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Annual Authorizations

Monies that are budgeted on a yearly basis; for example Congress may set yearly limits on what agencies can spend.


A legislative grant of money to finance a government program or agency

Authorization Legislation

Legislative permission to begin or continue a government program or agency.


A system of managing government through departments run by appointed officials.

Bureaucratic Imperialism

Refers to the tendency of agencies to grow without regard to the benefits their programs confer or the costs they entail.


Ruled the legislative veto unconstitutional.

Civil Service Reform Act

Act that extended collective bargaining rights to federal employees.

Committee Clearance

The ability of congressional committee to review and approve certain agency decisions in advance without passing a law.

Competitive Service

The government offices to which people are appointed on the basis of merit, as ascertained by a written exam or by applying certain selection criteria.

Department of Homeland Security

Federal agency created in 2002 to coordinate national efforts against terrorism.

Discretionary Authority

The extent to which an appointed bureaucracy can choose courses of action and make policies that are not spelled out in advance by laws.

Excepted Service

Provision for appointing federal offices without going through the competitive service.

Iron Triangle

An informal association of federal agency, congressional committee, and interest group that is said to have heavy influence over policy making.

Issue Networks

A loose grouping of people and organizations who seek to influence policy formation.


The doctrine that government should not interfere in commercial affairs.

Legislative Veto

The authority of Congress to block a presidential action after it has taken place. The Supreme Court has held that Congress does not have this power.

Name-request Job

A Job that is filled by a person whom an agency has already identified.

National Performance Review

A 1993 effort, led by Vice President Al Gore, to make the bureaucracy work better and cost less.


Granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support.

Pendleton Act

Law that created a Civil Service Commission, 1883, and stated that federal employees could not be required to contribute to campaign funds nor be fired for political reasons.

Red Tape

The complex procedures and regulations surrounding bureaucratic activity.

Schedule C

Government jobs having a confidential or policy-making character.

Senior Executive Service

Established by Congress in 1978 as a flexible, mobile corps of senior career executives who worked closely with presidential appointees to manage government.

Trust Funds

Funds for government programs that are collected and spent outside the regular government budget.

Whistle Blower Protection Act

the law that created the Office of Special Counsel, charged with investigating complaints from bureaucrats that that they were punished after reporting to Congress about waste, fraud, or abuse in their agencies.

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