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Senate Glossary Terms S - Y

scorekeeping - Procedures for tracking and reporting on the status of congressional budgetary actions, including up-to-date tabulations and reports on congressional actions affecting budget authority, receipts, outlays, the surplus or deficit, and the public debt limit.

secretaries, party - The Secretary for the Majority and the Secretary for the Minority are elected to serve as scheduling and information coordinators between the party floor leaders and individual Senators within the party. The party secretaries may also assist their party conference with its work.

select or special committee - A committee established by the Senate for a limited time period to perform a particular study or investigation. These committees might be given or denied authority to report legislation to the Senate.

senator - The Constitution requires that a Senator be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least nine years, and an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected. A person elected or appointed to the Senate and duly sworn is a Senator.

sergeant at arms - The chief security officer of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms and staff in the office help to preserve order in the Senate chamber, the Senate galleries, and the Senate side of the Capitol. The Sergeant at Arms is elected by the Senate upon the nomination of the majority party conference.

simple resolution - Designated "S. Res.," simple resolutions are used to express nonbinding positions of the Senate or to deal with the Senate's internal affairs, such as the creation of a special committee. They do not require action by the House of Representatives.

slip law - A few days after a law has been enacted, it is officially published first as a "slip law." Slip laws are unbound and printed on one or a few pages of paper.

statutes at large - A chronological listing of the laws enacted each Congress. They are published in volumes numbered by Congress.

subcommittee - Subunit of a committee established for the purpose of dividing the committee's workload. Recommendations of a subcommittee must be approved by the full committee before being reported to the Senate.

supplemental, minority, and additional views - Senate Rule XXVI requires that, when a committee (other than the Appropriations Committee) reports a measure, committee members may have three days to file statements providing their views on the measure which will be included in the committee's written report.

trust funds - Funds collected and used by the Federal Government for carrying out specific purposes and programs according to terms of a trust agreement or statute, such as the Social Security trust funds.

unanimous consent - A Senator may request unanimous consent on the floor to set aside a specified rule of procedure so as to expedite proceedings. If no Senator objects, the Senate permits the action, but if any one Senator objects, the request is rejected. Unanimous consent requests with only immediate effects are routinely granted, but ones affecting the floor schedule, the conditions of considering a bill or other business, or the rights of other Senators, are normally not offered, or a floor leader will object to it, until all Senators concerned have had an opportunity to inform the leaders that they find it acceptable.

user fees - Fees charged to users of goods or services provided by the Federal Government. In levying or authorizing these fees, Congress determines whether the revenue should go into the Treasury or should be available to the agency providing the goods or services.

vice president - Under the Constitution, the Vice President serves as President of the Senate. He may vote in the Senate in the case of a tie, but is not required to. The President Pro Tempore (and others designated by him) usually perform these duties during the Vice President's frequent absences from the Senate.

vote - Unless rules specify otherwise, the Senate may agree to any question by a majority of Senators voting, if a quorum is present. The Chair puts each question by voice vote unless the "yeas and nays" are requested, in which case a roll call vote occurs.

yeas and nays - A Senator who wants a roll call vote on a pending question asks for the "yeas and nays" on the question. The request will be granted if seconded by one-fifth of a quorum, but this action does not bring debate to an end; it only means that whenever debate does end, a roll call vote will occur.

yield time - When the Senate has reached a unanimous consent agreement limiting the time for debate and placing it under the control of floor managers, a Senator may be recognized to speak only if a manager yields the Senator a specified amount of time to speak. The Chair then recognizes the Senator receiving the time, not the manager who yields the time, to hold the floor.

yield - When a Senator who has been recognized to speak "yields" to another, he or she permits the other to speak while the first Senator retains the floor. Technically, a Senator may yield to another only for a question.

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