- (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.