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Debt Ceiling

Pile of hundred dollar bills

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss the congressionally set limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow. READ MORE

Conference Chair

Elisa Greenberg Ben Grove June 2, 2021
U.S. capitol dome

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss the House Democratic and Republican leaders who oversee their caucus’ messaging, meetings, and organization. READ MORE

Senate Parliamentarian

U.S. Capital building at dusk

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss the nonpartisan official in charge of interpreting Senate rules regarding floor procedures and legislation. READ MORE

Community Project Funding (Earmarks)

Ben Grove Elisa Greenberg April 7, 2021
two arms carving up piles of money - one is Uncle Sam

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss Community Project Funding and how it benefits a member of Congress's district. READ MORE

Budget Reconciliation

An illustration of two hands exchanging money for a contract

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team takes a look at budget reconciliation and how the process can be used to expedite the passage of budget-related legislation. READ MORE

Acting Secretary

cartoon of person standing in too-large shoes

Under the Federal Vacancies Act, a government employee can temporarily assume an agency position without being confirmed. But the Act limits who can serve as an acting secretary and for how long they can serve in that capacity. READ MORE

Presidential Transition Act

White House

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the federal statute that governs the presidential transition process: the Presidential Transition Act. READ MORE

Presidential Electors

Capitol at night

In this month’s Wonkology, we discuss Presidential Electors, the individuals selected to vote for president and vice president in the Electoral College. READ MORE

Filibuster

Congress

In this month's Wonkology, we examine the filibuster and it's use in the Senate to prevent or delay a measure from coming to a vote. READ MORE

Congressional Review Act

U.S. Capital building at dusk

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss a process that allows Congress to nullify a federal agency regulation by submitting a joint resolution of disapproval for the president to sign. READ MORE

Legislative Day

U.S. capitol dome

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the a legislative day, a period of time that begins when a chamber of Congress gavels into session and ends when the chamber formally adjourns. READ MORE

Unanimous Consent

Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

In this edition of Wonkology, we discuss the parliamentary tool that allows for the expedited passage of legislation by common agreement. READ MORE

Pro Forma Session

U.S. Capitol

A pro forma session is a brief congressional session that extends a current session to avoid a formal recess. READ MORE

Vote-a-rama

Illustration of voters submitting ballots

The Senate has another practice that both speeds up deliberation and establishes a more fulsome legislative record: vote-a-rama. A vote-a-rama is when senators vote on 15 or more amendments back-to-back, marathon style. READ MORE

Proxy Voting

Summer Associates

For certain types of congressional business, in-person voting is not required, and members can vote by proxy. Voting by proxy allows one member to specifically designate another member to cast a vote on their behalf. READ MORE

Supplemental Appropriations - COVID-19 Edition

Pile of hundred dollar bills

This month, we explore Supplemental Appropriations, Federal spending allocated outside of the regular appropriations process. READ MORE

Byrd Rule

U.S. Capital building at dusk

What is the Byrd Rule? A rule that prevents extraneous provisions from being included in reconciliation bills. READ MORE

Suspension of the Rules

Congress

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss instances when Congress suspends the typical rules that govern legislation so bipartisan bills can forward more quickly. READ MORE

Chairman's Mark

WhiteHouseBlog

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the first draft of legislation introduced by the chair of a committee or subcommittee to be considered at a markup. READ MORE

Anomalies

Calculator and money

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss anomalies - provisions in a continuing resolution that can change the duration, amount, or purpose of appropriated funds. READ MORE

Engrossed vs. Enrolled

Signing Documents

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the differences between engrossed bills and enrolled bills. READ MORE

Manager's Amendment

Capitol at night

What is a manager's amendment? A package of amendments introduced by the chair or lead sponsor of a piece of legislation. READ MORE

Deem and Pass

money_gavel_650x510

What is Deem and Pass? A process in the House of Representatives that allows for the passage of legislation by voting on a rule - and not the actual bill. READ MORE

Sequestration

Pile of hundred dollar bills

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss how Congress can use sequestration to control their budget and deficit. READ MORE

Gephardt Rule

Rolled U.S. dollars arranged to appear like a bar graph

What is the Gephardt Rule? A House rule that automatically raises the debt limit without holding a separate vote. READ MORE

PAYGO

two arms carving up piles of money - one is Uncle Sam

In this Wonkology, we take a look at PAYGO - the budget rule that requires revenue-neutral taxing or spending. READ MORE

Reprogramming of Funds

Illustration of four hands pulling at a dollar

How does can the Executive Branch move funds without Congressional approval? Find out in this month's Wonkology. READ MORE

President Pro Tempore

The U.S. Constitution

Who is the President Pro Tempore, and what are their duties? Find out in this month's Wonkology! READ MORE

Toss Up

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Happy Election Day! In this Wonkology, we discuss what it means when an election is described as a toss up. READ MORE

Wave Election

Christopher Murray Ben Grove September 13, 2018
An ocean wave

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss what defines a "wave election" and their significance in Congress. READ MORE

Government Shutdown

A stop line on a wet road

How does a government shutdown happen? Find out in this month's Wonkology, from our Lobbying & Policy team. READ MORE

Discharge Petition

U.S. capitol dome

In this Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss discharge petitions and how they can be used to expedite legislation in the House of Representatives. READ MORE

Rescission

An illustration of two hands exchanging money for a contract

What is rescission? The elimination or reduction in appropriations by the President, contingent upon congressional approval. READ MORE

Franking Privilege

An illustration of envelopes flooding into a mailbox

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss franking privileges, the authority granted by Congress to itself to send mail to constituents free of charge. READ MORE

The Vacancies Act

U.S. Capitol

The Vacancies Act allows government employees who were not appointed to a federal position requiring the advice and consent of the Senate to perform the functions of that office on a temporary - or "acting" - basis. READ MORE

Blue Slip (House)

Illustration of four hands pulling at a dollar

In our second installment on Blue Slips, we discuss how the House can return Senate-oriented legislation violating the House's revenue-raising authority. READ MORE

Blue Slip (Senate)

U.S. Capital building at dusk

In the first part of our series on Blue Slips, we're discussing Senate slips - an informal courtesy by which senators signal approval for home state judicial nominees prior to consideration by the Judiciary Committee. READ MORE

Joint Committee on Taxation

tax forms

What is the Joint Committee on Taxation? Find out in this month's edition of Wonkology, from our Lobbying & Policy team. READ MORE

Supplemental Appropriations

gavel with money

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss how the federal government can allocate spending outside of the regular appropriations cycle due to emergencies. READ MORE

Congressional Budget Office

Calculator and money

What is the Congressional Budget Agency? A nonpartisan legislative branch agency that provides independent economic analysis of proposed legislation. READ MORE

Special Counsel

A photo of a courtroom with red wood furniture from the aisle

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the role of the Special Counsel in an internal investigation. READ MORE

Policy Rider

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Policy riders are provisions added to an appropriations bill that directs or limits how the Executive Branch spends funds. READ MORE

Nuclear Option

Nuclear cooling tours and energy plant next to a river

What is the "nuclear option" in the Senate? Find out in this month's Wonkology from our Lobbying & Policy team! READ MORE

Extraordinary Measures

two arms carving up piles of money - one is Uncle Sam

Using extraordinary measures, how does the Secretary of the Treasury ensure the federal government stay under its debt limit? Find out in this month's Wonkology. READ MORE

Congressional Review Act (CRA)

U.S. Capital building at dusk

The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn agency regulations by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, which then must be signed by the president. READ MORE

Advice and Consent

WhiteHouseBlog

In this Wonkology, we discuss Article II of the Constitution, which requires the President to seek the "advice and consent" of the Senate for nominees to the Executive and Judicial Branches. READ MORE

First Day of Congress

U.S. capitol dome

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss what happens on the first day of Congress. READ MORE

Lame Duck

WhiteHouseBlog

What is the "lame duck" session in congress? Find out in this month's Wonkology, from our Lobbying & Policy team! READ MORE

Election Day

Illustration of voters submitting ballots

Today is Election Day, but why is that? Learn more about the history of Election Day in this month's Wonkology from our Lobbying & Policy team. READ MORE

Electoral College

2014-midterm-elections---higher-education_15457763027_o

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the Electoral College and how it developed over time despite not appearing in the Constitution. READ MORE

Likely Voters

Illustration of voters submitting ballots

Who are "likely voters?" A group of individuals identified in a polling sample that are most likely to vote on election day. READ MORE

Polling

Capitol at night

In this month's Wonkology, we explore the origins and role of public polling in election cycles. READ MORE

Vice Presidential Vetting

U.S. Congress capital building

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the process by which prospective vice presidential candidates undergo a thorough evaluation prior to being selected to serve on a presidential ticket. READ MORE

Presumptive Nominee

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In this month's Wonkology, we discuss what it means when a presidential candidate is assured of their party's nomination but has not yet been formally nominated at a party convention. READ MORE

Democratic Delegate

Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

Similar to their Republican counterparts, Democratic delegates are generally selected through a primary or caucus. The Democrats, however, allocate delegates proportionally in all states, as opposed to the mix of proportional allocation and "winner-take-all" approach in Republican contests. READ MORE

Republican Delegate

Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

Prior to 1972, state party bosses had the ability to control and manipulate delegates to the national convention. To secure the nomination, presidential campaigns struck deals with these leaders to swing delegates in their favor. READ MORE

Thurmond Rule

Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

According to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, the President shall nominate Supreme Court justices with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. Every Supreme Court nominee in US history received a vote by the Senate within 125 calendar days. READ MORE

Natural Born

Ken Salomon Ben Grove February 16, 2016
Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

According to Article II of the Constitution, a person "shall be eligible to the Office of President" if they are 35 years old, a resident of the United States for 14 years, and a "natural born" citizen. READ MORE

Caucus

Ben Grove Ken Salomon January 4, 2016
Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

The origin of the word "caucus" is disputed. It has been suggested that it is either an Algonquin word meaning "to consult or to speak" or even a variation of "caulkers," which were revolutionary-era assemblies of shipwrights in Boston. READ MORE

Continuing Resolution

Ken Salomon Ben Grove September 1, 2015
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A continuing resolution (CR) is a short-term appropriations bill that serves as a stop-gap to prevent a full or partial government shutdown. CRs extend all federal government discretionary spending not already approved by regular appropriations bills (and signed into law) by the beginning of the next federal fiscal year (October 1). READ MORE

Conferee

Ben Grove Ken Salomon July 15, 2015
Capitol at night

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss a Representative or Senator appointed by his or her respective chamber to a conference committee tasked with resolving differences on competing versions of legislation. READ MORE

Cloture

Cherry blossoms leaning over reflecting pool near Jefferson Memorial

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss the Senate process that brings debate on a measure, like a filibuster, to a close. READ MORE

302(b) Allocations

gavel with money

In this month's Wonkology, we discuss the budget cap issued to each of the 12 congressional appropriations subcommittees following the passage of a concurrent budget resolution. READ MORE

Queen of the Hill

Ken Salomon Ben Grove April 8, 2015
U.S. Capital building at dusk

Queen of the Hill was formed out of the House's King of the Hill rule, itself originally created in 1971. King of the Hill, now out of common use, deemed that the last amendment in a series to secure a majority vote would be considered the prevailing amendment; even if another amendment received a higher vote tally, the last amendment to receive the majority vote would be the amendment considered adopted. READ MORE

Reconciliation

U.S. Capital building at dusk

A budgetary process by which Congress is able to pass legislation in an expedited manner in order to bring mandatory entitlement spending levels in line with the current budget resolution. READ MORE

President's Budget of the United States Government

Jack Jacobson Ken Salomon February 5, 2015
Pile of hundred dollar bills

The President's Budget is the budget proposed by the President for the three branches of the federal government, submitted to Congress by the first Monday in February prior to the start of the next federal fiscal year. READ MORE

State of the Union

U.S. Capitol

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss the State of the Union address and it's origins. READ MORE

Executive Order

The U.S. Constitution

In this month's Wonkology, our Lobbying & Policy team discuss executive orders, which began in 1907 by the State Department. READ MORE

Senate Tie

Jack Jacobson Ben Grove November 3, 2014
U.S. Capitol

What happens in the event of a Senate Tie? Find out in this month's Wonkology! READ MORE