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Legislative Getting Started

Glossary of Political Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Act - Legislation that has passed both Houses of Congress and has been either approved by the President, or passed over his veto, thus becoming a law. Also a term used to describe a bill that has passed by one House of Congress.
Adjourn- To postpone or suspend or end a meeting.
A priori - from cause to effect; from a general law to a particular instance; valid independently of observation.
Abolitionist - one who favors doing away with slavery.
Absolutism - the principle or the exercise of complete and unrestricted power in government.
ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union. Nonprofit, nonpartisan litigation and lobbying organization which, among other activities, defends "freedom of expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection on behalf of anyone, no matter how unpopular the issue.
Ad hominem - appealing to a prejudice, emotion, or a special interest rather than to intellect or reason; an attempt to argue by referring to characteristics of the source of a claim or an argument.
Affirmative action - laws mandating increased numbers of women and minorities, especially in employment.
Altruism - sacrifice of the self for the welfare of others.
Amendment - an alteration of or addition to a bill, constitution, etc. A proposal by a Member (in committee or floor session of the respective Chamber) to alter the language or provision of a bill or act. It is voted on in the same manner as a bill.
The Constitution of the United States, as provided in Article 5, may be amended when two-thirds of the members each house of Congress approve a proposed amendment and three-fourths of the States thereafter ratify it.
Anarchist - one who seeks to overturn, by violence, society and government, with no intention of establishing another orderly system.
Antifederalist - a person who opposed the adoption of the proposed U.S. Constitution.
Anti-Semite - one who discriminates against or who is hostile toward or prejudiced against Jews. Sometimes used as a label for those who criticize Israel or it's policies, in order to intimidate and stifle disagreement.
Appropriation- A formal approval to draw funds from the Treasury for specific purposes.
Articles of Confederation - the constitution of the 13 American colonies, adopted in 1781 and replaced in 1789 by the U.S. Constitution.
Atheism - the doctrine or belief that there is no God or gods.
Attorney general - the chief law officer of a country or state and head of its legal department.
Autarky - national economic self-sufficiency.
Autocracy - a government where uncontrolled or unlimited authority is in the hands of one person.
 

B

Bear market - a declining or tending toward a declining in prices.
Bicameral- The characteristic of having two branches, chambers, or houses, such as the United States Congress, which is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Bigotry - intolerance of anyone else's creed, belief, or opinion.
Bill - a form or draft of a proposed statute presented to a legislature.
Bill of Rights - a formal statement of the fundamental rights of the people of a nation; such a statement incorporated in the U.S. Constitution as Amendments 1 - 10, and in all the state constitutions.
Bi-partisan - representing, characterized by, or including members from two parties or factions.
Blue Dog Democrats - Democrats that frequently take Republicans or Independents political positions.
Budget - an itemized estimate of expected income and expense and a plan of operation based on such an estimate.
Bull market - a rise in prices. Characterized by favorable prospects for the economy.
Bureaucracy - officials using fixed rules and a hierarchy of authority characterized by red tape, delay or inaction                                                                                                                                 
C

Cabinet - a council advising a sovereign, president, etc.
Caucus - A meeting of Democratic Party members in the House, which elects party leaders and makes decisions on legislative business.
Calendar- A list of bills, resolutions, or other matters to be considered before committees or on the floor of either house of Congress.
Campaign finance reform-Federal laws that are supposed to curtail corporations, issue-oriented advocacy organizations, and labor unions from communicating with the public about those who hold or seek public office via ads, as well as contributions.
Capitalism - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained by private individuals.
Casuistry - application of general ethical principles to particular cases of conscience or conduct.
Censorship - suppressing books, plays, music, newspapers, speech, etc. because they are considered morally or politically objectionable.
Centralized government - A form of government in which the national government maintains the power..
Checks and balances - A system of limits imposed by the Constitution of the United States on all branches of a government by giving each branch the right to change or cancel the acts of another branch that fall within its jurisdiction.
CIA - Central Intelligence Agency. The U.S. federal agency that coordinates governmental intelligence activities.
Circuit court - the court of general jurisdiction in some states.
Citizen - A native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection.
Civil rights - the rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and certain Congressional Acts.
Class - dividing society into groups where the members of each group share basically the same economic and political characteristics.
Clean bill - After a House committee extensively amends a bill, it often assembles its amendments and what is left of the bill into a new measure that one or more of its members introduces as a "clean bill." The revised measure is assigned a new number.
Commerce - The traffic in goods, usually thought of as trade between states or nations.
Cloture - A Senate procedure that limits further consideration of a pending proposal to thirty hours in order to end a filibuster.
Collateral damage - bystander casualties, ecological destruction and environmental contamination with potential to keep causing both
for long term
Collectivism - centralized control of the social and economic elements of a society, especially the means of production.
Committee - A group of Members established in both houses of Congress for the purpose of considering legislation, conducting investigations, and other duties as assigned. (see also "standing committee," "select committee," "joint committee," "conference committee," and "Committee of the Whole.")
Committee of the whole - House meeting in the form of a committee. This speeds the consideration of Legislation by lowering the quorum, and streamlining procedures. All decisions taken require approval of the full House.
Communism - a system of social organization in which a totalitarian state, run by a single self-appointed political party, controls all economic and social activity.
Competition - two or more entities, such as corporations, vying for the greatest amount of profits, prizes, acknowledgments, etc.
Concurrent resolution - A proposal used to express opinions, or amend rules of both houses of Congress. Approval by both chambers is needed in order to adopt.
Conference - 1. Republican Members organization in the House and Senate, and Democratic Members organization in the Senate, which elects party leaders and makes decisions on legislative business. A formal meeting, or series of meetings, between House and Senate Members held to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill.  
Conference committee - A temporary joint committee formed for the purpose of resolving differences between the houses on a measure or, occasionally, several measures.
Confirmation - The Senates constitutional duty to approve or reject presidential nominations.
Congress - the national legislative body of the U.S. consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Conscription - the draft. Mandatory enrollment in the military.
Conservatism - an ideology that advocates balance and order, tradition, individualism, and natural law.
Conspiracy - an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons.
Constituent - a person who authorizes another to act in his or her behalf, as a voter in a district represented by an elected official. A citizen residing within the district of a legislator.
The Constitution - the fundamental law of the U.S. framed in 1787 by the Constitutional Convention and carried into effect March 4, 1789.
Constitutional Convention - the convention of representatives from each of the colonies (except Rhode Island) that met in Philadelphia in 1787 to frame the U.S. Constitution.
Continental Congress - one of two continental assemblies that first met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, and afterward met from 1775 to 1789, during which period the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation were adopted.
Continuing resolution- An appropriations measure that provides funding for agencies whose regular appropriations have not been passed. (see also "appropriations")
Creationism - the belief that God created the universe, including all life, in its present form precisely as stated in the Bible in the book of Genesis.
Cyber terrorism - a surprise attack by a foreign terrorist group, or individuals with a political agenda, using computer technology and the Internet to cripple or disable infrastructure.

D

Darwinism - the theory that the origin of the species is derived by descent, with variation, from parent forms, through the natural selection of those best adapted to survive in the struggle for existence.
Debunk - .to expose a sham or falseness by presenting a truthful explanation
Declaration of Independence - the public act by which the Second Continental Congress on July4, 1776, declared the colonies to be free and independent of England.
Decriminalization - the elimination of criminal penalties for the possession or use of something.
Deficit - the amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required amount.
Delegate - 1. A person designated to act for or represent another or others; a deputy; representative, as in a political convention.
2. A member of the House from American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, or Washington, D.C. The Constitution prohibits delegates from voting on the House floor, but permits them to vote in Committee.
Democracy - a form of government to which the supreme power is vested in and exercised directly by the people or by their representatives elected under a free electoral system.
Democrat - One who advocates social and economic equality and government efforts, through tax-supported programs, at achieving this equality.
Democratic republic - a nation that favors states' rights rather than a strong national government.
Depression - a prolonged and very severe recession. The economic crisis which began around the time of the stock market crash in October 1929 and continued through the 1930s.
Determinism - a philosophical concept which postulates that all events, including human actions, are predetermined.
Dialectic - the art or practice of a logical discussion as of the truth of a theory or opinion.
Dignitary - A person holding a high, dignified position or office.
Discrimination - treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
Dictator - one who assumes absolute control without the free consent of the people.
Disinformation - false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth
District - a division of territory, as of a country, state, or county, marked off for administrative, electoral, or other purposes.
Doublespeak - language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning
Doublethink - maintaining a contradiction in mind as one speaks the opposite of one's own belief.
Dow Jones Industrial Average - a weighted average of thirty stocks chosen by Dow Jones and Company as representative of the size and financial performance of the premier corporations in America.
Downsize - reduction of employees

E

Ecoterrorist - political terrorism; a person who uses sabotage, arson and violence in order to achieve environmentalist aims
Egalitarian - characterized by the belief in the equality of all men.
Electronic voting machine - The device used to record votes, some of which will display roll call votes.
Embedded reporters - reporters who are absorbed into an advancing military unit, and who may even dress like soldiers, so that
they can make real time reports from the front line.
Empirical - depending upon experience or observation alone, without using science or theory.
Engrossed bill - The final version of proposed legislation passed by one chamber. It includes any floor amendments.
Enlightenment - a trend during the 18th century that favored the power of human reason. It was believed that knowledge could only come from observation guided by reason and that through reason, continuing progress in knowledge, achievement, and morality could be sustained. Further, that through education, human nature could be changed for the better.
Enrolled Bill - Legislation that has been passed by both houses of Congress, signed by their presiding officers, and sent to the President for signature.
Environmentalism - advocating working towards the protection of air, water, animals, plants, and other resources from pollution and its effects.
Ethnic Cleansing - the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group, also known as Genocide .
Equality - the state in which all people, regardless of their individual characteristics and abilities and without any special privileges or advantages, have the same opportunities for economic, social, etc. achievement.
Evolution - the process of formation, growth, or development.
Executive Branch - one of the three main branches of the U.S. government which consists of 10 offices and 14 departments which are led by the President.

F

Fasces - bundle of rods bound around an ax with a projecting blade, representing strength in unity and legislative authority.
Fascism - a totalitarian governmental system that emphasizes nationalism and racism and is led by a dictator.
Federalist - one who advocates a strong central government.
FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigations. A federal agency charged, by the Attorney General, with investigating certain types of violations.
FCC - Federal Communications Commission. A board that regulates broadcasting and interstate communications.
FDIC - a public corporation established in 1933 which insures, up to a specified amount, all demand deposits by member banks.
Federal - A union of groups or states in which each member agrees to give up some of its governmental powers in certain specified areas to central authority.
 2. Pertaining to the Federal government.
Federalism - A union of states in which power is divided between a central government and the state governments.
Federal Reserve System - the U.S. federal banking system that is under the control of a central board of governors (Federal Reserve Board) with a central bank (Federal Reserve Bank) in each of the 12 districts. It has wide powers in controlling credit and the flow of money.
Feminism - the doctrine of advocating social and political rights for women equal to those of men. (see NOW)
Filibuster - A technique used by the Senate to delay or prevent legislative action by speaking at great length against a pending measure.
Five-minute rule - Under House rules, a measure considered in the Committee of the Whole is governed by the 5-minute rule. A Member offering an amendment is recognized to speak in favor of it for 5 minutes. Another member may speak against the amendment for an additional 5 minutes.
Food police - individuals or groups who use a political bias as a standard to determine what is, and is not, healthy or appropriate for
human consumption.
Free enterprise - an economic idea which states that a capitalist economy can, through supply and demand, regulate itself in a freely competitive market without governmental interference.
Free speech - the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc.

G

GDP - measures the value of all goods and services produced within a given nation's borders no matter what the producer's nationality.
GNP - measures the value of all goods and services in a given nation's economy and is determined by adding up all consumer, government, and investment spending both world-wide and domestically.
Globalization - to make a worldwide government in scope or application for the purpose of increasing the interdependence of the world's markets and businesses. Globalization is currently  being promoted by the United Nations.
God - the Supreme Being, the creator, and ruler of the universe.
Grand jury - a jury designated to inquire into alleged illegalities to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
Gravitas - high seriousness (as in a person's bearing or in the treatment of a subject). Used by Al Gore during the 2000 Presidential election to portray himself as experienced. This unfamiliar word was suddenly being used by numerous members of the media and became ridiculed as orchestrated political spin.

H, I

Hard money - political donations given by individuals and political action committees and subject to federal contribution limits of
$1,000 to a federal candidate, and $20,000 a year to a political party. (see Soft Money)
Hearing - A meeting or session of a committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or oversee a program.
House Chamber - The room in which the House of Representatives normally holds its sessions.
Hopper - A box into which a proposed legislative bill is dropped and thereby officially introduced.
Homicide bombers - terrorists who kill themselves while murdering others. This term is used as a harsher way to describe a suicide bomber.
Illuminati - persons possessing or claiming to possess superior understanding and knowledge.
Impeachment - a formal accusation in Congress or state legislature against a public official and the resulting trial.
Independent - The principled independent voter is registered as an independent and  is not affiliated with a political party.  He is motivated to vote and to acquire information out of a sense of civic duty (nonpartisan).  The most prevalent however, is the moderate independent.  He is a partisan, belonging to a political party, but is a centrist who does not identify with the radical movements of that party.  Independents are often seen as the deciding vote in a two party system election.
2. When a person or thing is not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself.
Initiative - A procedure by which a specified number of voters may propose a statute, constitutional amendment, or ordinance, and compel a popular vote on its adoption.
Isolationism -  a policy of national isolation by abstention from alliances and other international political and economic relations
Inflation - a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services.
IRS - Internal Revenue Service. An agency of the U.S. Department of Treasury responsible for encouraging taxpayers to voluntarily comply with the tax laws and regulations. It also provides information and assistance to taxpayers and takes action when necessary and appropriate to enforce the law.

J

Joint Committee – A committee composed of Members selected from each House. The functions of most joint committees involve investigation, research, or oversight of agencies closely related to Congress. Permanent joint committees, created by statute, are sometimes called standing joint committees.

Joint Meeting -  A meeting of both Houses of Congress, in which each Chamber recesses to meet for an occasion or ceremony, usually in the House Chamber.
Joint Resolution – legislative measure that Congress uses for purposes other than general legislation, often used in dealing with limited matters. Like a bill, it requires the approval of both Houses and the signature of the President to enact. When used to amend the Constitution it must be sent to the states for 3/4 approval.
Joint Session - A meeting of both Houses of Congress, customarily held in the House Chamber, to count electoral votes, attend inaugurations, or hear the presidential State of the Union messages.
Jurisdiction – The subjects or areas covered by a committee. When a bill is proposed, the bill is sent to the committee with the jurisdiction over the topics covered in a bill. For example, bills about education go to the Committee on Education.
2. the extent or range of judicial, law enforcement, or other authority: This case comes under the jurisdiction of the local police.   
Judicial branch - one of the three main branches of U.S. government whose function is to administer and enforce the laws of the United States.
Junk science - a term used to describe false or misleading research that is offered as real science, but which was not obtained using
the accepted scientific method. The term "junk science" is often applied to deceptive environmental and health studies.
Justice - the quality of conforming to principles of reason, to generally accepted standards of right and wrong, and to the stated terms of laws, rules, and agreements, etc. in matters affecting persons who could be wronged or unduly favored.

K, L

Labor union - workers who organize in order to, among other things, promote higher wages and better working conditions.
Laffer curve - a curve illustrating the relationship between tax rates and tax revenues. The curve reflects the fact that tax revenues are low for both very high and very low tax rates.
Laissez-faire - the theory that government should not interfere in the direction of economic affairs.
Law - A rule of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community, State, or nation.
Legislative branch - Congress, which is comprised of the Senate and the House of Representatives. One of the three main branches of the U.S. government consisting of elected officials empowered to make, change, or repeal laws.
Legislative Day - A formal meeting of a house of Congress which begins with the call to order and opening of business and ends with adjournment. A legislative day may cover a period of several calendar days, with the House recessing at the end of each calendar day, rather than adjourning.
Libertarian - (classic libertarian) - a person who advocates capitalism, freedom from despotic government rule, and who believes in free will; every person has the absolute right to control his own property, life, thoughts, body, speech, conduct, etc. and is obliged to respect these same rights of others.
Libertarian - (anarchist libertarian) - this anti-american faction is made up of far-left extremists from the communist, socialist democrat, and environmentalist movements.  They condemn capitalism, advocate intolerance and violence, utilizing terrorist methods to implement change.
Line-Item Veto - The power of the executive to disapprove of particular items of a bill without having to disapprove of the entire bill.
Lobby - to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials

M

Mace – Symbol of the Office of the Sergeant at Arms used to signify the various states of the House, and to restore order in the presence of an unruly Member.
Marginal tax rate - the amount of one's additional (marginal) earnings that must be paid explicitly in taxes or implicitly in the form of a reduction in the level of one's income supplement. Since it establishes the fraction of an additional dollar earned that an individual is permitted to keep, it is an important determinant of the incentive to work.
Markup - To change or alter the language of a bill.
Marxism - a system of thought developed by Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, which is the basis for the theoretical principles of communism. (see communism)
Masculism - The ideological flip side of feminism. It teaches that sexual equality laws serve primarily women and have created significant unconstitutional discrimination against men. That these laws are "anti-male" discrimination laws have been used to justify the vilification of men and the curtailing of men's rights.
Masculists - followers of Masculism
Measure - A legislative bill, resolution, etc., that is proposed or has been enacted.
Medicaid - a government program financed by federal, state, and local funds for hospitalization and medical insurance for persons of all ages within certain income limits.
Member - (1) Generic term for one who serves in the House of Representatives or Senate. (2) One who serves on a committee.
Memorial - A petition to Congress from State legislatures, usually requesting some sort of legislation.
Metrosexual - A term to describe a heterosexual urban male, who is vain, self-indulgent and grooms himself in clothing recommended by  homosexuals.  A kind of narcissistic, insecure masculinity shaped by film, advertising, and fashionable expensive  clothes. These men are sometimes referred to as "girly men".
Militant - vigorously active, aggressive, or combative.
Military - U.S. armed forces comprised of the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines.
Militia - all able-bodied males between the ages of 18 and 45 considered eligible for defensive military service in times of emergency.
Minimum wage - the lowest wage payable, by law or union contract, to a company's employees.
Monarchy - a state in which the supreme power is vested in a hereditary sovereign such as king, queen, or emperor.
Monopoly - a market situation characterized by a single seller of a good or service for which there is no comparable substitute and by factors that make it difficult for other firms to enter the market for that product.
Moonbat - The term is popularly used to describe fanatical anti-war  activists,  as well as some politicians who use hate filled rhetoric.  It is perceived that they have sacrificed sanity for uniformity .. like a mad dogs barking at the moon.
Morality - the rules of right and good conduct.
MSM-  Mainstream media.  This is a reference to the major networks.

N

Nation building - undertaken after war to help rebuild the political and economic infrastructure of a country.
National - A person under the protection of a specific country. A citizen or subject.
National socialism - the principles and practices of the Nazi party in Germany. Grounded in military authoritarianism, opposition towards democracy, and the belief in the physical, moral, and cultural superiority of Nordic people, it idealized the state. (see Nazi)
Nationalism - devotion to the interests of one's own country.
Neo-conservative (Neocon) - the original neocons were Jewish-Americans, formerly socialist or communist, who moved over to the political right. Perceiving a split in the GOP, some came to use the term to vilify the "religious right" (Republicans that support Israel and Jews for biblical reasons).  
More recently, the term "neocon" is has being broadened to include anyone who judges others using a "values" based morality, which includes the concepts of accountability and personal responsibility.
Neo-liberalism - Fundamentally a globalistic economic agenda. A program of reducing trade barriers and internal market restrictions
New World Order - a conspiracy theory regarding a supposed powerful and influential doomsday cult, generally referred to as the Illuminati or Bilderbergs.  
Nomination -  1. The process by which candidates for an elected office gain party approval on the general election ballot.
2. Appointments to office by the President that are subject to Senate confirmation.
NOW - National Organization for Women. An American organization that at one time had as it's primary goal, promoting equal rights for women. It has evolved into a group promoting leftist and lesbian causes.
NHTSA- National Highway and Safety Administration NHTSA provides information and recommendations to the motor vehicle and highway safety community through the development of innovative approaches to reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries. 


O

Oligopoly - a market situation in which only a few companies dominate and compete in a given industry
Omnicide -  Murder whose purpose is to destroy a species of humankind, utilizing weapons that are too terrible to be used, and whose use may result in the death of those using them as well as those they wish to kill. Suicide bombers commit omicide. The halocaust was omnicide.
One-Hour Rule - The rule setting debate limits in the House of Representatives. Bills are debated on the House floor for 1 hour, with half the time customarily yielded to the opposing party.
One-Minute Rule – By custom, Members may be recognized at the beginning or end of a daily session. Members may address the House on subjects of their choice for no more than 1 minute each.
Override (a veto) – Congressional enactment of a measure over the president's veto. A veto override requires a recorded two-thirds vote of those voting in each house.
One World Order - to make a worldwide government in scope or application for the purpose of increasing the interdependence of the world's markets and businesses. One World Order is currently  being promoted by the United Nations.
Outlays - monetary expenditures.

P

Pajahadeen/Pajama Bloggers - Jonathan Klein, president of CNN, airily dismissed the bloggers who dethroned Dan Rather as, "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."
This elitist comment, evolved into the term “pajahadeen” or "pajama clad bloggers", used to describe the bloggers who have risen up against the mainstream media to uncover and expose their intentional political deceptions.
Partisan - an adherent supporter of a person, party, or cause.
Perjury - willfully lying under oath before a competent tribunal, about a point pertinent to a legal inquiry.
PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A group that supports animal "rights" by protesting medical testing on animals and the use of animals to make clothing, cosmetics, and other consumables including food.
Petition - A request or plea sent to one or both Houses from an organization or private citizens group asking support for particular legislation. Petitions are referred to appropriate committees for action.

Pluralism - the view that the world contains many kinds of existent, which in their uniqueness cannot be reduced to just one or two.
Plurality - the excess of votes received by the leading candidate in an election in which there are three or more candidates, over those received by the next candidate.
Plutocracy - the rule of the wealthy.
Pocket Veto - The disapproval of a bill brought about by an indirect rejection by the president. The president is granted ten days, Sundays excepted, to review a piece of legislation passed by Congress. Should he fail to sign a piece of legislation and Congress has adjourned within those days, the bill automatically dies. The process of indirect rejection is known as a pocket veto. (also see "veto")
Polarization - this is what happens when the extreme wings of a party take control and moderates find that they have lost power.
Politically correct - a speech code designed to limit free speech, conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated. Politically correct is often referred to as "PC".
Politically incorrect - use of words deemed insensitive by the politically correct.
Positivism - that which has to be accepted as we find it and is not given to further explanation.
POTUS-  Presidents of the United States
prime rate - A rate banks use in conjunction with other rates such as LIBOR and Fed Funds to determine interest rates in lending transactions.
Private Bills - Private bills deal with individual matters such as claims against the Federal Government, immigration and naturalization cases, land titles, et cetera, and become private laws if approved and signed.
Privatize - to convert businesses from government ownership to private ownership.
Progressive liberal - An emphasis on equity to the extent that a dependent class must be supported and provided for by society. Disparage capitalism and increase socialist concepts such as government control and ownership, to include tax increases for new and larger social programs. A belief that our domestic and foreign policy should conform with international directive.
Propaganda - The common use of propaganda is to use false or misleading information to promote a partisan and unbalanced picture. It is a deliberate attempt to change people's views on a given topic through the use of deception and confusion, rather than persuasion and understanding.
Property rights - the rights to use, control, and obtain the benefits from a good or service.
Public Law - A bill or joint resolution (other than for amendments to the Constitution) passed by both Houses of Congress and approved by the president. Bills and joint resolutions vetoed by the President, but then overridden by the Congress also become public law.

Q

Quota - the number of persons of a specific race or gender required to be enrolled in a college, to be hired by a company, to be admitted to a club, etc.
Quorum - The number of Members in each House needed to conduct business


R

Racism - a doctrine that inherent differences in race determine individual achievement.
Ratification - 1. The act of approval of a proposed constitutional amendment by the legislatures of the States.
2. Senate process of advice and consent to treaties negotiated by the President.
Reapportionment – The process by which seats in the House of Representatives are reassigned among the States to reflect population changes following the decennial census.
Recess - An interruption in the session of the House or Senate of a less formal nature than an adjournment.
Recession - a downturn in economic activity marked by two consecutive quarters in which there is a decline in real GNP (Gross National Product).
Redistricting – The process within the States of redrawing legislative district boundaries to reflect population changes following the decennial census.
Report -  (1) e.g., "to report a bill." To release a bill from committee for consideration on the House Floor. To bring back to the House or Senate, with recommendations, a bill or other matter that was referred to a committee or that originated in the committee. (2) A document presenting a committee's findings, or the findings of a conference committee or an executive agency that is required by law to submit them.
Representative - An elected and duly sworn Member of the House of Representatives who is entitled to vote in the Chamber.
Republic - a state in which the supreme power is with the citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly ,chosen by them and responsible to them.
Republican - an advocate of conservatism. (see conservatism).
Resolution - A resolution is not a law, but a measure expressing opinions on policies or issues or a deal with the internal affairs of a house. (see also "concurrent resolution," "joint resolution," and "simple resolution.")
Revenue enhancement - a term used to describe a tax increase, without having to call it a tax increase.
Revisionist - Originally, it was a reference to the reexamination of the accepted "facts" and interpretations of history, with by a genuine desire to educate and correct history. However, it has become a term used to indicate that the history has been intentionally reinterpreted, to reflect a view that is not accurate in order to support an agenda.
Roll Call - A call of the roll in the House or the Senate to determine whether a quorum is present, to establish a quorum, or to vote on a question.
Rostrum - A platform for public speaking. In the House, the place from which the Speaker presides.


S

S & L - Savings and Loan. Financial institutions that accept deposits in exchange for shares that pay dividends.SCOTUS - Supreme Court of the United States
SEC - Securities and Exchange Commission. A board charged with regulating the public offer and sale of securities.
Select Committee - A committee established by a resolution in either house for a special purpose and, usually, for a limited time.
Session - the sitting together of a court, council, legislature, or the like, for conference or the transaction of business: Congress is now in session.
The period during which Congress assembles and carries on its regular business. By the Constitution, Congress has two regular sessions; however, the President may call Congress into special session.
Secede - to formally break away from an alliance or federation, such as a political union.
Sexism - discrimination against women in job opportunities, education, military, etc.
Sexual harassment - unwanted sexually-oriented comments or actions made towards an employee by a superior or co-worker that disrupt the working environment and/or affect said employee's wages, opportunity for advancement, job security, etc.
Simple Resolution - A proposal used to create rules of operation, or express the opinion of either House. Consideration and approval occurs only within the sponsoring Chamber.
Sine Die - The final adjournment used to conclude a session of Congress. (Latin translation "without a day")
Soft money - unlimited contributions to the political parties, from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals. "Soft money" is
money donated to political parties in a way that leaves the contribution unregulated. (see Hard Money)
Social democrat - one who advocates, through a democratic process, a slow transition to socialism.
Socialism - a system of economic organization in which state owns and controls the basic means of production and where centralized planning, rather than market forces, determines the allocation of resources.
Social security - a life insurance and retirement plan run by the federal government and funded through compulsory payments by employers and employees.
Socratic method - a teacher, by questioning his student, brings the student to recognize some conclusion without telling the student that the conclusion is true.
Spin - a political agenda, twisting truths or facts into something that "proves" your point of view.
Standing Committee - Permanent House committees that consider bills and issues and recommend measures for consideration by the full House.
Statute Law -  Bills and joint resolutions (except for those proposing constitutional amendments) enacted by Congress and approved by the President (or enacted into law because the President's veto is overridden).
Suborn - to bribe or induce a witness to give false testimony.
Subsidy - aid given by a government to a private commercial enterprise, a charity organization, etc.
Suicide bomber - a Terrorist that kills himself in the act of murdering others.
Syndicalism - Anti-capitalist, non-traditional socialist doctrine that sees the state as oppressive and advocates replacing the state system with production groups connected by a centralized agent which determines economic needs and organizes production. It is believed that working within such groups would unite workers and that this kind of unity would overcome diverging political and religious beliefs.

T

Tabling Motion - A motion to stop action on a pending proposal and to lay it aside indefinitely. When the Senate or House agrees to a tabling motion, the measure which has been tabled is effectively defeated.
Talking head - a talker on television who talks directly into the cameras and whose upper body is all that is shown on the screen
Terrorism - Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. (FBI definition) 
Think tank - a research institute or other organization of scholars, social or physical scientists, etc.
Thought police - individuals or groups who use a political bias as a standard to determine what is, and is not, appropriate for others to think or say.
Tree-hugger - an environmental extremist who supports the restriction of logging.
Troll - to allure, entice and bait.  A person who gives false, outrageous, inflamatory, political statements, or insults, in order to provoke a desired response.  The internet troll wants to make a fool out of anyone trusting enough, to take his comments seriously.
Tyranny - arbitrary and unrestrained abuse of power.

U

Unanimous Consent - A practice in the House and Senate to set aside a rule of procedure, so as to expedite proceedings. It is usually connected with noncontroversial matters.
United Nations - an international organization, headquartered in New York City, formed to promote international peace, security, and cooperation under the terms of the charter signed by 51 founding countries in San Francisco in 1945.
unilateralism - a government acting on it's own, in it's own best interests. This would be opposed to going to the United Nations, to act jointly with other nations, on international principles designed to benefit "the many".
urban legend - a story of doubtful authenticity involving incidents of the recent past, often including elements of humor and horror, that spreads quickly and believed to be true
utilitarianism - Judging actions by their consequences and the pleasure derived from them. The goal being the greatest amount of happiness for the most people.

V

Vast right wing conspiracy - a term coined by Hillary Rodham-Clinton to describe the accusations of, and the investigations into, President Bill Clinton's alleged misconduct and alleged illegal activities.
Veto - The constitutional procedure 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 originating House without approval. It can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in each House. A pocket veto occurs after Congress has adjourned and is unable to override the President's action. The President may also choose to disapprove only particular items of a bill without having to disapprove the entire bill, which is called a line-item veto.

W

Weapons of mass destruction - often referred to as "WMD", they would include Chemical, Biological and Nuclear weapons.
Welfare - financial aid that is funded by tax dollars and given by government because of hardship or need.

X, Y, Z

Zionism - a movement looking toward the segregation of the Jewish people, specifically seeking a Jewish legal takeover of Palestine.