Vocabulary from Oleszek’s Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process

The following list is made up of terms, often italicized, in quotation marks, or in the chapter subheadings, that appear in the indicated chapters of Oleszek. These are not the only terms that you should be familiar with, but they do constitute a basic list that I expect each of you to know. Terms marked with an asterisk are not necessarily explained in the chapters but were explained in class.

Chapter 2—“Congressional Budget Process” 

1.      authorization-appropriation process

2.      earmarks—statutory and non-statutory

3.      backdoor authorization

4.      limitation amendments or riders

5.      1974 Budget Act—CBO, Budget committees, timeline, concurrent resolutions

6.      debt limit legislation

7.      reconciliation

8.      sequestration

Chapter 3—“Preliminary Legislative Action”

legislation or legislative measures*—bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, simple resolutions

referral process, simple and multiple referrals—joint, split, sequential, committee of primary jurisdiction

major legislation, “must” or “must-pass” legislation

committee hearings

committee mark-ups

committee reports

Chapters 4 & 5—“Scheduling Legislation in the House” and “House Floor Procedure”

calendars—Union, House, Private, Discharge, District of Columbia Legislation

suspension of the rules

privileged legislation

rules—open, closed, modified, waiver, structured, self-executing, multiple-stage, time-structured, bifurcated

discharge, discharge petitions


Calendar Wednesday

the Daily digest

House leadership

whip notices

fast-track procedures

Steps followed in consideration major bills on the Floor of the House:

(1) adoption of the rule

(2) resolution into the Committee of the Whole (the House resolves into the Committee of the Whole)

(3) general debate

               *floor managers

               delaying tactics

(4) amending process

              *the five-minute rule

*committee and floor amendments, germaneness, substitute amendments, killer or poison pill amendments

              *amendment tree—first degree, second degree amendments

               voting on amendments

                              cue givers, rational ignorance

                              voting methods—voice, division, recorded, yea-and-nay; electronic votes

(5) Committee of the Whole rises (dissolves)

(6) motion to recommit

(7) moving the previous question

                              the three readings


 Chapters 6 & 7—“Scheduling Legislation in the Senate” and “Senate Floor Procedure”

*calendars—General Orders, Executive

*Senate leadership—majority and minority leaders, whips, committees

one-day, two-day rules


*unanimous consent agreements—simple agreements, complex agreements (or time agreements)

track system


legislative and calendar days

*adjourn, recess

*daily order of business—morning hour, morning business

*principle of unlimited debate

*quorum calls

(1) call up measure

(2) debate and amendment

amendments, amendment tree

filibusters, cloture


(3) final passage


Chapter 8—“Resolving House-Senate Differences”


rubber stamp approach

ping-pong approach

preconference strategies

conference committees—

(1) requesting a conference

               (2) selecting and instructing conferees

               (3) bargaining in conference

               (4) filing a conference report

               (5) final action


presidential options—

(1)    sign into law

(2)    constitutional veto

(3)    enact without signature

(4)    pocket veto

 Chapter 9—“Legislative Oversight”


legislative veto

authorization-appropriation process

confirmation hearings

Government Accountability Office (“GAO”)

statutory attempts (statutes, inspectors general, annual reports)