B-81100, DECEMBER 10, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 361

B-81100: Dec 10, 1948

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ARE APPLICABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 27. IN WHICH YOU REQUEST AN OPINION FROM THIS OFFICE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF NEW TYPEWRITING MACHINES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SAID ACT ALSO PROVIDES THAT ALL TYPEWRITING MACHINES WHICH ARE SURPLUS TO ANY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY SHALL BE SHIPPED TO THE BUREAU OF FEDERAL SUPPLY. IT IS URGED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE REFERRED-TO PROVISIONS OF LAW WERE ENACTED BECAUSE THE CONGRESS FELT THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD A SURPLUS OF TYPEWRITING MACHINES.

B-81100, DECEMBER 10, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 361

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - PROCUREMENT OF NEW TYPEWRITERS FOR GOVERNMENT OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE PROVISIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, PROHIBITING DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 THE PURCHASE OF NEW TYPEWRITING MACHINES FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY ANY ACT, ARE APPLICABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, SO THAT APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AVAILABLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF NEW TYPEWRITING MACHINES FOR ITS ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES, EVEN THOUGH THE OPERATING FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE DISTRICT FOR THE MOST PART MAY CONSIST OF REVENUES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DECEMBER 10, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 27, 1948, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST AN OPINION FROM THIS OFFICE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF NEW TYPEWRITING MACHINES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

YOUR REQUEST FOR SUCH AN OPINION ARISES BY REASON OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, 62 STAT. 415, WHICH, GENERALLY, PROHIBIT THE PURCHASE OF NEW TYPEWRITING MACHINES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1949. SAID ACT ALSO PROVIDES THAT ALL TYPEWRITING MACHINES WHICH ARE SURPLUS TO ANY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY SHALL BE SHIPPED TO THE BUREAU OF FEDERAL SUPPLY, AND THAT ALL AGENCIES NEEDING TYPEWRITERS SHALL PROCURE SAME FROM THE BUREAU OF FEDERAL SUPPLY.

IT IS URGED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE REFERRED-TO PROVISIONS OF LAW WERE ENACTED BECAUSE THE CONGRESS FELT THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD A SURPLUS OF TYPEWRITING MACHINES, BUT THAT SUCH IS NOT THE CASE WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT SOME DISTRICT AGENCIES HAVE MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THE CONGRESS FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEW TYPEWRITERS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1949, BUT THAT, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, DOUBT EXISTS AS TO WHETHER THEY MAY BE PURCHASED. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE TYPEWRITERS NOW IN USE ARE VERY OLD SINCE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAD NOT PURCHASED NEW TYPEWRITERS FOR USE IN WAR ACTIVITIES, AND THAT IT IS DEEMED UNECONOMICAL AND INCONSISTENT WITH THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO PURCHASE USED TYPEWRITERS FROM THE BUREAU OF FEDERAL SUPPLY RATHER THAN NEW TYPEWRITERS, ESPECIALLY SINCE 87 1/2 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL DISTRICT BUDGET COMES FROM REVENUES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

WHILE THE ARGUMENTS OFFERED BY YOU IN THE MATTER ARE NOT WITHOUT PERSUASION OR MERIT, A CONCLUSION WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED MAY BE REACHED ONLY BY A PROPER CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE OR STATUTES INVOLVED.

THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, 62 STAT. 415, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

NO PART OF ANY MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE USED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 FOR THE PURCHASE, WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, OF ANY TYPEWRITING MACHINES (EXCEPT BOOKKEEPING AND BILLING MACHINES AND TYPEWRITING MACHINES FOR VETERANS UNDER PUBLIC LAWS ADMINISTERED BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION).

THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED, ESPECIALLY THE WORDS "OR ANY OTHER ACT," INDICATES AN OBVIOUS LEGISLATIVE INTENT TO FORBID, GENERALLY, THE PURCHASE OF TYPEWRITING MACHINES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 FROM ANY FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE CONGRESS FOR SAID YEAR. SINCE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA RECEIVES ITS OPERATING FUNDS BY CONGRESSIONAL APPROPRIATION -- EVEN THOUGH, AS STATED BY YOU, SUCH FUNDS FOR THE MOST PART MAY CONSIST OF REVENUES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--- IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT PROHIBITING TYPEWRITER PURCHASES ARE APPLICABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

AN EXCEPTION TO THE SAID PROVISIONS IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 12 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, 62 STAT. 559, CITED IN YOUR LETTER, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE TREASURY AND POST OFFICE DEPARTMENTS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE TYPEWRITERS FOR EDUCATIONAL INSTRUCTION PURPOSES AT NOT TO EXCEED THE LOWEST PRICE PAID FOR TYPEWRITERS FOR SUCH PURPOSES BY SCHOOLS IN THE STATES OF MARYLAND OR VIRGINIA.

CLEARLY, THIS SECTION WAS ENACTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPECIAL AUTHORITY FOR THE PURCHASE OF TYPEWRITERS FOR EDUCATIONAL INSTRUCTION PURPOSES, AND, IN VIEW THEREOF, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE CONGRESS UNDERSTOOD AND INTENDED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, OTHERWISE WERE APPLICABLE TO PURCHASES OF TYPEWRITERS BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

FOR THE REASONS STATED, IT IS THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE THAT APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AVAILABLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF NEW TYPEWRITING MACHINES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.