Chapter 1 Definitions
Chapter 3 Department of the Treasury
Chapter 5 Office of Management and Budget
Chapter 7 Government Accountability Office
Chapter 9 Agency Chief Financial Officers

Terms Used In U.S. Code > Title 31 > Subtitle I

  • Adjournment sine die: The end of a legislative session "without day." These adjournments are used to indicate the final adjournment of an annual or the two-year session of legislature.
  • Advice and consent: Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Agreement: means the interim agreement for the conservation of salmon stocks originating from the Yukon River in Canada agreed to through an exchange of notes between the Government of the United States and the Government of Canada on February 3, 1995. See 16 USC 5702
  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • aquatic nuisance species: means a nonindigenous species that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or recreational activities dependent on such waters. See 16 USC 4702
  • Asset forfeiture: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • Assistant Secretary: means the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). See 16 USC 4702
  • association: when used in reference to a corporation, shall be deemed to embrace the words "successors and assigns of such company or association" in like manner as if these last-named words, or words of similar import, were expressed. See 1 USC 5
  • ballast water: means any water and associated sediments used to manipulate the trim and stability of a vessel. See 16 USC 4702
  • Baseline: Projection of the receipts, outlays, and other budget amounts that would ensue in the future without any change in existing policy. Baseline projections are used to gauge the extent to which proposed legislation, if enacted into law, would alter current spending and revenue levels.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Bequest: Property gifted by will.
  • Budget authority: Authority provided by law to enter into obligations that will result in outlays of Federal funds. Budget authority may be classified by the period of availability (one-year, multiyear, no-year), by the timing of congressional action (current or permanent), or by the manner of determining the amount available (definite or indefinite).
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Conference report: The compromise product negotiated by the conference committee. The "conference report" is submitted to each chamber for its consideration, such as approval or disapproval.
  • Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • county: includes a parish, or any other equivalent subdivision of a State or Territory of the United States. See 1 USC 2
  • Credit Score: A number, roughly between 300 and 800, that measures an individual's credit worthiness. The most well-known type of credit score is the FICO score. This score represents the answer from a mathematical formula that assigns numerical values to various pieces of information in your credit report. Source: OCC
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Director: means the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. See
  • Director: means the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. See 16 USC 4702
  • discharged: means released from an appointment as a Reserve officer. See 14 USC 3731
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Donor: The person who makes a gift.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Ex officio: Literally, by virtue of one's office.
  • exclusive economic zone: means the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States established by Proclamation Number 5030, dated March 10, 1983, and the equivalent zone of Canada. See 16 USC 4702
  • Executor: A male person named in a will to carry out the decedent
  • Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
  • Federal Reserve System: The central bank of the United States. The Fed, as it is commonly called, regulates the U.S. monetary and financial system. The Federal Reserve System is composed of a central governmental agency in Washington, D.C. (the Board of Governors) and twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks in major cities throughout the United States. Source: OCC
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • Grantor: The person who establishes a trust and places property into it.
  • Great Lakes: means Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron (including Lake St. See 16 USC 4702
  • Great Lakes region: means the 8 States that border on the Great Lakes. See 16 USC 4702
  • Impeachment: (1) The process of calling something into question, as in "impeaching the testimony of a witness." (2) The constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may "impeach" (accuse of misconduct) high officers of the federal government for trial in the Senate.
  • Indian tribe: means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional corporation (as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U. See 16 USC 4702
  • Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
  • individual: shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. See 1 USC 8
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • interstate organization: means an entity--

    (A) established by--

    (i) an interstate compact that is approved by Congress. See 16 USC 4702

  • Joint committee: Committees including membership from both houses of teh legislature. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdictions and normally lack authority to report legislation.
  • Joint resolution: A legislative measure which requires the approval of both chambers.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Layover: Informal term for a period of delay required by rule. For example, when a bill or other measure is reported from committee, it may be considered on the floor only after it "lies over" for one legislative day and after the written report has been available for two calendar days. Layover periods may be waived by unanimous consent.
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
  • Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • marriage: means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. See 1 USC 7
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • National Credit Union Administration: The federal regulatory agency that charters and supervises federal credit unions. (NCUA also administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which insures the deposits of federal credit unions.) Source: OCC
  • nonindigenous species: means any species or other viable biological material that enters an ecosystem beyond its historic range, including any such organism transferred from one country into another. See 16 USC 4702
  • oath: includes affirmation, and "sworn" includes affirmed. See 1 USC 1
  • Oath: A promise to tell the truth.
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See 1 USC 1
  • Outlays: Outlays are payments made (generally through the issuance of checks or disbursement of cash) to liquidate obligations. Outlays during a fiscal year may be for payment of obligations incurred in prior years or in the same year.
  • Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
  • Panel: means the Yukon River Panel established by the Agreement. See 16 USC 5702
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
  • Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
  • President pro tempore: A constitutionally recognized officer of the Senate who presides over the chamber in the absence of the Vice President. The President Pro Tempore (or, "president for a time") is elected by the Senate and is, by custom, the Senator of the majority party with the longest record of continuous service.
  • Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
  • Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
  • Public debt: Cumulative amounts borrowed by the Treasury Department or the Federal Financing Bank from the public or from another fund or account. The public debt does not include agency debt (amounts borrowed by other agencies of the Federal Government). The total public debt is subject to a statutory limit.
  • Public law: A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
  • Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Rescission: The cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both Houses have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation.
  • Reserve officer: means a commissioned officer in the Reserve, except an officer excluded by section 3732 of this title or a commissioned warrant officer. See 14 USC 3731
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating. See 16 USC 4702
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating. See
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of Agriculture. See 16 USC 4503d
  • Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
  • Task Force: means the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force established under section 4721 of this title. See 16 USC 4702
  • Temporary restraining order: Prohibits a person from an action that is likely to cause irreparable harm. This differs from an injunction in that it may be granted immediately, without notice to the opposing party, and without a hearing. It is intended to last only until a hearing can be held.
  • territorial sea: means the belt of the sea measured from the baseline of the United States determined in accordance with international law, as set forth in Presidential Proclamation Number 5928, dated December 27, 1988. See 16 USC 4702
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
  • Under Secretary: means the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. See 16 USC 4702
  • unintentional introduction: means an introduction of nonindigenous species that occurs as the result of activities other than the purposeful or intentional introduction of the species involved, such as the transport of nonindigenous species in ballast or in water used to transport fish, mollusks or crustaceans for aquaculture or other purposes. See 16 USC 4702
  • vehicle: includes every description of carriage or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on land. See 1 USC 4
  • vessel: includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. See 1 USC 3
  • waters of the United States: means the navigable waters and the territorial sea of the United States. See 16 USC 4702
  • whoever: include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals. See 1 USC 1
  • writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See 1 USC 1
  • Yukon River Joint Technical Committee: means the technical committee established by paragraph C. See 16 USC 5702