Lincoln v. Vigil, 508 U.S. 182, 11 (1993)

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192

LINCOLN v. VIGIL

Opinion of the Court

agency action." Ibid. Finally, in Webster, supra, at 599- 601, we held that 701(a)(2) precludes judicial review of a decision by the Director of Central Intelligence to terminate an employee in the interests of national security, an area of executive action "in which courts have long been hesitant to intrude." Franklin, supra, at 819 (Stevens, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment).

The allocation of funds from a lump-sum appropriation is another administrative decision traditionally regarded as committed to agency discretion. After all, the very point of a lump-sum appropriation is to give an agency the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances and meet its statutory responsibilities in what it sees as the most effective or desirable way. See International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America v. Donovan, 241 U. S. App. D. C. 122, 128, 746 F. 2d 855, 861 (1984) (Scalia, J.) ("A lump-sum appropriation leaves it to the recipient agency (as a matter of law, at least) to distribute the funds among some or all of the permissible objects as it sees fit") (footnote omitted), cert. denied sub nom. Automobile Workers v. Brock, 474 U. S. 825 (1985); 2 United States General Accounting Office, Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, p. 6-159 (2d ed. 1992). For this reason, a fundamental principle of appropriations law is that where "Congress merely appropriates lump-sum amounts without statutorily restricting what can be done with those funds, a clear inference arises that it does not intend to impose legally binding restrictions, and indicia in committee reports and other legislative history as to how the funds should or are expected to be spent do not establish any legal requirements on" the agency. LTV Aerospace Corp., 55 Comp. Gen. 307, 319 (1975); cf. American Hospital Assn. v. NLRB, 499 U. S. 606, 616 (1991) (statements in committee reports do not have the force of law); TVA v. Hill, 437 U. S. 153, 191 (1978) ("Expressions of committees dealing with requests for ap-

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