Adjourn for More than Three Days
Adjournment Sine Die
Adjournment to a Day and Time Certain
Advice and Consent
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute
Amendments between the Houses
By congressional custom, an appropriations bill originates in the House, and it is not supposed to be considered by the full House or Senate until a related measure authorizing the funding is enacted. The latter restriction is often ignored, however. An appropriation bill grants the actual money approved by authorization bills, but not necessarily the full amount permissible under the authorization. The 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law stipulated that the House pass by June 30 the last regular appropriations bill for the fiscal year starting October 1. (There is no such deadline for the Senate.) However, appropriations often have not been completed until well after the fiscal year begins, requiring a succession of stopgap bills to continue the government's functions. In addition, much federal spending - about half of all budget authority, notably that for Social Security and interest on the federal debt - does not require annual appropriations; those programs exist under permanent appropriations. (See also Report, Clean Bill, By Request, Budget Authority.)
Budget authority provided in legislation outside of the normal appropriations process. The most common forms of backdoor spending are borrowing authority, contract authority, entitlements, and loan guarantees that commit the government to payments of principal and interest on loans - such as Guaranteed Student Loans - made by banks or other private lenders. Loan guarantees result in actual outlays only when there is a default by the borrower.
In some cases, such as interest on the public debt, a permanent appropriation is provided that becomes available without further action by Congress.
"Bigger Bite" Amendment
In both the House and Senate, any number of members may join in introducing a single bill or resolution. The first member listed is the sponsor of the bill, and all members' names following his or hers are the bill's cosponsors. Many bills are introduced under the name of the chairman of the committee or subcommittee with jurisdiction over the measure. All appropriations bills fall into this category. A committee frequently holds hearings on a number of related bills and may agree to one of them or to an entirely new bill. (See also Report, Clean Bill, By Request) back to top of A, B glossary
When introduced, a bill is referred to the committee or committees that have jurisdiction over the subject with which the bill is concerned. Under the standing rules of the House and Senate, bills are referred by the Speaker in the House and by the presiding officer in the Senate. In practice, the House and Senate parliamentarians act for these officials and refer the vast majority of bills.
A type of grant in which the donor government may structure and design an intergovernmental program for a variety of purposes with borrowed money.
House resolution ordering the return to the Senate of a Senate bill or amendment that the House believes violates the constitutional prerogative of the House to originate revenue measures. back to top of A, B glossary
Statutory authority that permits a federal agency to incur obligations and make payments for specified purposes with borrowed money.
The document sent to Congress by the president early each year estimating government revenue and expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year. back to top of A, B glossary
The common name for the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974, which established the current budget process and created the Congressional Budget Office. The act also put limits on presidential authority to refuse to spend appropriated money. (See also Impoundments, Budget Process.)
The Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 was adopted to replace the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1987, as a response to the budget crisis that persisted through the 80's. The Budget Enforcement Act concentrated on devising a new deficit control process that would contain the deficit by controlling the amount of revenue raised and money spent. In line with this reasoning, the Budget Enforcement Act established three sets of rules for controlling the deficit: adjustable deficit targets, caps on discretionary spending, and pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules for revenue and direct spending. back to top of A, B glossary
Congress enacted legislation in 1985 to strengthen its 11-year-old budget process with the goal of balancing the federal budget by fiscal year 1991. The law, called the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act but commonly known as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings for its congressional sponsors, was amended in 1987 so the federal budget would be balanced by 1993. The law established annual maximum deficit targets and mandated automatic across-the-board cuts ("sequestration") if the deficit goals were not achieved through regular and appropriations action (See also Sequestration.)
The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law also established an accelerated timetable for presidential submission of budgets and for congressional approval of budget resolutions and reconciliation bills, two mechanism created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Budget resolutions, due by April 15 annually, set guidelines for congressional action on spending and tax measures. The resolutions are adopted by the House and Senate but are not signed by the president and do not have the force of law. Reconciliation bills, due by June 15, actually make changes in existing law to meet budget resolution goals. (See also Budget Resolution, Reconciliation.)
The term, named for Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), refers to an amendment to the Congressional Budget Act that bars the inclusion of extraneous matter in any reconciliation legislation considered in the Senate. This provision defines different categories of extraneous matter in any reconciliation legislation considered in the Senate. back to top of A, B glossary