Chapter 12

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Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives

president of the senate

Joe Biden, the presiding officer of a senate; in Congress, the vice president of the United States; in a state's legislature, either the lieutenant governor or a senator

president pro tempore

Officer of the Senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president

party caucus

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

floor leader

the legislator who organizes his party's strategy

whip

a legislator appointed by the party to enforce discipline

committee chairman

Member who heads a standing committee in a legislative body

seniority rule

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.

standing committee

a permanent committee

select committee

a parliamentary committee appointed for some special purpose

joint committee

A committee of the House and the Senate that usually acts as a study group and reports its findings back to the House and the Senate

conference committee

committee appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different form.

bill

a proposed law

joint resolution

a resolution passed by both houses of Congress which becomes legally binding when signed by the chief executive (or passed over the executive's veto)

concurrent resolution

passed by both houses of Congress and is not signed by the president and is not a law

resolution

finding a solution to a problem

rider

a clause that is appended to a legislative bill

discharge petition

Petition that, if signed by majority of the House of Representatives' members, will pry a bill from committee and bring it to the floor for consideration.

subcommittee

a subset of committee members organized for a specific purpose

committee of the whole

a device in which a legislative body is considered one large committee. All members of the legislative body are members of such a committee

quorum

a gathering of the minimal number of members of an organization to conduct business

engrossed

wholly absorbed as in thought

filibuster

a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches

cloture

a rule for limiting or ending debate in a deliberative body

veto

the power or right to prohibit or reject a proposed or intended act (especially the power of a chief executive to reject a bill passed by the legislature)

pocket veto

indirect veto of legislation by refusing to sign it

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