Learn to talk the talk so you can walk the walk.
Act — Legislation that has passed both Houses of Congress and becomes law
Amendment — A change in a bill or document by adding, substituting or omitting portions of it
Appropriations Bill — Legislation that provides funds for authorized programs
Authorization Bill — Legislation establishing a program and setting funding limits
Bill — Legislation introduced in either the House or Senate
Budget Resolution —
Caucus — An informal meeting of a group of the members; most commonly based on political party affiliation, but may have other bases, such as gender, race, geographic location or specific issue.
Chamber — Place where the entire House or Senate meets to conduct business; also, the House of Representatives or the Senate itself
Cloture — Method of limiting debate or ending a filibuster in the Senate. At least 60 Senators must vote in favor before cloture can be invoked
Committee — A body of members appointed by the presiding officer (or another authority specified by the chamber) to consider and make recommendations concerning disposition of bills, resolutions and other related matters.
- Conference committee — A committee composed of members from the two houses specifically appointed to reconcile the differences between House and Senate versions of a bill or bills.
- Interim committee — A committee established to study or investigate certain matters between annual or biennial legislative sessions and to report to the next regular session.
- Joint committee — A committee composed of members from both chambers.
- Standing committee — A committee appointed with continuing responsibility in a general issue area or field of legislative activity.
Constituent — A citizen residing within the district of a legislator.
Continuing Resolution — A joint resolution to appropriate funds, usually for a short period of time and often in the absence of a regular appropriations bill
Cosponsor — Legislator who joins in sponsoring legislation but who is not the principal sponsor or the one who introduced the legislation
Filibuster — Tactic used in the Senate whereby a minority intentionally delays a vote
Dissent — Difference of opinion; to cast a negative vote.
Introducer — The person (usually a legislator) who presents a bill or resolution for consideration; may be joined by others, who are known as
Introduction — The formal presentation of a proposal after it has been drafted.
Item veto — An action taken by the governor to prevent the enactment of an item of an appropriation bill; also may be called line-item veto.
Joint session — A combined meeting of the Senate and House in one chamber.
Lame Duck — Senator or representative (or the president) who has not been reelected but whose term has not yet expired
Lobbying — The process of attempting to influence the passage, defeat or content of legislation by individuals or a group other than legislators
Majority Leader — Chief spokesman and strategist for the majority party, elected by members of the majority party. In the House, the majority leader is often the second-ranking lawmaker, behind the Speaker of the House
Minority Leader —
Omnibus Bill — Bill regarding a single subject that combines many different aspects of that subject
Quorum — The number of senators or representatives who must be present before a legislative body can conduct official business
Ranking Members — The members of the majority and minority party on a committee; next in seniority after the chairman.
Ratify — To approve and make valid.
Referral — The assigning or referring
Resolution — A document that expresses the sentiment or intent of the legislature or a chamber, that governs the business of the legislature or a chamber, or that expresses recognition by the legislature or a chamber.
Sequestration — The permanent cancellation of budgetary resources by a uniform percentage, applied to all programs, projects, and activities within a budget account
Simple Majority — One more than half of those voting on a question.
Speaker — The presiding officer of the House, elected by members of the House
Sponsor — The representative or senator who introduces a measure
Yield — To relinquish the floor to another member to speak or ask a question.
For more information, contact Eric Storey, the ABA’s Director of Grassroots and Digital Advocacy by email or by calling (202) 662-1770.