Chat #1: Federal Civics Overview and Discussion Recap

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Chat #1: Federal Civics Overview and Discussion Recap

Watch the replay! 

As you may know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Association's entry into the federal advocacy world. To celebrate all that we’ve accomplished, we kicked off our RelentlessTogether National Advocacy Chat Series on August 10th aimed to empower You're the Cure advocates to continue to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives for another 40 years to come!


This first session focused on federal advocacy and offered a refresher on some key terms and acronyms frequently used in D.C. as well some real talk about how a bill actually becomes a law. We rounded out the training with a discussion with the Director of Grassroots Advocacy, Amy Shope-Manzi, about how advocates can impact the lawmaking progress and develop lasting and impactful relationships with lawmakers.

Below you will find a copy of what we’re calling the D.C. Dictionary! These are some of the key terms and acronyms we covered today that YTC advocates should know as they engage in critically important federal advocacy. You’ve probably heard of many of these terms before since we certainly use them a lot, but we hope this D.C. Dictionary will help guide you as you continue to be outstanding You're the Cure advocates. View our full slide deck.

D.C. Dictionary:

  • Congress: Refers members to the US House of Representatives and Senate
  • MOC’s: Means member of Congress. Can be a US Representative or Senator
  • Committee: A working subdivision of the House or Senate that prepares legislation or conducts investigations; committees and their subcommittees have specific areas of concern
  • Hearing: A committee session in which witnesses are called to testify about a particular issue. Hearings are usually conducted at the subcommittee level first in order to determine whether the issue or bill in question should be taken up in the full committee
  • Markup: is the process by which a U.S. Congressional Committee debates, amends and either advances or halts a piece of proposed legislation
  • CR: Continuing Resolution, or Legislation that gives budget authority for specific ongoing activities used when Congress hasn’t yet passed all regular appropriations bills prior to the start of the fiscal year
  • Lobbying: The act of lawfully attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of government officials, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies
  • Lame Duck: Member of Congress (or the President) who has not been reelected but whose term has not yet expired. The expression can also describe a session of Congress during which the appropriations bills for that year are not passed before the next session of Congress begins.
  • Conference: Meeting between Representatives and Senators to resolve differences when two versions of a similar bill have been passed by the House and Senate.
  • Recess: Period of time around holidays and frequently in August when Congress leaves D.C. to return to their home states/districts. While there are no votes MOC’s are still working on legislation and frequently meeting with constituents.
  • Filibuster: Tactic used in the Senate whereby a member of the minority party intentionally delays a vote
  • Reconciliation: The procedure overrides the filibuster rules in the Senate which otherwise require a 60-vote supermajority for passage. Reconciliation bills can pass the Senate by a simple majority including the Vice President as the tie-breaker.

As a reminder, this is just the first in our series of 30-minute chats. We plan to have more special guests in the coming weeks to give you the latest information from Capitol Hill and highlight how important the role you play as advocates truly is. Please join us next week. We look forward to seeing you then! 

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