED AT A ZONE RATE. WITHIN ANY GEOGRAPHICAL AREA WHICH IS A PROTECTORATE OF THE UNITED STATES. IT IS APPARENT THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE FIRST SENTENCE OF SECTION 201. ARE IN CONFLICT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 AND 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 819. VIEW OF THE FACT THAT PUBLIC LAW 900 WAS PASSED BY CONGRESS AND APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT SUBSEQUENT TO THE PASSAGE AND APPROVAL OF PUBLIC LAW 819.

B-78848, AUGUST 9, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 89

AIR MAIL - RATES - EFFECT OF SECTION 201 OF ACT OF JULY 3, 1948 THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 1 AND 3 OF THE AIR PARCEL POST ACT OF JUNE 29, 1948--- EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1948--- FIXING, RESPECTIVELY, THE AIR POSTAGE RATE ON MATTER EXCEEDING 8 OUNCES AT A ZONE RATE, AND ON DOMESTIC AIR MAIL NOT EXCEEDING 8 OUNCES AT 5 CENTS PER OUNCE, ARE NOT REPEALED BY SECTION 201 OF THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1948, INCREASING, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949, THE RATE ON DOMESTIC AIR MAIL TO 6 CENTS PER OUNCE; RATHER, EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1948, AIR PARCEL/POST SERVICE SHOULD BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EARLIER STATUTE BUT, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949, DOMESTIC AIR MAIL NOT EXCEEDING 8 OUNCES SHOULD BE INCREASED TO 6 CENTS PER OUNCE PURSUANT TO THE LATER STATUTE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUGUST 9, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON JULY 29, 1948, IN WHICH A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE EFFECT OF THE APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 201 OF THE POSTAL RATE REVISION ACT, PUBLIC LAW 900, 80TH CONGRESS, APPROVED JULY 3, 1948, 62 STAT. 1261, AND THE AIR PARCEL POST ACT, PUBLIC LAW 819, 80TH CONGRESS, APPROVED JUNE 29, 1948, 62 STAT. 1097, 1098. THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE PROVISIONS OF THE TWO ACTS IS DESCRIBED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE PUBLIC LAW 819, THE RATE OF POSTAGE ON MAILABLE MATTER EXCEEDING EIGHT OUNCES IN WEIGHT, BUT NOT WEIGHING MORE THAN SEVENTY POUNDS NOR MEASURING MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED INCHES IN LENGTH AND GIRTH COMBINED, WHEN CARRIED BY AIR, IS ESTABLISHED AT A ZONE RATE. SECTION 3 OF THAT MEASURE AMENDS SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1946 ( PUBLIC LAW 730, SEVENTY-NINTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION), TO PROVIDE THAT THE RATE OF POSTAGE ON DOMESTIC AIR MAIL WEIGHING EIGHT OUNCES OR LESS "SHALL BE 5 CENTS FOR EACH OUNCE OR FRACTION THEREOF," AND PROVIDES ,THAT THE RATE OF POSTAGE ON AIR MAIL OF THE FIRST CLASS WEIGHTING IN EXCESS OF EIGHT OUNCES SHALL BE AT THE RATE PROVIDED FOR AIR PARCELS BUT IN NO CASE SHALL BE LESS THAN 3 CENTS AN OUNCE OR FRACTION THEREOF.' THIS MEASURE BECOMES EFFECTIVE "ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE THIRD MONTH FOLLOWING THE MONTH OF ENACTMENT.'

THE FIRST SENTENCE OF SECTION 201 OF PUBLIC LAW 900 PROVIDES THAT " THE RATE OF POSTAGE ON ALL DOMESTIC AIR MAIL AS DEFINED IN PUBLIC LAW 730, SEVENTY-NINTH CONGRESS, SHALL, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF POSTAL CARDS AND PRIVATE MAILING OR POST CARDS, BE 6 CENTS FOR EACH OUNCE OR FRACTION EREOF.' AS DEFINED IN PUBLIC LAW 730, APPROVED AUGUST 14, ^1946 (39 U.S.C. 462A), THE TERM ,DOMESTIC AIR MAIL" EMBRACES "ALL MAILABLE MATTER BEING TRANSPORTED AS MAIL BY AIR WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, WITHIN ANY TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES, WITHIN ANY GEOGRAPHICAL AREA WHICH IS A PROTECTORATE OF THE UNITED STATES, OR BETWEEN ANY OF THE AFORESAID.'

THE POSTAL RATES ESTABLISHED BY PUBLIC LAW 900 BECOME EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949.

FROM AN EXAMINATION OF THE ABOVE-CITED LAWS, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE FIRST SENTENCE OF SECTION 201, PUBLIC LAW 900, ARE IN CONFLICT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 AND 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 819. VIEW OF THE FACT THAT PUBLIC LAW 900 WAS PASSED BY CONGRESS AND APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT SUBSEQUENT TO THE PASSAGE AND APPROVAL OF PUBLIC LAW 819, AND THE FURTHER FACT THAT PUBLIC LAW 819 BECOMES EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1948, WHEREAS SECTION 201 OF PUBLIC LAW 900 BECOMES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949, THE DEPARTMENT IS CONFRONTED WITH THE QUESTION WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 1 AND 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 819 ARE, BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION, REPEALED AS OF JANUARY 1, 1949, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTION 201 OF PUBLIC LAW 900.

AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, NOTHING CONTAINED IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE AIR PARCEL POST ACT DISCLOSES AN INTENTION THAT THE LEGISLATION SHOULD BE OTHER THAN PERMANENT LEGISLATION. MOREOVER, I FIND NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE POSTAL RATE REVISION ACT WHICH INDICATES THAT ANY CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO THE AIR PARCEL POST ACT OR THAT ANY IMPAIRMENT OF THE TERMS THEREOF WAS INTENDED. CERTAINLY, IT REASONABLY MAY NOT BE PRESUMED THAT IT WAS THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS TO ESTABLISH AN AIR PARCEL POST SERVICE EFFECTIVE AS OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1948, AND ON THE FOLLOWING DAY TO ENACT LEGISLATION WHICH WOULD, IN EFFECT, TERMINATE SUCH SERVICE ON JANUARY 1, 1949. LAWS ARE TO BE GIVEN A SENSIBLE CONSTRUCTION AND A LITERAL APPLICATION OF A STATUTE WHICH WOULD LEAD TO ABSURD CONSEQUENCES SHOULD BE AVOIDED WHENEVER A REASONABLE APPLICATION CAN BE GIVEN IT CONSISTENT WITH THE LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE. UNITED STATES V. KATZ, 271 U.S. 354, 357) MOREOVER, THE POSTAL RATE REVISION ACT IS A GENERAL STATUTE, WHILE THE AIR PARCEL POST ACT IS A SPECIAL STATUTE, AND IT IS AN ESTABLISHED RULE OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION THAT A LATER GENERAL STATUTE IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS AFFECTING THE OPERATION OF AN EARLIER SPECIAL STATUTE UNLESS THE SPECIAL STATUE IS EXPRESSLY REPEALED OR IS SO WHOLLY INCONSISTENT THAT IS REPEAL MUST, OF NECESSITY, BE IMPLIED. UNITED STATES V. NIX, 189 U.S. 199; RODGERS V. UNITED STATES, 185 U.S. 83; EX PARTE CROW DOG, 109 U.S. 556, 570; WASHINGTON V. MILLER 235 U.S. 422; BALTIMORE NATIONAL BANK V. TAX COMMISSION, 297 U.S. 209, 215. THE AIR PARCEL POST ACT IS NOT EXPRESSLY REPEALED BY THE POSTAL RATE REVISION ACT. NEITHER IS IT SO WHOLLY INCONSISTENT AS TO REQUIRE ITS REPEAL BY IMPLICATION. REPEALS BY IMPLICATION, AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, ARE NOT FAVORED AND, WHERE THERE ARE TWO ACTS ON THE SAME SUBJECT, THE RULE IS TO GIVE EFFECT TO BOTH, IF POSSIBLE. THIS RULE WOULD SEEM TO HAVE PARTICULAR APPLICATION WHERE, AS DISCLOSED BY THE RECORD HERE, BOTH ACTS WERE PASSED AT THE SAME SESSION AND ON CONSECUTIVE DAYS.

ACCORDINGLY, IT APPEARS THAT A PROPER CONSTRUCTION OF THE TWO STATUTES HERE INVOLVED REQUIRES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AIR PARCEL POST SERVICE, EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1948, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 819, APPROVED JUNE 29, 1948, AND THE INCREASE ON JANUARY 1, 1949, OF POSTAL RATES FOR DOMESTIC AIR MAIL OF EIGHT OUNCES OR LESS IN WEIGHT FROM FIVE CENTS TO SIX CENTS PER OUNCE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 900, APPROVED JULY 3, 1948, ALL OTHER PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 819 TO REMAIN IN EFFECT AND UNCHANGED AFTER JANUARY 1, 1949. OTHERWISE PROPER EXPENDITURES BASED ON SUCH A CONSTRUCTION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE.