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

Motion to Proceed to Consider

A procedural vote taken by the whole Senate on the matter of whether or not to open debate on a bill. This occurs if the entire Senate does not agree to proceed by “unanimous consent.”... Read More

Offset

A funding source used to pay for new government spending, usually comprised of reductions to, or elimination of, other government programs. When Congress passes legislation that costs the government money—with the exception of the annual appropriations bills—they look to find “offsets,” or savings from other government programs to “pay for” the new legislation.... Read More

Overseas Contingency Operations

OCO funding is money set aside in the federal budget for expenses connected to overseas operations such as: crisis response, infrastructure and coalition support for operations in Iraq/Afghanistan, humanitarian assistance in the Middle East and North Africa, and embassy security among other needs abroad.... Read More

Pro Forma Session

A pro forma session is a short period of time when either the House or Senate is technically in legislative session but when no votes are held and no formal business is typically conducted. It is a Latin term meaning “in form only.”... Read More

Recess

A recess is a brief break in a legislative session. Recess does not indicate that business is complete; participants simply have a predetermined amount of time off before restarting the session. Congress takes several recesses throughout the session, primarily around federal holidays, but the August break is the only one that is legally required.... Read More

Spending Caps

Spending caps are limits imposed on the amount of budget authority provided in annual appropriations bills. Spending Caps are a mechanism used by governments to limit the amount of federal spending to avoid creating a deficit and/or adding to their national debt.... Read More

Statement of Administration Policy

Issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Statements of Administration Policy (SAP) are official, written communications outlining the Executive Branch’s position on a particular legislative action.... Read More

Super PAC

A political action committee (PAC) that can raise unlimited money from corporations, unions, and individuals to be used on items such as TV and radio ads and direct mailings. They differ from traditional PACs, which must adhere to numerous federal regulations and have limits on donation amounts.... Read More