act of Congress

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the literal sense of act (legislation) enacted by US Congress

Noun[edit]

act of Congress (plural acts of Congress)

  1. (idiomatic, US, chiefly colloquial) Authorization that is extremely difficult to get, especially in a timely fashion.
    Does it take an act of Congress just to get a stop sign on a corner?
    • 2000, Nevada Barr, Liberty Falling‎, page 79:
      Should Frederick stick around — and apparently it would take an act of Congress to get him out of the ICU — he might take up where Molly had brutally left off.
    • 2003, E. Lynn Harris, A Love of My Own‎, page 54:
      Since it seemed like getting a glass of wine was going to require an act of Congress, I quickly agreed.
    • 2008, Bill White; Robert Gandt, Intrepid: The Epic Story of America's Most Legendary Warship‎, page 273:
      Another problem was bureaucratic: the transfer of the ship required, literally, an act of Congress. It was an agonizing process that ground along for twenty-six months, through the tenures of three secretaries of the navy, two presidents, and two mayors of New York.

See also[edit]