B-82789, APRIL 22, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 614

B-82789: Apr 22, 1949

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1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JANUARY 4. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IS PERMITTED TO WAIVE STRICT ADHERENCE TO A FISCAL YEAR BASIS IN THE PURCHASE OF SUCH PRODUCTS THROUGH USE OF ITS "STOCK FUND. IT IS STATED THAT. OR INVOLVE THE GOVERNMENT IN ANY CONTRACT OR OTHER OBLIGATION FOR THE FUTURE PAYMENT OF MONEY IN EXCESS OF SUCH APPROPRIATIONS UNLESS SUCH CONTRACT OR OBLIGATION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. * * * THE ACT OF JUNE 30. IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES SO TO DO. HE IS AUTHORIZED TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS AND TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS FOR FUEL IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITIES TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ONE YEAR WITHOUT REGARD TO THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR.

B-82789, APRIL 22, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 614

GASOLINE AND OIL - PURCHASES WITHOUT REGARD TO FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION RESTRICTIONS THE WORD "FUEL" AS USED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1921, MAKING AN EXCEPTION TO THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION LIMITATION RESTRICTIONS OF SECTION 3679, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, BY AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS AND TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS FOR FUEL IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITIES TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ONE YEAR WITHOUT REGARD TO THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, MAY BE REGARDED AS INCLUDING GASOLINE AND PETROLEUM FUEL PRODUCTS, SO THAT PROCUREMENTS OF SUCH PRODUCTS MAY BE MADE UNDER CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO WITHOUT REGARD TO THE FISCAL YEAR BASIS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, APRIL 22, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JANUARY 4, 1949, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, ASKING WHETHER THE WORD "FUEL" IN THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1921, 42 STAT. 78, 31 U.S.C. 668, MAY BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE GASOLINE AND OTHER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, IN ORDER TO PERMIT ALL PETROLEUM PRODUCTS FOR THE THREE DEPARTMENTS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT TO BE PROCURED BY THE ARMED SERVICES PETROLEUM PURCHASING AGENCY UNDER CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO WITHOUT REGARD TO A FISCAL YEAR BASIS.

IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IS PERMITTED TO WAIVE STRICT ADHERENCE TO A FISCAL YEAR BASIS IN THE PURCHASE OF SUCH PRODUCTS THROUGH USE OF ITS "STOCK FUND," AND THAT THE ADOPTION AND USE OF THE PROCUREMENT PROCEDURE SET FORTH IN THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1921, TO THE PURCHASE OF ALL PETROLEUM PRODUCTS WOULD BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES IN THAT IT WOULD ASSURE UNIFORMITY IN THE PURCHASE OF SUCH PRODUCTS BY THE THREE SERVICES OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT, WOULD REDUCE THE ADMINISTRATIVE WORK LOAD AND AFFORD THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO PLAN REFINERY AND DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMS TO THE ADVANTAGE OF BOTH THE MILITARY AND THE CIVILIAN ECONOMY, AND WOULD PERMIT PLANNING SO AS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BUSINESS SEASONAL VARIATIONS IN BOTH AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCTS AND PRICE.

HOWEVER, IT IS STATED THAT, BECAUSE THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT INDICATES THAT THE CONGRESS HAD IN MIND CONTRACTS FOR THE PURCHASE OF COAL, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS PURCHASED ONLY COAL ON CONTRACTS FOR FUEL MADE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE FISCAL YEAR BASIS.

SECTION 3679, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 665, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

NO EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL EXPEND, IN ANY ONE FISCAL YEAR, ANY SUM IN EXCESS OF APPROPRIATIONS MADE BY CONGRESS FOR THAT FISCAL YEAR, OR INVOLVE THE GOVERNMENT IN ANY CONTRACT OR OTHER OBLIGATION FOR THE FUTURE PAYMENT OF MONEY IN EXCESS OF SUCH APPROPRIATIONS UNLESS SUCH CONTRACT OR OBLIGATION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. * * *

THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1921, 42 STAT. 78, SUPRA, MAKES AN EXCEPTION TO THIS GENERAL RULE, AS FOLLOWS:

WHEN, IN THE OPINION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES SO TO DO, HE IS AUTHORIZED TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS AND TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS FOR FUEL IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITIES TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ONE YEAR WITHOUT REGARD TO THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, AND PAYMENTS FOR SUPPLIES DELIVERED UNDER SUCH CONTRACTS MAY BE MADE FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE CONTRACT IS MADE, OR FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED OR WHICH MAY BE APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH SUPPLIES FOR THE ENSUING FISCAL YEAR.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE LATTER ACT DISCLOSES THAT THE PROVISION WAS INSERTED AS A RESULT OF RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY A SENATE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE INQUIRING INTO THE COAL SITUATION. SEE PAGE 502, HEARINGS ON ARMY APPROPRIATION FOR 1922, HOUSE. BUT THE CONGRESS PHRASED THE PROVISION USING THE BROADER TERM,"FUEL.' EVEN AT THAT TIME THE TERM "FUEL" WAS UNDERSTOOD GENERALLY TO INCLUDE COMMODITIES OTHER THAN COAL ALTHOUGH SINCE THEN PETROLEUM PRODUCTS HAVE REPLACED COAL AS FUEL TO AN INCREASING EXTENT. AND WHILE NOT EXPRESSLY SET OUT IN THE HEARINGS, SUPRA, THERE ARE INDICATIONS THEREIN THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MOVED THE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE TO MAKE ITS RECOMMENDATION, AND THE CONGRESS TO ENACT THE PROVISION, WERE SIMILAR TO THE CONSIDERATIONS WHICH NOW ENGENDER YOUR DESIRE TO PURCHASE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS WITHOUT REGARD TO THE FISCAL YEAR BASIS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABILITY TO PURCHASE A FULL YEAR'S SUPPLY UPON THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS SEASONAL MARKET. HAD THE CONGRESS INTENDED THE STATUTE TO RELATE ONLY TO COAL IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A SIMPLE MATTER TO HAVE MADE SUCH INTENTION CLEAR BY USING THE WORD "COAL" INSTEAD OF THE WORD "FUEL.' AND WHEN IT IS REMEMBERED THAT ONE OF THE OBJECTS OF THE STATUTE WAS TO EFFECT ECONOMIES IN PROCUREMENT AND ADMINISTRATION IT SEEMS OBVIOUS THAT TO PLACE AN EXTREMELY NARROW MEANING ON THE WORD "FUEL" WOULD, IN A LARGE MEASURE--- PARTICULARLY UNDER PRESENT DAY CONDITIONS--- THWART THE VERY PURPOSES OF THE STATUTE.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE WORD "FUEL" AS USED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1921, PROPERLY MAY BE CONSTRUED AS INCLUDING GASOLINE AND PETROLEUM FUEL PRODUCTS.