B-79933, DECEMBER 6, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 341

B-79933: Dec 6, 1948

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THE PROPRIETY OF PAYING PER DIEM FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS NOT FREE FROM DOUBT. THIS OFFICE WILL NOT QUESTION THE AUTHORIZATION OF PER DIEM FOR SUCH TRAILER TRAVEL IN PROPER ORDERS ISSUED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1. THEREAFTER PER DIEM PAYMENTS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED UNTIL SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR IS PROVIDED BY STATUTE OR BY AMENDMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WITH WHICH WAS ENCLOSED VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $169.75 IN FAVOR OF HENRY J. BRU IN WHICH CLAIM IS MADE FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER PERFORMED BY HIM IN THE DISCHARGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY AS AN INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT DURING THE PERIOD JULY 1 TO 31. WAS AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 8225.

B-79933, DECEMBER 6, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 341

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES WHILE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROVISION OF LAW OR REGULATION AUTHORIZING THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND FIXING THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM TO BE PAID UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS, THE PROPRIETY OF PAYING PER DIEM FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS NOT FREE FROM DOUBT, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT QUESTION THE AUTHORIZATION OF PER DIEM FOR SUCH TRAILER TRAVEL IN PROPER ORDERS ISSUED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1949, BUT THEREAFTER PER DIEM PAYMENTS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED UNTIL SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR IS PROVIDED BY STATUTE OR BY AMENDMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO A.H. CROSS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, DECEMBER 6, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 13, 1948, FORWARDED HERE BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 24, 1948, FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY, WITH WHICH WAS ENCLOSED VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $169.75 IN FAVOR OF HENRY J. BRU IN WHICH CLAIM IS MADE FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER PERFORMED BY HIM IN THE DISCHARGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY AS AN INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT DURING THE PERIOD JULY 1 TO 31, 1948, WHILE IN ALASKA. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED AS TO THE BASIS UPON WHICH THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN VIEW OF THE FACTS HEREIN RECITED.

IT APPEARS THAT MR. BRU, AN INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT STATIONED IN THE OFFICE OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, WAS AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 8225, DATED MARCH 15, 1948, SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, TO TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO FAIRBANKS AND OTHER POINTS IN ALASKA FOR APPROXIMATELY 90 DAYS. THAT TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION PROVIDED FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A MILEAGE RATE BUT SPECIFIED THAT NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OR PER DIEM WOULD BE ALLOWED BETWEEN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, AND RETURN. THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS SUPPLEMENTED BY LETTER DATED JUNE 16, 1948, SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, WHICH PROVIDED IN PART THAT "AUTHORITY IS HEREBY GRANTED FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA. WHILE TRAVELING AND LIVING IN SUCH TRAILER, THE PER DIEM RATE OF $7.00 SPECIFIED IN THE ORIGINAL ORDER WILL BE ALLOWED.'

YOUR LETTER POINTS OUT THAT AUTHORIZATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $2.50 IS PROVIDED FOR IN PARAGRAPH 45 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHERE TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BY MEANS OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER IS AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE BUT THAT NO SUCH RATE IS SPECIFIED FOR TRAILER TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

PARAGRAPH 45 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AMENDED BY BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, DATED JULY 6, 1948, WHICH WAS IN EFFECT DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE CLAIM PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

45. SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES.--- UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED IN AN EMPLOYEE'S COMMISSION OR APPOINTMENT, OR BY LAW, THE OFFICIAL AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS MAY AUTHORIZE IN THE ORDER A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOT TO EXCEED $6 IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHERE SUCH TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY MEANS OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER. NO PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR SUCH TRAVEL BY TRAILER SHALL BE PAID UNLESS THE TRAVEL BY SUCH MEANS BE AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, IN WHICH EVENT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES MAY BE PAID AT A RATE NOT TO EXCEED $2.50.

FOR TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOT TO EXCEED $7 IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED * * *.

PRIOR TO THE TIME THAT SUCH PARAGRAPH INCLUDED A SPECIFIC PROVISION AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER, IT HAD BEEN HELD THAT THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN AUTHORIZING SUCH PAYMENTS IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW, OR OF A REGULATION APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZING THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILERS WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND FIXING THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM TO BE PAID UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS. SEE 16 COMP. GEN. 863; ID. 762; ID. 473. FOR REASONS SIMILAR TO THOSE STATED IN SAID DECISIONS, AND SINCE THE EXISTING REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE ONLY THE PAYMENT OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WHILE USING A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER FOR TRAILER TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROVISION OF LAW OR PROPER REGULATION, THE PROPRIETY OF PAYING PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IS NOT FREE FROM DOUBT. HOWEVER, SINCE THE QUESTION PREVIOUSLY HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED FOR CONSIDERATION, AND SINCE THE PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM FOR PER DIEM FOR TRAILER TRAVEL IS NOT CLEARLY UNAUTHORIZED THE VOUCHER NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

NEVERTHELESS, FOR THE REASONS INDICATED ABOVE, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE MATTER IS ONE WHICH SPECIFICALLY SHOULD BE COVERED IN THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, THE ATTENTION OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET TODAY IS BEING INVITED TO THE DEFICIENCY OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN THAT RESPECT. IN ORDER THAT THERE MAY BE NO UNDUE HARDSHIP SO FAR AS SUCH INDIVIDUALS AS MAY BE CONCERNED ARE INVOLVED, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT QUESTION THE AUTHORIZATION OF PER DIEM FOR TRAILER TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IN PROPER TRAVEL ORDERS WHERE SUCH ORDERS ARE ISSUED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1949. VOUCHERS INVOLVING PER DIEM FOR TRAILER TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES UNDER ORDERS ISSUED ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 1949, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNLESS AND UNTIL SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS PROVIDED BY STATUTE OR BY PROPER AMENDMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.