word-of-the-week

Word of the Week: Weather

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore broadcasts news about the impending blizzard in Washington in front of the Capitol on Jan. 21. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Weather . The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle.  

From "The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce .

Word of the Week: Vacate Proceedings

Vacate Proceedings . To nullify a chamber's previous action, such as the passage of a measure , adoption of an amendment or conference report, or an order for the yeas and neas; also referred to as vitiating an action. Requests to vacate proceedings require unanimous consent and are usually made to correct some inadvertent error in the proceedings.  

Word of the Week: State of the Union

(Mandel Ngan/Pool/File Photo)

State of the Union . "[The president] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;"  

Word of the Week: Reconciliation

"Reconciliation . Legislation that revises program authorizations to achieve levels of spending required by the budget resolution. Reconciliation bills usually also include revenue increases. The bills are based on instructions in the budget resolution that require authorizing committees to draft legislation specifying cost-cutting changes in programs under their jurisdiction."  

-- "Congress A to Z, Third Edition," David R. Tarr and Ann O'Connor.  

HOH Word of the Week: Goat, Goat Food

Goat . Derogatory slang for a constituent.  

Goat food . Shameless political posturing.  

HOH Word of the Week: Endgame

Endgame . "The pursuit of the ultimate outcome. It could be an electoral victory, pushing a bill through Congress, or, just as often, blocking legislation. The term derives from chess; it's the period when only a handful of playing pieces remain on the board. Although William Safire says it was coined in 1881, it's become more and more popular — in addition to politics, it's been the title of songs (R.E.M. and others), albums (Megadeth, Rise Against, and others), books, TV shows and movies. Let's face it: It sounds so much cooler than 'at the end.'"  

HOH Word of the Week: Full Ginsburg

"The impressive-for-Washington feat of a cable chatterer appearing on all five Sunday talk shows in one day. Monica Lewinsky's then lawyer William Ginsburg appeared the same February 1998 Sunday on ABC's This Week, Fox News Sunday, CBS's Face the Nation, Meet the Press and Late Edition on CNN. Like a perfect game in baseball, the Full Ginsburg is a rare feat in punditry; fewer than two dozen people have accomplished it. Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio pulled off a version of this in 2013 that also included appearances on Univision and Telemundo, something quickly dubbed the 'Full Marco.'"  

From "Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs & Washington Handshakes, Decoding the Jardon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark

HOH Word of the Week: Tedious

Tedious . Verbose and wearisome. A bit of friendly advice from "Jefferson's Manual" is that if members find they are being drowned out by other conversations or unruly noises, they should take the hint and sit down, "for it scarcely ever happens that they are guilty of this piece of ill manners without sufficient reason, or inattention to a Member who says anything worth their hearing." The House Rule Book observes that, since House procedures limiting debate and calling the question are deterrents to lengthy speeches, "the parliamentary method of suppressing a tedious Member has never been imported into practice."  

HOH Word of the Week: Ad Hoc Select Committee

Ad Hoc Select Committee.  A temporary committee selected for a special purpose or to deal with a specific subject. Conference committees are ad hoc joint committees. A House rule adopted in 1975 authorizes the Speaker to refer measures to special ad hoc committees, appointed by him, with the approval of the House. These committees are supposed to consider measures that overlap the jurisdictions of several standing committees.  

Word of the Week: Leadership, The

"Leadership, the . Collective term used by Congress to refer to its officers and ranking committee members. The term has a certain vagueness, however, that was addressed by Rep. Jerry Voorhis (D-Calif.) in his book Confessions of a Congressman :

'The Leadership' is a term constantly used in conversation among House members. It can mean Speaker alone or the Speaker and the majority leader, or those two gentlemen plus their unofficial advisers among the older members. No one ever knows, without asking, just what 'the leadership' does mean.