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Glossary of National Service Advocacy Terms
 
 

Appropriations: In government and law, it is the act of setting aside/apart money for its application to a particular utility. It usually refers to the legislative designation of money for particular uses in the context of a budget or spending bill. An appropriation bill or ‘supply bill' is a legislative motion which authorizes the government to spend money.

Budget Request (See President's Budget Request for full explanation): It's a proposed spending and revenue plan submitted by the President to the Congress at the beginning of the budget cycle, which is on the first Monday in February. It includes detailed plans for every agency of the federal government.

Budget Resolution: The resolution is drafted concurrently by the House and the Senate budget committees. Following the traditional calendar, by early April both committees finalize their drafts and submit it to the respective floors for consideration and adoption. The budget resolution sets ceilings on broad sectors of the federal budget – discretionary spending and various categories of mandatory spending and revenues. The resolution is binding on the current Congress and is not signed by the President.

Once both houses pass the resolution, a conference report is drafted by members of the Senate and the House. The purpose of the conference report is to reconcile any differences that may exist between the House and the Senate versions. Usually, the conference report is adopted finalizing the budget resolution.

In contrast to most legislation passed by Congress, the budget resolution is a concurrent resolution and thus does not become law and does not require the signature of the President. As a result, no money has actually been appropriated at that point. The budget resolution then serves as a blueprint for the actual appropriation process.

Committees and Subcommittees: Issue-specific divisions of Congress charged with crafting legislation for and proposing funding levels for the related issue(s). For the purposes of AmeriCorps and other national service programs, relevant committees include: the House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, the Full House Appropriations Committee, the House Education and Labor Committee, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, the Full Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee.

»House Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Appropriations (Labor HHS): the committee in the U.S. House of Representatives responsible for writing and marking up funding bills. They would be responsible for setting the funding levels for the Corporation for National and Community Service and its programs.
 
»House Full Appropriations Committee: the committee in the U.S. House of Representatives responsible for creating the finalized, comprehensive supply bill (including proposed AmeriCorps funding) that is submitted to the President for approval.
 
»House Education and Labor Committee: the committee in the U.S. House of Representatives responsible for writing laws and authorizing new legislation (or reauthorizing old legislation). They would be and are responsible for the reauthorization of the National Service Act of 1993. The specific and current piece of legislation that reauthorizes this act is referred to as the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act (a.k.a. the GIVE Act or H.R. 2857).
 
»Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Appropriations (Labor HHS): the committee in the U.S. Senate responsible for writing and marking up funding bills. They would be responsible for setting the funding levels for the Corporation for National and Community Service and its programs.
 
»Senate Appropriations Committee: the committee in the U.S. Senate responsible for creating the finalized, comprehensive supply bill (including proposed AmeriCorps funding) that is submitted to the President for approval.
 
»Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee (HELP): the committee in the U.S. Senate responsible for writing laws and authorizing new legislation (or reauthorizing old legislation). They would be and are responsible for the reauthorization of the National Service Act of 1993.

Conference: Process whereby the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives reconcile anybudget gaps that exist between the two bodies. Conference committee is a committee of the Congress appointed by the House of Representatives and Senate to resolve disagreements on a particular bill or version of legislation. The conference committee is usually composed of the senior Members of the standing committees of each House that originally considered the legislation.

Continuing Resolution: It is a type of appropriations legislation used by the U.S. Congress to fund government agencies if a formal appropriations bill has not been signed into law by the end of the Congressional fiscal year. The legislation takes the form of a joint resolution, and provides funding for existing federal programs at current or reduced levels.

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS): The government entity responsible for administering AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn & Serve. The Corporation is the nation's largest grantmaker supporting service and volunteering. Through itsAmeriCorps, Senior Corps,and Learn and Serve America programs, itprovides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to address critical community needs.

Discretionary Spending: It is the part of the budget that is not mandated by existing law but must be made available by Congress each year.

Earmark: In U.S. politics, an earmark refers to a provision in legislation that directs funds to be spent on specific projects. Typically, legislators seek to insert earmarks which direct a specified amount of money to a particular organization or project in his/her home state or district.

Fiscal Year (FY): Refers to the 12-month time periodon whichtheU.S. government bases itsoperating cycle (October 1 through September 30)

Federal Budget Process: The federal government of the United States operates on a budget calendar that runs from October 1 through September 30. Each year, the Congress authorizes each department, agency, or program to spend a specific amount of money, and the President signs the bill into law. This money may not be spent, however, until it has been appropriated for a given purpose.

Indexing: It's a practice that ties afinancially relateditem (i.e. mileage reimbursement) to a standard market indicator such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Indexing helps to eliminate decreased valuation due to inflation.

H.R.: A standard indicator denoting proposed legislation originating out of the U.S. House of Representatives (i.e. H.R. 2851)

Mark-up: The process of marking up, making changes and/or amendments, bills and resolutions in committees of the House of Representatives.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB): It's the government entity responsible foranalyzing andcreating the U.S. government's annual budget

President's Budget Request: Refers to the official annualrequest submitted by the President for the following year's budget. The budget begins in February with the submission of the President's budget. According to the act, the budget is submitted to the Congress on the first Monday in February. At this stage, the budget is not binding but merely constitutes an extensive proposal of the administration's intended spending for the following fiscal year. The budget proposal includes volumes of supporting information intended to persuade Congress of the necessity and value of the budget provisions. Funding requests for all federal independent agencies and cabinet departments are included in the President's budget request, and each agency and department provides additional detail and supporting documentation to Congress on its own funding requests.

Reauthorization: It's is the process of modifying the original parameters and guidelines that govern a piece of legislation. As it relates to national service, it is common refer to reauthorization as it relates to the National Service Act of 1993.

Reconciliation: It is the process for enacting changes in law to bring mandatory spending and revenue levels into compliance with the budget resolution. A reconciliation bill, unlike appropriations bills, does not have to be enacted every year. Congress can decline to make, or fail to agree on, changes in these budget categories.

S.: A standard indicator denoting proposed legislation originating out of the U.S. Senate (i.e. S.960)

Scoring: The dollar amount associated with the cost of a bill

Staffer: A commonly used term to identify staff members of Congressional offices
 
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