Glossary

Warning: Major Construction Zone

Cloture — Cloture is a means of ending debate and moving on to a vote in the Senate. A two-thirds majority of members (normally 60) must agree to limit further debate and consider the measure, which might be a bill, amendment or nomination. The typical procedure is a motion to invoke cloture.

Continuing Resolution — A type of appropriations legislation that can be used to fund the federal government if a regular appropriations bill has not been passed by both Houses of Congress.

Hastert Rule —  An unofficial rule of House Republican speakers, named after former Speaker Denny Hastert. The rule says a measure is not brought to the floor for a vote unless it has the support of a “majority of the majority” or the 218 GOP votes needed for a passage by simple majority.

Quorum —  The minimum number of members who are present at a committee hearing or on the House or Senate Vote for business to be transacted. In most cases, a quorum is more than half of the membership. A quorum is necessary to prevent actions by a small minority in the absence of the larger membership.

Quorum Call — Most often in the context of a Senate ” quorum call” as a means of taking a prolonged time out from floor proceedings without a calling recess. Otherwise, a quorum call is used to ensure that enough members are present to take an official action. A quorum usually requires a simple majority of members.

Sequestration — A series of annual cuts to the federal budget that are required under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The goal is to cut federal spending by $1.1 trillion between 2013 and 2021. The first cuts, about $42 billion in actual spending, took effect March 1, 2013. The dollar amount cut is roughly equal for defense and non-defense spending. Some programs, such as Social Security, are exempt from sequestration cuts.

Tax inversion — When a corporation shifts its legal headquarters from the United States to a country with a lower corporate tax rate. This is a growing trend among American corporations because their tax burden is reduced to only the profits that were earned in the United States. Typically, they keep their employees and assets in the United States. The Congressional Research Service says that 47 American companies have merged with or acquired foreign businesses using inversion within the last decade.

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