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assistance program

a government program financed by general income taxes that provides benefits to poor citizens without requiring contributions from them

background story

a public official's explanation of current policy provided to the press on the condition that the source remain anonymous

closed rule

an order from the House Rules Committee that sets a limit on debate and forbids a particular bill from being amended on the legislative floor

cloture rule

a rule used by the Senate to end or limit debate; designed to stop a filibuster; 3/5 vote needed (60 Senators)

command-and-control strategy

a strategyto improve air and water quality, involving the setting of detailed polution standards and rules

committee clearance

the ability of a congressional committee to review and approve certain agency decisions in advance and without passing a law; such approval is not legally binding on the agency, but few agency heads will ignor the expressed wishes of committees

compensatory action

an action designed to help members of disadvantaged groups, especially minorities and women, catch up, usually by giving them extra education, training, or services

competetive service

the government offices to which people are appointed on the grounds of merit as ascertained by a written examination or by having met certain selection criteria (such as training, educational attainments, or prior experience)

concurrent resolution

an expression of congressional opinion without the force of law that requires the approval of both the House and Senate but not of the president; used to settle housekeeping and procedural matters that affect both houses

congressional campaign committee

a party committee in Congress that provides funds to members who are running for reelection or to would-be members who are running for an open seat or challenging a candidate from the opposition party

conservative coalition

an alliance between Republicans and conservative democrats

containment

(aka antiappeasement) the view that the United States should contain agressive nations (such as the former Soviet Union)

cost overruns

actual costs that are several times greater than estimated costs; these occur frequently among private contractors producing new weapons for the Pentagon

delegate model

the view that an elected representative should represent the opinions ofhis or her constituents

descriptive representation

a correspondence between the demographic characteristics of representatives and those of their constituents

Dillon's rule

a legal principle that holds that the terms of city are to be interpretted narrowly

diversity cases

cases involving citizens of different states

division vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members stand and are counted

Earned Income Credit

a provision of a 1975 tax law that entitles working families with children to receive money from the government if their total income falls below a certain level

equal time rule

a rule of the FCC stating that if a broadcaster sells time to one candidate for office, he must also be willing to sell the same amount of time to opposing candidates

fiscal policy

an attempt to use taxes and expenditures to affect the economy

gold plating

the tendency of Pentagon officials to ask weapons contractors to meet excessively high requirements

income strategy

a policy of giving poor people money to help lift them out of poverty

in forma pauperis

a procedure whereby a poor person can file and be heard in court as a pauper, free of charge

insurance program

a self-financing government program based on contributions that provide benefits to unemployed or retired persons

joint resolution

a formal expression of congressional opinion that must be approved by both houses of Congress and by the president; when it is proposing a constitutional amendment, this needs not be signed by the president

Keynesianism

an economic philosophy that assumes that the market will not automatically operate at a full-employment, low-inflation level; suggests that the government should intervene to create the right level of demand by pumping more money into the economy (when demand is low) and taking it out (when demand is too great)

Lame duck

a politician who is still in office after having lost a reelection bid

means test

an income qualification that determines whether one is eligible for benefits under government programs reserved for lower-income groups

monetarism

an economic philosophy that assumes inflation occurs when there is too much money chasing too few goods; suggests that the government have a steady, predictable increase in the money supply at a rate about equal to the growth in the economy's productivity

office-bloc ballot

(aka Massachusetts ballot) a ballot listing all candidates for a given office under the name of that office

per curiam opinion

a brief, unsigned opinion issued by the Supreme Court to explain its ruling

plurality system

an electoral system, used in almost all American elections, in which the the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he or she does not have a majority

police power

the power of a state to promote health, safety, and morals

political action committee

a committee set up by and representing a corporation, labor union, or special-interest group that raises and spends campaign contributions on behalf of one or more candidates or causes

political editorializing rule

an FCC rule that if a broadcaster endorses a candidate, the opposing candidate has a right to reply

political efficacy

a citizen's belief that he or she can understand and influence political affairs

internal efficacy

confidence in a citizen's own ability to understand and take part in political affairs

external efficacy

a belief that the system will respond to a citizen's demands

political question

an issue that the supreme court refuses to rule upon because it believes the Constitution has left it entirely to another branch to decide

pollution allowances

a reduction in pollution below that required by law that can be used to cover a future plant expansion or sold to another company whose pollution emissions are above the legal requirements

process regulation

rules regulating manufacturing or industrial processes, usually aimed at improving customer or worker safety and reducing environmental damage

remedy

a judicial order preventing or redressing a wrong or enforcing a right

right-of-reply rule

an FCC rule that if a person is attacked on a broadcast other than in a regular news program, that person has the right to reply over that same station

sequential referral

a congressional process by which a speaker may send a bill to a second committee after the first is finished acting, or may refer parts of the bill to to separate committees

sequester

automatic, across-the-board cuts in certain federal programs that are triggered by law when Congress and the president cannot agree on a spending plan

service strategy

a policy of providing poor people with education and job training to help lift them out of poverty

simple resolution

an expression of opinion either in the House or the Senate to settle housekeeping or procedural matters in either body; not signed by the president and do not have the force of law

soft money

funds solicited from individuals, corporations, and unions that are spent on party activities, such as voter-registration campaigns and voting drives, rather than on behalf of a specific candidate

sophomore surge

an increase in the votes that congressional candidates usually get the first time they run for reelection

sponsored party

a local or state party that is largely staffed and funded by another organization with established networks in the community; for example, the Democratic party in and around Detroit is has been developed, led, and to a degree financed by the political-action arm of the United Auto Workers

stare decisis

the practice of basing judicial decisions on precedents established in similar cases in the past

substantive representation

the correspondence between representatives' opinions and those of their constituents

superdelegates

party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without being elected in the primaries; party rules determine the percentage of delegate seats reserved for party delegates

supply-side theory

an economic philosophy that holds that sharply cutting taxes will increase the incentive people have to work, save, and invest; greater investments will lead to more jobs, a more produictive economy, and more tax revenues for the government

suspect classifications

classifications of people based on their race and ethnicity; the courts have ruled classifying people on these grounds will be subject to "strict scrutiny"

trustee approach

the view that an elected representative should act on his or her own best judgement of what public policy requires

trust funds

funds for government programs that are collected and spent outside the regular government budget; the amounts are determined by preexisting law rather than by annual appropriations; example: Social Security

veto message

one of two ways for a president to veto a bill passed by Congress; must be sent to Congress within ten days after the president receives it

writ of certiorari

an order issued by a higher court to a lower court to send up the record of a case for review

US v Morrison

(2000) overturned the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 because attacks against women are not, and do not substantially affect, interstate commerce; upheld states' rights and dual federalism

Printz v US

invalidated a federal law (that required local police to conduct background checks on all gun purchasers) because it violated the 10th amendment by making state governments carry out a federal regulatory program; upheld dual federalism

fairness doctrine

a former FCC rule that required broadcasters to give time to opposing views if they broadcast a program giving one side of a controversial issue

Shaw v Reno

case in which the Supreme Court declared race could be a factor in drawing Congressional district lines only if there was a "compelling governmental interest" to do so

Pendleton Act

(1883) federal law that began the slow but steady transfer from the spoils system to the merit system

Mapp v Ohio

1961 Supreme Court case; police broke into a woman's house searching for drugs and, finding none, arrested her instead for some obscene material they found there; the Supreme Court ruled that it was an unreasonable search and seizure; this was the first case when the Supreme Court required the exclusionary rule as a way of enforcing a variety of constitutional guarantees

Rostker v Goldberg

(1981) Supreme Court ruled that Congress may require men but not women to register for the draft without violating the due-process clause of the fifth amendment

Planned Parenthood v Casey

(1992) Supreme Court did not overturn Roe v Wade, but it did uphold several restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania on women seeking abortions

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