Why do US politicians (and media) use such obscure reference to old bills, rather than the U.S. Code? [closed]

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The Politicus
Sep 30, 2021 02:35 AM 0 Answers
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Let's take, for example, recent discussions of "section 304". It's nearly impossible to decode this reference in isolation, but I've figured out it refers to section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. It reads:

At any time after the concurrent resolution on the budget for a fiscal year has been agreed to pursuant to section 301, and before the end of such fiscal year, the two Houses may adopt a concurrent resolution on the budget which revises or reaffirms the concurrent resolution on the budget for such fiscal year most recently agreed to.

The intent of that section has been codified as 2 U.S. Code ยง 635 - Permissible revisions of concurrent resolutions on the budget, saying:

At any time after the concurrent resolution on the budget for a fiscal year has been agreed to pursuant to section 632 of this title, and before the end of such fiscal year, the two Houses may adopt a concurrent resolution on the budget which revises or reaffirms the concurrent resolution on the budget for such fiscal year most recently agreed to.

Lawyers use the U.S. Code references frequently in a compact form, and the U.S. Code includes references to the legislative history.

Are these arcane references to decades-old legislation really appropriate, given the fact that many/most updates to federal law are made via the codification process?

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  • September 30, 2021