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“We need to slap a discharge petition on that cromnibus.” Clear as mud? That’s precisely why we’ve created the Dewonkify™ glossary of common terms and phrases used on the Hill and around DC.


When the House and Senate have not agreed to a budget resolution, they may “deem” legislation to act as a budget resolution in order to move forward with the budget and appropriations process. ... Read More

Discharge Petition

A petition used in the House of Representatives that starts a process to force a bill out of committee and to the House floor for a vote. A successful petition requires the signatures of 218 members, a majority of the House... Read More

Dynamic Scoring

Dynamic scoring is a method of analysis used to calculate the prospective macroeconomic effects of a bill. As opposed to only considering the cost to the government alongside static levers like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation... Read More

Electoral College

The Electoral College is a body of 538 electors that determine the official outcome of the Presidential elections. Each state’s representation in the Electoral College is based on the state population (two per state, plus one for each Congressional district). Washington, DC has three electoral votes, but other U.S. territories do not have any.... Read More


Benefits (services or financial benefits) guaranteed by law provided to eligible individuals by the federal government. Entitlement programs include (but are not limited to) Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), federal employee retirement benefits, food stamps, and certain veterans’ programs.... Read More


A filibuster is a procedural tactic that is used to extend debate, delay a vote, or prevent legislative action. It is used in the U.S. Senate to require 60% of members to vote in favor of “cloture” to bring legislation up for consideration. The House can cut off debate with a simple majority vote.... Read More


During a federal government shutdown, all “nonessential” workers are furloughed. These workers are essentially on unpaid leave for the duration of the shutdown. While on furlough, federal employees are not able to “volunteer” to work for the government and even checking their work e-mail is a violation of federal law.... Read More

Health Insurance Exchanges

Health insurance exchanges (often referred to as “exchanges”) will be marketplaces where individuals and employers can purchase comprehensive health insurance. Health insurance exchanges will be available in every state beginning January 1, 2014.... Read More