Sierra Club: The Planet--July/August 1996
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Table of Contents

The Planet
Terms of Engagement

A War on the Environment Glossary

Rescissions
are cuts in previously authorized federal spending for the current fiscal year.
The budget resolution
sets overall spending and revenue levels for fiscal year 1996 within broad program categories (Interior Dept., Agriculture Dept., etc.).
The budget reconciliation process
guides the passage of legislation by various authorizing committees by adjusting current federal tax and spending programs to match the spending and revenue levels set in the budget resolution. This is the bill that sets out the Republican leadership's long-term plan for balancing the budget by 2002. It includes spending cuts, tax cuts and revenue-generating programs. It also includes numerous anti-environmental provisions.
Appropriations bills
provide funding for one year and are usually enacted by Oct. 1, the first day of the fiscal year. As line-by-line spending items, they are drafted by the appropriations committees in the form of 13 separate bills and are the funding source for all government agencies and departments. They must be initiated in the House before being considered by the Senate.
Cloture
describes the congressional procedure by which debate is ended and an immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion.
Markup
describes the committee legislative process of adding amendments to a bill before it is presented for a floor vote.
Unfunded mandates
relieve states of the responsibility to protect their citizens from health, environmental and other threats unless the federal government foots the bill.
Risk assessment
is the idea that government may not set health and safety standards until an analysis is performed to quantify the risk of inaction. The Contract With America's version of Russian roulette.
Takings
describes the idea that government may not take any action having a potential impact on the profits to be had from commercial use of property without paying compensation. One of the cornerstones of the Polluter's Bill of Rights.
Riders
are provisions attached to a spending bill whose aims are unrelated to the host bill.

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