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THE FUNDS IN QUESTION WERE THOSE PROVIDED FOR THE CUBAN HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM BY THE FIRST JOINT RESOLUTION MAKING CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1983 (PUBLIC LAW 97-276). WAS LESS THAN THAT TO WHICH THE STATES WERE ENTITLED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION. WE HAVE EXAMINED THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. WE BELIEVE THAT THE AGENCY MISCONSTRUED THE MANNER IN WHICH FUNDING WAS PROVIDED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION. ACTUAL FUNDING UNDER THE RESOLUTION WAS TIED TO PREVIOUS PROGRAM LEVELS. WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE AGENCY'S ACTIONS CONSTITUTED AN IMPOUNDMENT. THE CUBAN-HAITIAN PROGRAM WAS FUNDED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION AT A "RATE TO MAINTAIN CURRENT OPERATING LEVELS.".

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B-209676 L/M, APR 14, 1983

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

LAWTON CHILES, UNITED STATES SENATE:

THIS RESPONDS TO YOUR LETTER, DATED OCTOBER 27, 1982, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST THAT WE INVESTIGATE "AN APPARENT IMPROPER IMPOUNDMENT" OF FUNDS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT. THE FUNDS IN QUESTION WERE THOSE PROVIDED FOR THE CUBAN HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM BY THE FIRST JOINT RESOLUTION MAKING CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1983 (PUBLIC LAW 97-276). YOU STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAD ALLOCATED FUNDS FOR CUBAN HAITIAN DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE AT THE RATE OF THE PRESIDENT'S FISCAL YEAR 1983 BUDGET REQUEST OF $17.3 MILLION. THIS AMOUNT, ACCORDING TO YOUR LETTER, WAS LESS THAN THAT TO WHICH THE STATES WERE ENTITLED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION, AND LESS THAN THE ANNUAL LEVEL NEEDED FOR THEIR FISCAL YEAR 1983 REQUIREMENTS.

WE HAVE EXAMINED THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. WE BELIEVE THAT THE AGENCY MISCONSTRUED THE MANNER IN WHICH FUNDING WAS PROVIDED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION. ACTUAL FUNDING UNDER THE RESOLUTION WAS TIED TO PREVIOUS PROGRAM LEVELS. BECAUSE OF THIS FUNDING METHOD, HOWEVER, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE AGENCY'S ACTIONS CONSTITUTED AN IMPOUNDMENT.

THE CUBAN-HAITIAN PROGRAM WAS FUNDED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION AT A "RATE TO MAINTAIN CURRENT OPERATING LEVELS." JOINT RESOLUTION OF OCTOBER 2, 1982, PUBLIC LAW 97-276, SEC. 101(B), 96 STAT. 1186, 1187. THIS RATE WAS TIED TO PREVIOUS PROGRAM LEVELS, RATHER THAN PREVIOUS FUNDING LEVELS. SEE S.REP. NO. 581, 97TH CONG., 2D SESS. 3 (1982). CONSEQUENTLY, WITHOUT DETAILED PROGRAM INFORMATION, IT IS DIFFICULT TO STATE WITH ANY DEGREE OF CERTAINTY THE PRECISE AMOUNT OF FUNDS THAT WERE PROVIDED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION FOR ANY SPECIFIC PROGRAM FUNDED UNDER THIS FORMULA. THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE FOR PROGRAMS SUCH AS THAT INVOLVED HERE, WHERE PROGRAM LEVELS FLUCTUATE THROUGHOUT THE FISCAL YEAR BASED ON CHANGES IN PARTICIPANT POPULATIONS AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.

THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT'S APPORTIONMENT REQUEST FOR THE CUBAN- HAITIAN PROGRAM UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION WAS BASED ON AN ANNUAL FUNDING LEVEL OF $17,343,000, THE SAME AMOUNT AS THE FISCAL YEAR 1983 BUDGET REQUEST. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE AGENCY MADE ANY ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY THIS FIGURE BASED ON FISCAL YEAR 1982 PROGRAM LEVELS. INDEED, IN A MEMORANDUM TO STATE ENTRANT PROGRAM DIRECTORS DATED OCTOBER 20, 1982, THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT'S DIVISION OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION STATED:

"IN LIEU OF A CONGRESSIONAL APPROPRIATION, THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT IS OPERATING UNDER A CONTINUING RESOLUTION WHICH LIMITS FEDERAL FUNDING AT TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE REVISED FY 1983 ORR BUDGET REQUEST."

THIS STATEMENT IS CLEARLY INCORRECT. ON THE CONTRARY, AS IS INDICATED ABOVE, THE AMOUNT PROVIDED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION WAS UNRELATED TO THE AMOUNT CONTAINED IN THE PRESIDENT'S FISCAL YEAR 1983 BUDGET REQUEST, BUT INSTEAD WAS TIED TO PREVIOUS PROGRAM LEVELS.

REGARDLESS OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE CUBAN-HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM'S APPORTIONMENT UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION WAS CALCULATED, WE WOULD NOT CONSIDER THAT APPORTIONMENT TO HAVE BEEN INCONSISTENT WITH THE STATUTORY FUNDING LEVEL SO LONG AS IT WAS SUFFICIENT TO MAINTAIN THE CUBAN -HAITIAN PROGRAM AT A LEVEL COMPARABLE TO THE PROGRAM'S OPERATING LEVEL AT THE END OF FISCAL YEAR 1982. THE PROGRAM AT THAT TIME CONSISTED PRIMARILY OF 100 PERCENT REIMBURSEMENT TO THE STATES OF CERTAIN TYPES OF CASH ASSISTANCE, MEDICAL ASSISTANCE, AND ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS GIVEN TO ENTRANTS (WITH ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS SET BY DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS). THE CUBAN-HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM ALSO INCLUDED SOCIAL SERVICES GRANTS TO STATES, TO PROVIDE CERTAIN TYPES OF DIRECT ASSISTANCE, PARTICULARLY IN THE AREAS OF EMPLOYMENT AND LANGUAGE SERVICES. SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDING FOR CUBAN HAITIAN ENTRANTS DURING THE LAST QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 1982, HOWEVER, APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN LIMITED TO UNEXPENDED FUNDS CARRIED OVER FROM PREVIOUS FISCAL YEARS.

THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT, IN HIS RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST FOR COMMENTS, STATED THAT HE CONSIDERED THE CUBAN HAITIAN APPORTIONMENT UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION TO BE CONSISTENT WITH THE "RATE NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN CURRENT OPERATING LEVELS," EVEN THOUGH IT HAD BEEN BASED ON THE PRESIDENT'S FISCAL YEAR 1983 BUDGET REQUEST. ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTOR, THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT CALCULATED CUBAN-HAITIAN PROGRAM GRANT AWARDS TO STATES FOR THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION USING ESTIMATES OF STATE OPERATING COSTS FOR THE LAST MONTH OF FISCAL YEAR 1982. THE AGENCY PROPOSED TO MAKE ANY NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS AT THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 1983, WHEN THE STATES WOULD REPORT THEIR ACTUAL EXPENDITURES. IF THIS DESCRIPTION IS ACCURATE (AND WE HAVE NO BASIS FOR REJECTING IT) WE WOULD CONSIDER CUBAN-HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM FUNDING TO HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT WITH THE LEVELS SPECIFIED UNDER THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION. SO LONG AS PROGRAM OPERATING LEVELS UNDER THAT RESOLUTION HAD BEEN BASED ON THOSE AT THE CLOSE OF FISCAL YEAR 1982, IT WOULD NOT MATTER THAT OVERALL ANNUAL FUNDING LEVELS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1982 DIFFERED FROM THE ANNUAL LEVELS PROPOSED FOR FISCAL YEAR 1983.

IN ORDER FOR THIS OFFICE TO ESTABLISH THAT CUBAN-HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM FUNDS WERE IMPOUNDED DURING THE PERIOD OF THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION, IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO DETERMINE IF PROGRAM OPERATING LEVELS WERE INDEED REDUCED UNDER THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION. OUR INVESTIGATION DID NOT SUBSTANTIATE A REDUCTION IN PROGRAM OPERATING LEVELS. ALTHOUGH STATE OFFICIALS HAVE COMPLAINED THAT PROGRAM AWARDS WERE INSUFFICIENT TO MEET THEIR NEEDS, THE AGENCY HAS STATED THAT DEFICIENCIES IN CASH AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE WERE TO BE MADE UP AS ACTUAL STATE EXPENDITURES WERE REPORTED, THUS ENSURING FULL REIMBURSEMENT THROUGH ADJUSTMENTS. IN THIS CONTEXT, THE IMPOUNDMENT CONTROL ACT DOES NOT IMPOSE ANY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS AS TO THE TIME AT WHICH BUDGET AUTHORITY MUST BE OBLIGATED OR EXPENDED. ADDITION, ALTHOUGH IT APPEARS THAT NO SOCIAL SERVICES GRANTS WERE PROVIDED DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 1983, GRANT AWARD DOCUMENTS INDICATE THAT THE AGENCY PLANNED TO PERMIT STATES TO TRANSFER RESOURCES UNEXPENDED FOR CASH AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TO SOCIAL SERVICES PROGRAMS, SIMILAR TO ACTIONS TAKEN IN THE LAST QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 1982. FN1

THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT IS NO LONGER FUNDED AT THE RATE PROVIDED IN THE FIRST CONTINUING RESOLUTION. UNDER THE SECOND CONTINUING RESOLUTION, THE CONGRESS APPROPRIATED A SPECIFIC SUM FOR REFUGEE AND ENTRANT ASSISTANCE. SEE JOINT RESOLUTION OF DECEMBER 21, 1982, PUBLIC LAW 97-377, SEC. 101(E)(1), 96 STAT. 1830, 1891. THE FUNDING SITUATION FOR THE CUBAN-HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM HAS THUS BEEN CHANGED (AND, WE BELIEVE, CLARIFIED). ADDITIONALLY, WE ARE UNAWARE OF ANY CURRENT IMPOUNDMENT OF CUBAN-HAITIAN ENTRANT PROGRAM FUNDING.

FN1 WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT, HOWEVER, THAT NO GRANT AWARD ADJUSTMENTS WERE ACTUALLY MADE AFTER DECEMBER 31, 1982, AS BY THAT TIME THE SECOND CONTINUING RESOLUTION HAD PASSED, AND SECOND QUARTER AWARDS WERE BASED ON STATES' ESTIMATES OF THEIR CONTINUING NEEDS. SIMILARLY, SOCIAL SERVICES AWARDS DURING THE SECOND QUARTER (ABOUT $9 MILLION FOR ENTRANTS AND REFUGEES, WE ARE TOLD) WERE BASED NOT ON AMOUNTS LEFT OVER FROM CASH AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE DURING THE FIRST QUARTER, BUT ON ADDITIONAL FUNDING INCLUDED IN THE SECOND CONTINUING RESOLUTION.

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