B-89059, SEPTEMBER 23, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 142

B-89059: Sep 23, 1949

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PROVIDED THE AMENDMENTS CONFER NO GREATER RIGHTS THAN THOSE TO WHICH THE TRAVELER WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED WHEN THE ORIGINAL ORDERS WERE ISSUED. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 7. WHEN SUCH EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED UNDER AMENDMENTS ISSUED AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR OF 1949. TO TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH ORIGINALLY WERE ISSUED BEFORE THE CLOSE OF THAT FISCAL YEAR AND UNDER WHICH TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS COMMENCED BEFORE JUNE 30. IT IS STATED THAT. - TO THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR. A LARGE MEASURE OF THE BENEFIT OF THE LEGISLATION WILL BE LOST. THE AMENDMENTS INVOLVED WERE BROUGHT ABOUT BY CHANGED CONDITIONS.

B-89059, SEPTEMBER 23, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 142

APPROPRIATIONS - FISCAL YEAR - AVAILABILITY BEYOND - TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES UNDER SECTION 106 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, EXTENDING THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, ETC., IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION BEGUN, BUT NOT COMPLETED, DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1949, EXPENSES INCURRED UNDER AMENDMENTS TO ORDERS ISSUED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 AND AMENDED AFTER JUNE 30, 1949, BECAUSE OF CONDITIONS OUTSIDE THE TRAVELER'S CONTROL, MAY BE CHARGED TO THE 1949 APPROPRIATION WHERE A PORTION OF THE TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION BEGAN IN SAID FISCAL YEAR, PROVIDED THE AMENDMENTS CONFER NO GREATER RIGHTS THAN THOSE TO WHICH THE TRAVELER WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED WHEN THE ORIGINAL ORDERS WERE ISSUED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 23, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 7, 1949 ( L/A (, FROM THE DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER, UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 106 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, PUBLIC LAW 597, 80TH CONGRESS, YOUR DEPARTMENT MAY CHARGE TO THE 1949 APPROPRIATION EXPENSES INCURRED FOR TRAVEL--- OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES--- OF PERSONNEL, INCLUDING TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL EFFECTS, HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND AUTOMOBILES OF SUCH PERSONNEL, WHEN SUCH EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED UNDER AMENDMENTS ISSUED AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR OF 1949, TO TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH ORIGINALLY WERE ISSUED BEFORE THE CLOSE OF THAT FISCAL YEAR AND UNDER WHICH TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS COMMENCED BEFORE JUNE 30, 1949.

SAID SECTION 106, 62 STAT. 316, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THIS ACT AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL OF PERSONNEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, INCLUDING TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL EFFECTS, HOUSEHOLD GOODS, OR AUTOMOBILES OF SUCH PERSONNEL, SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH EXPENSES WHEN ANY PART OF SUCH TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION BEGINS IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 PURSUANT TO TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED IN THAT YEAR, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT SUCH TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION MAY NOT BE COMPLETED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1949.

IT APPEARS THAT, IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE RECOMMENDED THE INCLUSION OF THE ABOVE LANGUAGE IN THE 1949 APPROPRIATION ACT IN ORDER THAT THE DEPARTMENT MIGHT BE AUTHORIZED TO CHARGE ALL TRAVEL EXPENSES TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME ANY PART OF THE TRAVEL INVOLVED ACTUALLY BEGINS, THUS AVOIDING THE UNCERTAINTY CAUSED BY CARRYING CHARGES FROM ONE FISCAL YEAR TO THE NEXT. IT IS STATED THAT, IF COSTS INCURRED PURSUANT TO AMENDMENTS--- IN A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR--- TO THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR, A LARGE MEASURE OF THE BENEFIT OF THE LEGISLATION WILL BE LOST.

WHILE THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS QUESTIONED THE VALIDITY OF RETROACTIVE MODIFICATIONS OF TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH CONFER INCREASED RIGHTS ON TRAVELERS, 23 COMP. GEN. 713, THERE APPEARS NO REASON WHY AMENDMENTS TO TRAVEL ORDERS REQUIRED TO MAKE THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZED SERVE THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE RECOGNIZED. IN THE SEVERAL EXAMPLES FORWARDED WITH THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1949, THE AMENDMENTS INVOLVED WERE BROUGHT ABOUT BY CHANGED CONDITIONS, REQUIRING A CHANGE IN THE DESTINATION TO WHICH THE TRAVELER WAS ORDERED OR A CHANGED MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO THAT DESTINATION; BY CONDITIONS UNKNOWN AT THE TIME THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS WRITTEN, SUCH AS THE FACT THAT TROUBLED CONDITIONS HAD MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE THERETOFORE TO BRING THE TRAVELER'S PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM A PREVIOUS POST OF DUTY; OR BY THE DETERMINATION OF THE TRAVELER TO RESIGN WHILE IN THE UNITED STATES EN ROUTE FROM ONE POST OF DUTY TO ANOTHER. IT APPEARS THAT, IN ALL INSTANCES, EXCEPT THE LAST, THE AMENDMENTS WERE MADE NECESSARY BY CONDITIONS OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF THE TRAVELER. IN THE LAST INSTANCE, INVOLVING THE TRAVELER'S RESIGNATION, IT IS ASSUMED THAT NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS INVOLVED THROUGH AMENDMENT OF THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER OVER THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE WRITING OF A NEW TRAVEL ORDER.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS IN ENACTING SECTION 106 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, SUPRA, BEST CAN BE EFFECTED THEREBY, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO EXPENDITURES FROM THE 1949 APPROPRIATION TO COVER EXPENSES INCURRED UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS AMENDED AFTER JUNE 30, 1949, IN CASES WHERE THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 AND SOME PART OF THE TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION BEGAN IN SAID FISCAL YEAR, PROVIDED THE AMENDMENTS CONFER NO GREATER RIGHTS UPON THE TRAVELER THAN THOSE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE ORIGINAL ORDERS WERE ISSUED.