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act of Congress




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


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.

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