- (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?
- Liberty Falling, page 79, Nevada Barr, 2000, “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.”
- A Love of My Own, page 54, E. Lynn Harris, 2003, “Since it seemed like getting a glass of wine was going to require an act of Congress, I quickly agreed.”
- Intrepid: The Epic Story of America's Most Legendary Warship, page 273, Bill White, Robert Gandt, 2008, “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.”