The following is a listing of terms commonly used in connection with the legislative process:

The term for legislation that has been passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Also used in the titles of legislation. 

The proposal of a Member of Congress to alter the wording of a bill being considered by a subcommittee, committee, or on the House or Senate floor. Amendments can also be offered to add or delete entire sections of a bill.

Legislation that directs the spending of funds from the federal treasury for a specific purpose, e.g., funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. By custom, an appropriations bill originates in the House, where it is assigned an H.R. number (e.g., H.R. 5027) until it becomes law or is vetoed by the President. Typically, each appropriations bill includes funding for several hundred federal programs.

A law creating a new federal program or extending the life of an existing program. An authorization establishes the framework for operating a federal program, and usually sets the maximum amount of funds that can be given to a program for a period of three to five years.

A proposed law introduced by a Member(s) of Congress (aka a “measure”).

The document the President sends to the Congress each year outlining federal expenditures and revenues for the upcoming fiscal year. The President's budget is usually submitted to the Congress in late January or early February.

Legislation passed by Congress each year which sets overall limits on spending and revenues. Congressional committees use the budget resolution as a guide for allocating funds to specific federal programs. The budget resolution does not require the President's approval. 

A meeting between House and Senate members to reconcile differences between bills passed by their respective chambers of Congress. Once a compromise has been ironed out, a conference report is issued to accompany the legislation that is then voted on by the full House and Senate. The measure is then sent to the President for approval.

An emergency appropriations bill that provides funding for federal agencies whose regular appropriations bills have not been passed before the end of the federal government’s fiscal year (September 30).

A federal program that guarantees a certain level of benefits to persons who meet requirements set by law, such as Social Security and unemployment benefits. Congress and the President generally have very little discretion over spending by these programs.

For the federal government, the fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.

Committee meetings where testimony is taken from witnesses representing government agencies, the private sector, organizations, and the general public. Most congressional hearings are accessible to the public. Hearings may be held in Washington, DC, or in local communities.

A subcommittee or committee meeting for the purpose of writing legislation. Once completed, the measure is ready for debate on the floor of the House or Senate.

A bill after it has been passed by the House and Senate and subsequently approved by the President, e.g., P.L. 103-432.

Legislation that contains changes (usually spending cuts) to existing laws so as to conform – or reconcile – with policies adopted in the budget resolution.

The act of canceling appropriations already enacted into law.

The President's formal disapproval of legislation passed by Congress. When Congress is in session, the President must veto a bill within 10 days after receiving it from Congress; otherwise, it becomes law without his or her approval. A bill can become law after a presidential veto if two-thirds of the Congress votes to override the veto.  A “pocket veto” occurs when the President receives a bill but is unable to reject and return the bill because Congress has adjourned within the 10-day period. Pocket vetoes may not be overridden.