Obstacles in Passing a Federal Contract Code

The Federal statues are always enacted by the United States Congress which consists of a lower house, House of Representatives, and an upper House the Senate. It is usually the case that the time of the members of Congress is being spent on issues which are not connected with enactment of legislation. Perhaps this is the first obstacle that might prevent the enactment of a federal contract code. The legislative process takes a longer time for a bill to become an Act. The study of the process of enactment of an Act would certainly pinpoint the obstacles that may arise in framing a federal contract code.

It is possible that the history of the enactment of a federal statute may influence a court in interpreting its language. Most of the federal legislations take their origin from an Act of Congress which is generally introduced as a Bill. Any member of Congress may bring the Bill for passing by the Congress. The Bill will always be introduced from the constituents as individuals, or as organized groups or from the executive branch. Each house has an office of Legislative Counsel to help in drafting the proposed legislation.

Except for bills to raise revenue which are normally introduced in the House of Representatives a bill may be introduced in either house but only by a member of that house. Almost all the bills will be passed through both the Houses. A few of the bills as a matter of course will be referred to one of the standing committees of the House where the bill was introduced. Each of the two major parties will nominate its members to act as committee members and the chairmanship will be held by the member of the majority party.

In some of the cases subcommittees of the standing committee might be created to assess the bills and the subcommittees will report to the parent committees. Since it may not be possible for the Congress to study every proposal due to its busy schedule much of the work is entrusted to the committees and therefore committees are of immense value in the case of enactment of Acts Once the bill is entrusted to the committee the bill will be studied by the experts of the staff of the standing committee.

The departments of the executive branch will also be requested to submit their views in writing. When the bill is of extreme importance there will be public hearings to voice their opinions. Finally the committee members vote to determine the fate of the bill. They either report it favorably with or without amendments in which case there are chances that the bill may become an Act. Alternatively the committee members may postpone the consideration of the bill by tabling it in which case there can be no further action upon the bill.

A number of bills may not see light after sent to the committees. If a bill is reported favorably by the committee it is customary for the committee to submit a report to the Congress with its recommendation. The committee report will rehearse the purpose of the bill, need for such a legislation and the history of the legislation. The committee will also present a section by section analysis of the bill, an estimate of its cost, reports, and comments from appropriate governmental agencies and departments and may contain minority views in the committee.

The bill is then brought to the floor of the house for debate at which point of time further amendments may be proposed to the bill. If the bill is approved by a majority vote then the bill is sent to the other house for following the similar procedure of referral to the committee followed by a debate on the floor of the House . When the versions of the bill passed by both the Houses are identical then the bill directly goes to the President for signature.

The President is given a ten days time to sign the bill with a power to veto the bill. If the president does not sign the bill within the mandatory 10 days the bill automatically becomes law without his signature. If the president vetoes the bill then it is returned to the House where it was originated. A two thirds vote of both the Houses is necessary to override the veto and enact the bill into law. In view of the complexities involved it is not feasible to bring into existence a federal contract code which is mainly a state subject.