This case poses certain questions concerning the proper construction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, 86 Stat. 816, 33 U. S. C. § 1251 et seq. (1970 ed., Supp III) (1972 Act), which provide a comprehensive program for controlling and abating water pollution. Section 2 of the 1972 Act, 86 Stat. 833, in adding Title II, §§ 201-212, to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 62 Stat. 1155, 33 U. S. C. §§ 1281-1292 (1970 ed., Supp. III),
This litigation, brought by the city of New York and similarly situated municipalities in the State of New York, followed immediately.
Because of the differing views with respect to the proper construction of the Act between the federal courts in the District of Columbia in this case and those of the Fourth Circuit in Train v. Campaign Clean Water, post, p. 136, we granted certiorari in both cases, 416 U.S. 969 (1974), and heard them together. The sole issue
The Administrator contends that § 205 (a) directs the allotment of only "sums"—not "all sums"—authorized by § 207 to be appropriated and that the sums that must be allotted are merely sums that do not exceed the
The changes relied on by the Administrator, the so-called Harsha amendments, were two. First, § 205 of the House and Senate bills as they passed those Houses and went to Conference, directed that there be allotted "all sums" authorized to be appropriated by § 207.
The Administrator's arguments based on the statutory language and its legislative history are unpersuasive. Section 207 authorized appropriation of "not to exceed" a specified sum for each of the three fiscal years. If the States failed to submit projects sufficient to require obligation, and hence the appropriation, of the entire amounts authorized, or if the Administrator, exercising whatever authority the Act might have given him to deny grants, refused to obligate these total amounts, § 207 would obviously permit appropriation of the lesser amounts. But if, for example, the full amount provided for 1973 was obligated by the Administrator in the course of
It is insisted that this reading of the Act fails to give any effect to the Conference Committee's changes in the bill. But, as already indicated, the "not to exceed" qualifying language of § 207 has meaning of its own, quite apart from § 205 (a), and reflects the realistic possibility that approved applications for grants from funds already allotted would not total the maximum amount authorized to be appropriated. Surely there is nothing inconsistent between authorizing "not to exceed" $5 billion for 1973 and requiring the full allotment of the $5 billion among the States. Indeed, if the entire amount authorized is ever to be appropriated, there must be approved municipal projects in that amount, and grants for those projects may only be made from allotted funds.
As for striking the word "all" from § 205, if Congress intended to confer any discretion on the Executive to withhold funds from this program at the allotment stage, it chose quite inadequate means to do so. It appears to us that the word "sums" has no different meaning and can be ascribed no different function in the context of § 205 than would the words "all sums." It is said that
The Administrator has now had second thoughts. He does not now claim that the Harsha amendments should be given such far-reaching effect. In this Court, he views §§ 205 (a) and 207 as merely conferring discretion on the Administrator as to the timing of expenditures, not as to the ultimate amounts to be allotted and obligated. He asserts that although he may limit initial allotments in the three specified years, "the power to allot continues" and must be exercised, "until the full $18 billion has
Second, even assuming an intention on the part of
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concurs in the result.
Section 205 (a), 33 U. S. C. § 1285 (a) (1970 ed., Supp. III):
"Sums authorized to be appropriated pursuant to section 1287 of this title for each fiscal year beginning after June 30, 1972, shall be allotted by the Administrator not later than the January 1st immediately preceding the beginning of the fiscal year for which authorized, except that the allotment for fiscal year 1973 shall be made not later than 30 days after October 18, 1972. . . ."
Section 207, 33 U. S. C. § 1287 (1970 ed., Supp. III):
"There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subchapter. . . for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1973, not to exceed $5,000,000,000, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1974, not to exceed $6,000,000,000, and for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1975, not to exceed $7,000,000,000."
Section 203, 33 U. S. C. § 1283 (1970 ed., Supp. III):
"(a) Each applicant for a grant shall submit to the Administrator for his approval, plans, specifications, and estimates for each proposed project for the construction of treatment works for which a grant is applied for [sic] under section 1281 (g) (1) of this title from funds allotted to the State under section 1285 of this title and which otherwise meets the requirements of this chapter. The Administrator shall act upon such plans, specifications, and estimates as soon as practicable after the same have been submitted, and his approval of any such plans, specifications, and estimates shall be deemed a contractual obligation of the United States for the payment of its proportional contribution to such project.
"(b) The Administrator shall, from time to time as the work progresses, make payments to the recipient of a grant for costs of construction incurred on a project. These payments shall at no time exceed the Federal share of the cost of construction incurred to the date of the voucher covering such payment plus the Federal share of the value of the materials which have been stockpiled in the vicinity of such construction in conformity to plans and specifications for the project.
"(c) After completion of a project and approval of the final voucher by the Administrator, he shall pay out of the appropriate sums the unpaid balance of the Federal share payable on account of such project."
These provisions do not render this case moot or make its decision unnecessary, for § 1001, note following 31 U. S. C. § 1401 (1970 ed., Supp. IV), provides that:
"Nothing contained in this Act, or in any amendments made by this Act, shall be construed as—
"(3) affecting in any way the claims or defenses of any party to litigation concerning any impoundment."
The Act would thus not appear to affect cases such as this one, pending on the date of enactment of the statute. The Solicitor General, on behalf of the Administrator, has submitted a supplemental brief to this effect. The city of New York agrees that the case has not been mooted by the Impoundment Act and no contrary views have been filed.
Although asserting on the foregoing ground and on other grounds that the Impoundment Act has no application here, the Executive Branch included among the deferrals of budget authority reported to Congress pursuant to the new Act:
"Grants for waste treatment plant construction ($9 billion). Release of all these funds would be highly inflationary, particularly in view of the rapid rise in non-Federal spending for pollution control. Some of the funds now deferred will be allotted on or prior to February 1, 1975."
In connection with that submission, the President asserted that the Act "applies only to determinations to withhold budget authority which have been made since the law was approved," but nevertheless thought it appropriate to include in the report actions which were concluded before the effective date of the Act. 120 Cong. Rec. S17195 (Sept. 23, 1974). Other than as they bear on the possible mootness in the litigation before us, no issues as to the reach or coverage of the Impoundment Act are before us.
"[T]hose who say that raising the amounts of money called for in this legislation may require higher taxes, or that spending this much money may contribute to inflation simply do not understand the language of this crisis.
"The conferees spent hours and days studying the problem of financing the cleanup effort required by this new legislation. The members agreed in the end that a total of $18 billion had to be committed by the Federal Government in 75-percent grants to municipalities during fiscal years 1973-75. That is a great deal of money; but that is how much it will cost to begin to achieve the requirements set forth in the legislation.
". . . [T]here were two strong imperatives which worked together to convince the members of the conference that this much money was needed: first, the conviction that only a national commitment of this magnitude would produce the necessary technology; and second, the knowledge that a Federal commitment of $18 billion in 75-percent grants to the municipalities was the minimum amount needed to finance the construction of waste treatment facilities which will meet the standards imposed by this legislation.
"Mr. President, to achieve the deadlines we are talking about in this bill we are going to need the strongest kind of evidence of the Federal Government's commitment to pick up its share of the load. We cannot back down, with any credibility, from the kind of investment in waste treatment facilities that is called for by this bill. And the conferees are convinced that the level of investment that is authorized is the minimum dose of medicine that will solve the problems we face." 118 Cong. Rec. 33693-33694 (1972).
Both Houses rejected authorization-appropriation funding in favor of the contract-authority system, which was deemed to involve a more binding and reliable commitment of funds. See 117 Cong. Rec. 38799, 38846-38853 (1971); 118 Cong. Rec. 10751-10761 (1972). Congressman Harsha, the House floor manager of the bill, explained the preference for the contract-authority approach and indicated that it was essential for orderly and continuous planning. Id., at 10757-10758.
"Under the amendments proposed by Congressman William Harsha and others, the authorizations for obligational authority are `not to exceed' $18 billion over the next 3 years. Also, `all' sums authorized to be obligated need not be committed, though they must be allocated. These two provisions were suggested to give the Administration some flexibility concerning the obligation of construction grant funds." 118 Cong. Rec. 33694 (1972).
He repeated his views in the course of Senate proceedings to override the President's veto. Id., at 36871. Nothing was said in the Senate challenging the Senator's view that executive discretion did not extend to allotments.
In the House, the power to make allotments under § 205 was not mentioned in terms. The impact of the Harsha amendments was repeatedly explained by reference to discretion to obligate or to expend. Typical was Representative Harsha's remarks that the amendments were intended to "emphasize the President's flexibility to control the rate of spending . . . ," and that "the pacing item" in the expenditure of funds was the Administrator's power to approve plans, specifications, and estimates. Id., at 33754. See also id., at 33693, 33704, 33715-33716, 33754-33755, 36873-36874, 37056-37060.