The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection will be holding its final public hearing Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.
Glossary
A
Amendment
A proposed change to a pending text (e.g., a bill, resolution, another amendment, or a treaty [or an associated resolution of ratification]).
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Act
Legislation (a bill or joint resolution, see below) which has passed both chambers of Congress in identical form, been signed into law by the president, or passed over his veto, thus becoming law. Technically, this term also refers to a bill that has been passed by one house and engrossed (prepared as an official copy).
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Advice and Consent
Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute
An amendment that would strike out the entire text of a bill or other measure and insert a different full text.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Appropriation
A law of Congress that provides an agency with budget authority. An appropriation allows the agency to incur obligations and to make payments from the U.S. Treasury for specified purposes. Appropriations are definite (a specific sum of money) or indefinite (an amount for "such sums as may be necessary"). Congress passes 13 annual appropriation acts, as well as supplemental appropriation acts, each year. These appropriation acts provide budget authority to obligate and expend funds from the U.S. Treasury for specific purposes. The House appropriation is contained in one of 13 acts named the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill.
[3]
United States House of Representatives
house.gov
Authorization
A statutory provision that obligates funding for a program or agency. An authorization may be effective for one year, a fixed number of years, or an indefinite period. An authorization may be for a definite amount of money or for "such sums as may be necessary." The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization and then appropriation.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Authorizations Act
A law that establishes or continues one or more Federal agencies or programs, establishes the terms and conditions under which they operate, authorizes the enactment of appropriations, and specifies how appropriated funds are to be used. Authorizations acts sometimes provide permanent appropriations.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
B
Bill
The primary form of legislative measure used to propose law. Depending on the chamber of origin, bills begin with a designation of either H.R. or S. Joint resolution is another form of legislative measure used to propose law.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Bill Summary
Upon introduction of a bill or resolution in the House or Senate, legislative analysts in the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress write a short summary that objectively describes the measure's significant provisions. Introduced version summaries are subject to length limitations as a matter of policy. When a measure receives action (e.g., it is reported from a committee or passed by the House or Senate), the analysts then write an expanded summary, detailing the measure's effect upon programs and current law. Bill summaries are written as a result of a congressional action and may not always correspond to a document published by the Government Publishing Office. A final public law summary is prepared upon enactment into law. Each summary description identifies the date and version of the measure, and indicates whether there have been amendments: e.g., Passed House amended (07/19/2013).
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Budget Resolution
Legislation in the form of a concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget. The budget resolution establishes various budget totals, divides spending totals into functional categories (e.g., transportation), and may include reconciliation instructions to designated House or Senate committees.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
By Request
A designation on a measure indicating that the member has introduced the measure on behalf of someone else (e.g., the President or an executive branch agency), or pursuant to statutory requirements, and may not necessarily support its provision.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
C
Caucus
From the Algonquian Indian language, a caucus meant "to meet together." An informal organization of members of the House or the Senate, or both, that exists to discuss issues of mutual concern and possibly to perform legislative research and policy planning for its members. There are regional, political or ideological, ethnic, and economic-based caucuses.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Christmas Tree Bill
Informal nomenclature for a bill on the Senate floor that attracts many, often unrelated, floor amendments. The amendments which adorn the bill may provide special benefits to various groups or interests.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Class
Article I, section 3 of the Constitution requires the Senate to be divided into three classes for purposes of elections. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class - approximately one-third of the senators - face election or reelection. Terms for senators in Class I expire in 2025, Class II in 2021, and Class III in 2023.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Cloture
The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Committee
A panel with members from the House or Senate (or both) tasked with conducting hearings, examining and developing legislation, conducting oversight, and/or helping manage chamber business and activities.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Committee Amendment
An amendment recommended by a committee in reporting a bill or other measure.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Committee Membership
Senators are assigned to specific committees by their party conference. Seniority, regional balance, and political philosophy are the most prominent factors in the committee assignment process.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Companion Measure or Bill
Identical or substantially similar measures introduced in the other chamber.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Concurrent Resolution
A form of legislative measure used for the regulation of business within both chambers of Congress, not for proposing changes in law. Depending on the chamber of origin, they begin with a designation of either H.Con.Res. or S.Con.Res. Joint resolutions and simple resolutions are other types of resolutions.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Conference Committee
A temporary, ad hoc panel composed of House and Senate conferees which is formed for the purpose of reconciling differences in legislation that has passed both chambers. Conference committees are usually convened to resolve bicameral differences on major and controversial legislation.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Confirmation
Informal term for the Senate giving "Advice and Consent" to a presidential nomination for an executive or judicial position.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Congress
When referring to a time-period (e.g., the 114th Congress which convened on January 6, 2015) rather than the legislative branch generally, a Congress is the national legislature in office (for approximately two years). It begins with the convening of a new Congress comprised of members elected in the most-recent election and ends with the adjournment sine die of the legislature (typically after a new election has occurred).
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Continuing Resolution or Appropriation
An appropriations act (typically in the form of a joint resolution) that provides stop-gap (or full-year) funds for federal agencies and programs to continue operations when the regular (or annual) appropriations acts have not been enacted by the beginning of the fiscal year.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Cosponsor
Representatives or Senators who formally sign on to support a measure. Only the first-named Member is the sponsor, all others are cosponsors, even those whose names appeared on the measure at the time it was submitted.
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
E
Enacted
Made into law.
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
Engrossed Measure
Official copy of a measure as passed by one chamber, including the text as amended by floor action.
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
Enrolled Measure
Final official copy of a measure as passed in identical form by both chambers and then printed on parchment for presentation to the President.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Entitlement
A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
F
Filibuster
In the Senate, the use of dilatory or obstructive tactics to delay or block passage of a measure by preventing it from coming to a vote.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Fiscal Year
The fiscal year is the accounting period for the federal government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2013 begins on October 1, 2012 and ends on September 30, 2013. Congress passes appropriations legislation to fund the government for every fiscal year.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Floor
Action "on the floor" is that which occurs as part of a formal session of the full Senate. An action "from the floor" is one taken by a Senator during a session of the Senate. A senator who has been recognized to speak by the chair is said to "have the floor."
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Floor Amendment
An amendment offered by an individual senator from the floor during consideration of a bill or other measure, in contrast to a committee amendment.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
H
Hold
An informal practice by which a senator informs his or her floor leader that he or she does not wish a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration. The majority leader need not follow the senator's wishes, but is on notice that the opposing senator may filibuster any motion to proceed to consider the measure.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
I
Identical Bill
A bill that is word-for-word identical to another bill. Bills are characterized as identical to each other at the introduced stage only, even though a later (e.g., reported or passed) version of a bill might meet the same criteria for text similarity. Companion measures, procedurally-related measures, and legislation with text similarities are other related bill types.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Item Veto
Authority to veto part rather than all of an appropriations act. The president does not now have item-veto authority. He must sign or veto the entire appropriations act. The item veto sometimes is referred to as a line-item veto.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
J
Joint Resolution
A form of legislative measure used to propose changes in law, or to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Depending on the chamber of origin, they begin with a designation of either H.J.Res. or S.J.Res. Concurrent resolutions and simple resolutions are other types of resolutions. Bill is another form of legislative measure used to propose law.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
L
Legislative Action Steps
Each chamber produces detailed, chamber-specific legislative action steps. Each step has a number code. U.S. Congress Legislative Status Steps is a depiction of the steps in relation to the codes. It was published in 1975 within a committee print titled The Bill Status System for the United States House of Representatives.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Legislative Subject Term
The legislative subject term vocabulary consists of approximately 1,000 subjects, geographic entities, and organization names. CRS may assign one or many terms to describe a measure's substance and effects. The legislative subject term vocabulary is consistently used for all bills and resolutions introduced since 2009 (111th Congress).
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
M
Markup
The process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Measure
Term embracing bill, resolution and other matters on which the Senate takes action.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Motion to Proceed to Consider
A motion, usually offered by the majority leader to bring a bill or other measure up for consideration. The usual way of bringing a measure to the floor when unanimous consent to do so cannot be obtained. For legislative business, the motion is debatable under most circumstances, and therefore may be subject to filibuster.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Motion to Recommit
In the House, a motion offered by a member of the minority party at the end of floor consideration that, if adopted in its simple form, returns the measure to legislative committee. If combined with "instructions to report back forthwith," the motion effectively provides one last opportunity for a minority party member to offer an amendment to the measure. In the Senate, the motion may be offered at other times during consideration of a measure, and is not a prerogative of a member of the minority party; it may also be used as a means of offering an amendment.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Motion to Table
Used in both the Senate and House, if adopted a motion to table permanently kills a pending matter and ends any further debate on the matter.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Must Pass Bill
A vitally important measure that Congress must enact, such as annual money bills to fund operations of the government. Because of their must-pass quality, these measures often attract "riders" (unrelated policy provisos).
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United States Senate
senate.gov
N
Nongermane Amendment
An amendment that would add new and different subject matter to, or may be irrelevant to, the bill or other measure it seeks to amend. Senate rules permit nongermane amendments in all but a few specific circumstances.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Notes
Legislative analysts in the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress may supplement a bill record with a brief note when the title, text, or actions require explanation beyond the information immediately available. Such explanations might alert the user to a text anomaly, note that the bill is a vehicle for a rapidly moving measure, include links to additional documents, or aid in the interpretation of the measure's context.
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
O
Oversight
Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
P
Pocket Veto
The Constitution grants the president 10 days to review a measure passed by the Congress. If the president has not signed the bill after 10 days, it becomes law without his signature. However, if Congress adjourns during the 10-day period, the bill does not become law.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Point of Order
A claim made by a senator from the floor that a rule of the Senate is being violated. If the chair sustains the point of order, the action in violation of the rule is not permitted.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Policy Area Term
The policy area term vocabulary consists of 32 legislative policy areas. One term, which best describes an entire measure, is assigned to every bill or resolution. The policy area term vocabulary is consistently used for all bills and resolutions introduced since 1995 (104th Congress).
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
Private Bill
In contrast to public bills (which apply to public matters and deal with individuals only by classes), a private bill proposes to provide benefits that are restricted to one or more specified individuals (including corporations or institutions), typically when no other legal remedy is available. The Legislative Subject term "Private Legislation" is assigned to measures proposed to provide benefits that are restricted to one or more specified individuals. Measures with a Legislative Subject term assignment "Private Legislation" usually do not get a Policy Area term assignment.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Private Law
A private bill enacted into law. Private laws have restricted applicability, often addressing immigration and naturalization issues affecting individuals.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Procedurally-Related Measure
Legislation that affects consideration of other legislation (e.g., a rule for consideration, a bill ordered to be reported or passed in lieu of another measure). Identical bills, companion measures, and legislation with text similarities are other related bill types.
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Library of Congress
congress.gov
Public Law
A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Q
Quorum
The number of senators that must be present for the Senate to do business. The Constitution requires a majority of senators (51) for a quorum. Often, fewer senators are actually present on the floor, but the Senate presumes that a quorum is present unless the contrary is shown by a roll call vote or quorum call.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
R
Ranking Member
The most senior (though not necessarily the longest-serving) member of the minority party on a committee (or subcommittee). The ranking member typically oversees minority committee staff and may coordinate involvement of the minority party committee members in committee activities.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Reconciliation Bill
A bill containing changes in law recommended pursuant to reconciliation instructions in a budget resolution. If the instructions pertain to only one committee in a chamber, that committee reports the reconciliation bill. If the instructions pertain to more than one committee, the Budget Committee reports an omnibus reconciliation bill, but it may not make substantive changes in the recommendations of the other committees.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Related Bill
A related bill may be a companion measure, an identical bill, a procedurally-related measure, or one with text similarities. Bill relationships are identified by the House, the Senate, or CRS, and refer only to same-Congress measures.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Report
Senate committees usually publish a committee report to accompany the legislation they have voted out. These reports are numbered consecutively in the order in which they are filed in the Senate. Committee reports discuss and explain the purpose of measures and contain other, related information. The term may also refer to the action taken by a committee ("report the legislation") to submit its recommendations to the Senate.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Rider
Informal term for a nongermane amendment to a bill or an amendment to an appropriation bill that changes the permanent law governing a program funded by the bill.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Roll Call Vote
A vote that records the individual position of each Member who voted. Such votes occurring on the House floor (by the "yeas and nays" or by "recorded vote") are taken by electronic device. The Senate has no electronic voting system; in such votes, Senators answer "yea" or "nay" as the clerk calls each name aloud. Each vote is compiled by clerks and receives a roll call number (referenced in Congress.gov as a "Record Vote" [Senate] or "Roll no." [House]).
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
S
Select or Special Committee
A committee established by the Senate for a limited time period to perform a particular study or investigation. These committees might be given or denied authority to report legislation to the Senate.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Session
The period during which Congress assembles and carries on its regular business. Each Congress generally has two regular sessions (a first session and a second session), based on the constitutional mandate that Congress assemble at least once each year.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Simple Resolution
A form of legislative measure introduced and potentially acted upon by only one congressional chamber and used for the regulation of business only within the chamber of origin. Depending on the chamber of origin, they begin with a designation of either H.Res. or S.Res. Joint resolutions and concurrent resolutions are other types of resolutions.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Sponsor
A Representative or Senator who introduces or submits a bill or other measure.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
Standing Committee
Permanent committees established under the standing rules of the Senate and specializing in the consideration of particular subject areas. There are currently 16 standing committees.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Subcommittee
Subunit of a committee established for the purpose of dividing the committee's workload. Recommendations of a subcommittee must be approved by the full committee before being reported to the Senate.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Supplemental Appropriation
Budget authority provided in an appropriations act in addition to regular or continuing appropriations already provided. Supplemental appropriations generally are made to cover emergencies, such as disaster relief, or other needs deemed too urgent to be postponed until the enactment of next year's regular appropriations act.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Suspension of the Rules
In the House, a procedure that streamlines consideration of a measure with wide support by prohibiting floor amendments, limiting debate to 40 minutes, and requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. Although rarely used, the Senate may also suspend various rules by a vote of two-thirds following one day's written notice.
[1]
Library of Congress
congress.gov
U
Unanimous Consent Agreement
A unanimous consent request setting terms for the consideration of a specified bill or other measure. These agreements are usually proposed by the majority leader or floor manager of the measure, and reflect negotiations among senators interested in the measure. Many are "time agreements," which limit the time available for debate and specify who will control that time. Many also permit only a list of specified amendments, or require amendments to be to the measure. Many also contain other provisions, such as empowering the majority leader to call up the measure at will or specifying when consideration will begin or end.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Unanimous Consent
A senator may request unanimous consent on the floor to set aside a specified rule of procedure so as to expedite proceedings. If no Senator objects, the Senate permits the action, but if any one senator objects, the request is rejected. Unanimous consent requests with only immediate effects are routinely granted, but ones affecting the floor schedule, the conditions of considering a bill or other business, or the rights of other senators, are normally not offered, or a floor leader will object to it, until all senators concerned have had an opportunity to inform the leaders that they find it acceptable.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
V
Veto
The procedure established under the Constitution by which the president refuses to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevents its enactment into law. A regular veto occurs when the president returns the legislation to the house in which it originated. The president usually returns a vetoed bill with a message indicating his reasons for rejecting the measure. The veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Vice President
Under the Constitution, the vice president serves as president of the Senate. He may vote in the Senate in the case of a tie, but is not required to. The president pro tempore (and others designated by him) usually perform these duties during the vice president's frequent absences from the Senate.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov
Voice Vote
A vote in which the presiding officer states the question, then asks those in favor and against to say "Yea" or "Nay," respectively, and announces the result according to his or her judgment. The names or numbers of senators voting on each side are not recorded.
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United States Senate
senate.gov
Vote
Unless rules specify otherwise, the Senate may agree to any question by a majority of senators voting, if a quorum is present. The Chair puts each question by voice vote unless the "yeas and nays" are requested, in which case a roll call vote occurs.
[2]
United States Senate
senate.gov