Home
About the Wonk
Mission Statement
Member Benefits Privacy Statement
Contact Us
Feedback
 
U.S. Government
Government Issues
Weekly Wonk



GLOSSARY OF LEGISLATIVE TERMS

By The Issue Wonk

 

 

House Legislative Calendars:

 

The Union Calendar – Deals with bills that would raise revenues and spending (appropriations) bills.

 

The House Calendar – Deals with public bills that do not raise revenues or appropriate any money or property.

 

The Consent Calendar – Deals with bills that are not controversial and are passed without debate.  This calendar is called on the first and third Monday of each month.

 

The Private Calendar – Deals with claims against the United States.

 

 

Types of Legislation:

 

Bills – Denoted with HR in the House and S in the Senate and then followed by an assigned number.  This is the most common form of legislation.

 

Private Bill – A bill that deals only with specific private, personal, or local matters other than with general legislative affairs.  The main kinds include immigration and naturalization bills (referring to particular individuals) and personal claim bills.

 

Public Bill – A legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern.  A bill involving defense expenditures is a public bill.

 

Resolution – Hres or Sres.  This type of legislation is adopted only by the house that introduces it, and deals with issues concerning the operation of that house only.

 

Concurrent Resolutions – H Con Res or S Con Res.  This type of legislation does not become law.  It deals with issues that relate to internal matters in both the House and the Senate.

 

Joint Resolutions – HJ Res or SJ Res.  These are treated much the same as bills with the exception of joint resolutions which propose amendments to the Constitution.  A two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate must approve proposed amendments and then the Joint Resolution is sent to the states for ratification instead of the President.

 

 

Other Terms:

 

Calendar Wednesday – A procedure of the House of Representatives whereby Wednesdays may be used to call the roll of the standing committees for the purpose of bringing up any of their bills for consideration from the House or Union Calendar.

 

Cloture – A motion in the Senate that will limit debate.  It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture.  Invoking cloture will end a filibuster.

 

Committee of the Whole – The members of the House of Representatives organized into a committee for the consideration of bills and other matters.  Most House business is transacted in the Committee of the Whole so that the formal requirements of its regular sessions, such as having a quorum of one-half of the membership, can be avoided.

 

Discharge Petition – In the House, if a committee does not report a bill within 30 days after the measure is referred to it, any member may file a discharge motion.  Once offered, the motion is treated as a petition needing the signatures of a majority of members (218 if there are no vacancies).  After the required signatures have been obtained, there is a delay of 7 days.  Thereafter, on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, except during the last 6 days of a session, any member who has signed the petition must be recognized, if he/she so desires, to move that the committee be discharged.  Debate on the motion to discharge is limited to 20 minutes and, if the motion is carried, consideration of the bill becomes a matter of high privilege.

 

Filibuster – An attempt to defeat a bill in the Senate by talking indefinitely, thus preventing the Senate from doing any other work.  The terms comes from the Spanish word filibustero, which means a “freebooter,” or a military adventurer.

 

Hopper – Box on the clerk of the House’s desk where members deposit bills and resolutions to introduce them.

 

Morning Hour – The time set aside at the beginning of each legislative day for the consideration of regular, routine business.  The “hour” is of indefinite duration in the House, where it is rarely used.

 

Rider – A provision, unlikely to pass on its own merits, added to an important bill so that it will “ride” through the legislative process.

 

Veto – The power of a president, governor, or mayor to kill a piece of legislation by not signing it into law.  From the Latin term veto, which means “I forbid.”

 

 

 

© The Issue Wonk, 2006

 

 

 

FOLLOW THE ISSUE WONK
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Subscribe to the
Weekly Wonk:


Email Address

This Is CAPTCHA Image

CAPTCHA value


**************

SPONSORS

Forest Books
Forest Books

© Copyright 2006-2017 - The Issue Wonk™
The Issue Wonk, Inc. - All Rights Reserved