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
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
Owner, Wifcon.com LLC
June 7, 2009