the idea that an elected body should mirror demographically the population it represents
the ability of a legislator to represent the agenda or interests of a group to which he or she does not personally belong.
those already holding office. In congressional elections, incumbents usually win.
How does a bill become law (process)?
First, the bill is introduced to the House. From there, is it reviewed and revised by a subcommittee, then a full committee, then finally the Rules Committee. The bill passes to Full House. This process is done in parallel by the Senate, save for the rules committee; Senate leaders schedule debates instead. If the bills are revised differently by the House and Senate, it falls into the Conference Committee to work out a compromise. It passes to both the Full House and Senate again for a vote before the President makes it law or vetoes it.
the process of reassigning representation based on population, after every census
The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census, to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population.
the drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumbent
benefit allowing members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free
funds that an appropriations bill designates for a particular purpose within a state or congressional district
supporting a legislator's bill in exchange for support of one's own bill
a president's strategy of appealing to the public on an issue, expecting that public pressure will be brought to bear on other political actors
Special Interest Caucus
Group of people who unite to promote a particular policy or interest
A legislative practice that assigns the chair of a committee or subcommittee to the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service on the committee.
a meeting of the members of a party in a legislative chamber to select party leaders and to develop party policy. Called a conference by the republicans
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
Casework (constituency service)
activities of members of Congress that help constituents as individuals, particularly by cutting through bureaucratic red tape to get people what they think they have a right to get.
the mighty list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions available in a congressional district
Idea that legislators should only be allowed a maximum number of years in office in order to encourage more involvement in government.
a lawmaking body made up of two chambers or parts
House Rules Committee
An institution unique to the House of Representatives that reviews all bills (except revenue, budget, and appropriations bills) coming from a House committee before they go to the full House.
a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches
a procedure used in the senate to limit debate on a bill
Speaker of the House
the leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives
The principal partisan ally of the Speaker of the House or the party's manager in the Senate. The majority leader is responsible for scheduling bills, influencing committee assignments, and rounding up votes in behalf of the party's legislative positions.
an assistant to the party floor leader in the legislature
the legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the House or the Senate
permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area
Congressional committees on a few subject-matter areas with membership drawn from both houses.
a joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the senate and house versions of the same bill
Congressional committees appointed for a limited time and purpose.
the power of Congress to oversee how laws are carried out
Ad Hoc Committee
a congressional committee appointed for a limited time to design and report a specific piece of legislation
makes house members unable to offer amendments to a bill from the floor
an order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor
The minimum number of members who must be present to permit a legislative body to take official action
Unpopular provision added to an important bill certain to pass so that it will "ride" through the legislative process
A procedure to keep the Senate going during a filibuster in which the disputed bill is shelved temporarily so that the Senate can get on with other business.
Unanimous Consent Agreement
an agreement that sets forth the terms and conditions according to which the Senate will consider a bill; these agreements are individually negotiated by the leadership for each bill
when a president kills a bill passed during the last 10 days Congress is in session by simply refusing to act on it
A procedural practice in the Senate whereby a senator temporarily blocks the consideration of a bill or nomination
An official who is expected to vote independently based on his or her judgment of the circumstances; one interpretation of the role of the legislator.
a person appointed or elected to represent others
President Pro Tempore
Officer of the Senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president
The most important influencers of the congressional agenda. They play dominant roles in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing subcommittees, and managing committee bills when they are brought before the full house.
a system that gives the member of the majority party with the longest uninterrupted service on a particular committee the leadership of that committee
a private meeting of party leaders to choose candidates for office
Congressional Research Service (CRS)
a division of the Library of Congress dedicated to providing non-partisan research to the House and Senate
General Accounting Office (GAO)
performs routine financial audits of money spent by the executive departments and investigates agencies
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
An agency of Congress that analyzes presidential budget recommendations and estimates the cost of proposed legislation.
a proposed law
Large bills that often cover several topics and may contain extraneous, or pork-barrel, projects.
term for the president as architect of public policy and the one who sets the agenda for congress
Attempt to combine the basic elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles
a summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them
An excess of federal expenditures over federal revenues.
Federal spending of revenues. Major areas of such spending are social services and the military.
The financial resources of the federal government. The individual income tax and Social Security tax are two major sources of revenue.
the money paid for the use of someone else's money
a tax on people's earnings
The constitutional amendment adopted in 1913 that explicitly permitted Congress to levy an income tax.
Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co.
Federal income tax declared unconstitutional; overturned by 16th Amendment
Internal Revenue Service
the bureau of the Treasury Department responsible for tax collections
a tax for which the percentage of income paid in taxes increases as income increases
a tax in which people pay an identical rate regardless of income
all the money borrowed by the federal government over the years and still outstanding
a budget that highlights a firm's spending plans for major asset purchases that often require large sums of money
an exception or oversight in the tax law that allows some people and businesses to avoid paying taxes
How is a budget passed?
Every year, the budget is formulated by the president and the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB works with the president and agencies to calculate current and future budgets. The budget it sent to the House and Senate Committees that deals with the budget. Various committees select the final revision of the budget and authorized to take into effect.
Revenue losses that result from special exemptions, exclusions, or deductions on federal tax law.
Tax Reform Act of 1986
simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences
Gross Domestic Product
the dollar amount of all final goods and services produced within a country's borders in a year.
Military Industrial Complex
The close association of the federal government, the military, and defense industries
Social Security Act
A 1935 law passed during the Great Depression that was intended to provide a minimal level of sustenance to older Americans and thus save them from poverty.
a federal program of health insurance for persons 65 years of age and older
the belief that the best predictor of this year's budget is last year's budget, plus a little bit more (an increment)
Expenditures that are determined not by a fixed amount of money appropriated by Congress but by how many eligible beneficiaries there are for a program or by previous obligations of the government.
A claim for government funds that cannot be abridged without violating the rights of the claimant; for example, social security benefits or payments on a contract.
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974
An act designed to reform the congressional budgetary process. Its supporters hoped that it would also make Congress less dependent on the president's budget and better able to set and meet its own budgetary goals.
Congressional Budget Office
staff agency that advises Congress on the likely economic effects of different spending programs and provides information on the costs of the proposed policies.
A resolution binding Congress to a total expenditure level, supposedly the bottom line of all federal spending for all programs.
A congressional process through which program authorizations are revised to achieve required savings.
An act of Congress that establishes, continues, or changes a discretionary government program or an entitlement. It specifies program goals and maximum expenditures for discretionary programs.
a bill that authorizes a specific amount of spending by the government
When Congress cannot reach agreement and pass appropriations bills, these resolutions allow agencies to spend at the level of the previous year.