Chapter 11: Congress (Wilson's)

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bicameral legislature

A lawmaking body made up of two chambers or parts; The U.S. Cognress is a ___ _____ composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Filibuster

An attempt to defect a bill in the Senate by talking indefinitely thus preventing the Senate from taking action on the bill.

Marginal Districts

Political districts in which candidates elected to the House of Representatives win in close elections typically with less than 55% of the vote

Safe Districts

Districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55% of the vote or more

Conservative Coalition

An alliance between Republicans and conservative Democrats

Majority Leader

The legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of seats in House of Representatives or the Senate.

Minority Leader

The legislative leader elected by party memebers holding a minority of seats in theHouse of Representatives or Senate.

Whip

A senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party memebers are thining, rounds up memebers when important votes are taken, and attempts to keep a nose count on how the voting on controversial issues is likely to go.

party polarization

a vote in which a majority of Democratic legislators oppose a majority of Republican legislators

Caucus

an association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional, ethnic, or economic interest.

Standing Committees

Permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area. Examples are the House ways and Means Committees and Senate Judiciary Committee

select committees

congressional committees appointed for a limited time and purpose

joint committees

committees on which both representative and senators serve. An especially important kind of ___ _____ is the conference conmmitee made up of representatives and senators appointed to resolve differenes in the Senate and House versions of the same piece of legislation before final passage.

public bill

a legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern. A bill involving defense expenditures is a blah blah; a bill pertaining to an individual's becoming a naturalized citizen is not.

Private Bill

a legislative bill that deals only with specific, private, personal or local matters rather than with general legislative affairs. The main kinds include immigration and naturalization bills (referring to particular individuals) and personal claim bills

simple resolution

an expression of opinion in either the House or the Senate to settle house keeping or procedural matters in either body; such expressions are not signed by the president and do not have the force of law.

concurrent resolution

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

joint resolution

A formal expression of congressional opinion that must be approved by both houses of congress and by the president. ____ _____ proposing a constitutional amendment need not be signed by the president.

Multiple Referral

A congressional process whereby a bill may be referred to several committees that consider it simultaneously in whole or in part. For instance, the 1988 trade bill was considered by fourteen committees in the House and nine in the Senate simultaneously.

Sequential Referral

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

Discharge Petition

A device by which any member of the House, after a committee has had a bill for thirty days, may petition to have it brought to the flour. If a majority of the members agree, the bill is discharged from the committee. The ____ ______ was designed to prevent a committee from killing a bill by holding it for two days.

closed rule

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

Open Rule

Order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the legislative floor

Rider

An amendment on a matter unrelated to a bill that is added to the bill so that it will "ride" to passage through Congress. When a bill has a lot of riders, it is called a Christmas Tree Bill.

Quorum

The minimum number of members who must be present for business to b conducted in Congress.

Restrictive rule

An order from the House Rules Committee that permits certain kinds of amendments but not others to be made into a bill on the legislative floor.

Quorum Call

A calling of the roll in either House of Congress to see whether the number of representatives in attendance meets the minimum number required to conduct official business.

Cloture rule

A rule used by the Senate to end or limit debate. Designed to prevent "talking a bill to death" by filibuster. For a bill to pass in the Senate, three-fifths of the entire Senate membership (or sixty members) must vote for it.

Double Tracking

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.

Voice Vote

A congressional voting procedure in which members shout "yea" in approval or "nay" in disapproval; allows members to vote quickly and anonymously on bills

Division vote

A congressional voting procedure in which members who stand and are counted.

Teller Vote

A congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two yellers, the "yeas" first and then the "nays." Since 1971, the identities of members in a teller vote can be "recorded."

Roll-Call Vote

A congressional voting procedure that consists of members answering "yea" or "nay" to their names. When roll calls were handed orally, it was a time-consuming process in the House. Since 1973, an electronic voting system permits each House member to record his or her vote and learn the total automatically.

Pork-Barrel Legislation

Legislation that gives tangible benefits (highways, dams, post offices) to constituents in several districts or states in the hope of winning heir votes in return.

Franking Privilege

The ability of members of Congress to mail letters to their constituents free of charge by substitution their facsimile signature (frank) for postage.

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