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Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009

(Public Law No: 111-23)

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How To Use the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act Pages

About Legislative History

When I was a young auditor for the General Accounting Office溶ow Government Accountability Office悠 mentioned the "legislative intent" to a seasoned Committee staffer who was responsible for a specific piece of legislation.  The staffer looked at me in disdain and said, "there is no such thing as legislative intent."  He less than gently explained that Representatives and Senators don't always know what they are voting on.  And so it was, "legislative intent" went the way of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.

So, we're off to a bad start.  Courts and administrative boards do use legislative intent.  Wifcon.com doesn't use legislative intent in deference to that staff member.  However, Wifcon.com does add selected parts of the "legislative history" of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act or 2009 to help you understand what the parties "may" have been thinking when this bill was passed.

Since this bill had a conference between the House and the Senate, the "legislative history" starts with House Conference Report 111-124 which is at the top of the left column of the section-by-section analysis.  The section of the law is in the left column.  In this manner, you can compare the section of the law with the explanation from the conference report.

Where the conference report mentions the Senate bill, there was no Senate report that explained the Senate version.  However, there was a summary of the Senate version as it was introduced on February 23, 2009.  That summary is in the analysis and is at Senate Page 2367 of the Congressional Record.  When the Senate version passed the Senate, it was again amended.  If a reasonable explanation was in the Congressional Record for amendments of May 6 and 7, 2009, they were added.  Of course, the Senate version that passed the Senate was amended after it passed the Senate.

The House version, originally H. R. 2101, included a Committee on Armed Services Report 111-101, that "explained" sections from that version.  These are in the Legislative History column too.  At best, the Legislative History "might" give you "some" understanding of the law.  Just be careful using it and don't get carried away with it.


Bob Antonio
Owner, Wifcon.com LLC
June 7, 2009


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