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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.

302(b) Allocation

Each year, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees receive an overall funding allocation for the coming federal fiscal year. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees then, respectively, decide on how to apportion the overall amount to each of their corresponding 12 subcommittees.... Read More

Actuarial Value (of health benefit plans)

Actuarial value outlines the percentage of medical costs that a health plan will cover. Actuarial value is meant to define how “generous” a health plan is in covering health care costs. Understanding the actuarial value of a health plan helps consumers understand what they might have to pay out-of-pocket in order to cover their overall health care costs.... Read More

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute

The process of proposing an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute is used by either the House or the Senate to replace the entire text of a piece of legislation. There are three main instances where this is commonly used... Read More


A mechanism for providing funding or other changes for a program that would otherwise not receive funding or continue in its current form under a continuing resolution. Anomalies, which are typically only granted in special circumstances, can be used to adjust funding levels for specific programs in a CR to be higher or lower than the previous year’s funding level.... Read More


The designation of money for a particular use, such as for a federal program. The House first created a separate Appropriations Committee in 1865 and the Senate followed suit in 1867. In the House, appropriating duties were previously handled by the Committee on Ways and Means (which had been created in 1789).... Read More

Appropriations Season

Funding the federal government takes multiple steps. First, the President releases a budget, which is his blueprint for federal spending. If all goes according to plan, Congress drafts and passes a budget outlining allocations... Read More

Budget Reconciliation

The House and Senate can pass budget resolutions that contain reconciliation instructions. Those instructions contain directives to authorizing or appropriations committees to devise strategies to change spending...... Read More


A caucus is defined as a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction, usually to select candidates or to decide on policy. The term is also used to describe a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause.... Read More