A formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate.
The proportional process of altering congressional seats to each state following the decennial census.
The redrawing of congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats alloted to states, as well as population shifts within a state.
The legislative process through which the majority party in each state house tries to redraw congressional districts so that the maximum number of representatives from its party can be elected to Congress.
The investigation and analyzation by Congress of the executive branch and its federal programs as well as policy and legislative implementations.
The fact that being in office helps a candidate stay in office because of a variety of benefits that go along with the position.
A process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs.
An arrangement in which two or more members of Congress agree in advance to support each other's bills.
A representative who serves under the majority or minority leader, and who keeps in close contact with all party members, takes nose counts, provides summaries of bills, and acts as a communication link within the legislative party.
The legislative leader selected by the majority party who helps plan party strategy, confers with other party leaders, and tries to keep members of the party in line. He/she is the 2nd most powerful member of the HOR and is the most powerful member of the Senate.
A temporary legislative committee established for a limited time period and for a special purpose.
A committee composed of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate; such committees oversee the Library of Congress and conduct investigations.
A joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the same passed bill.
An expression of opinion either in the House or Senate to settle procedural matters in either body.
A formal expression of congressional opinion that must be approved by both houses of congress and by the president; constitutional amendments need not be signed by the president.
A statement of position on an issue used by the House and Senate acting jointly; does not have the force of law and does not require the President's signature.
A 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.
An order from the House Rules Committee that sets a time limit on debate; forbids a bill from being amended on the floor.
A provision that governs consideration of a bill and that specifies and limits the kinds of amendments that may be made on the floor of the House of Representatives.
house rules committee
An institution unique to the House of Representatives that determines the rules for debate of each bill, including whether the bill may be amended.
The minimum number of members who must be present to permit a legislative body to take official action.
An additional provision annexed to a bill under the consideration of a legislature, having little connection with the subject matter of the bill.
The ability of members to mail letters to their constituents free of charge by substituting their facsimile signature for postage.
When a president kills a bill passed during the last 10 days Congress is in session by simply refusing to act on it.
The power delegated to the HOR by the constitution to charge the president, vice president, or other civil officers, with treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. This is the first step in the constitutional process of removing such government officials from office.
A government project that benefits a specific location or lawmaker's home district and constituents, typically enacted to gain individual legislature's votes.
baker v carr
The case that established "one man one vote". This decision created guidelines for drawing up congressional districts and guaranteed a more equitable system of representation to the citizens of each state.
wesburry v sanders
A case that issued the ruling that all congressional districts must contain the same population.
line item veto
The presidential power to strike, or remove, specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package; declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
shaw v reno
The Court ruled that although it was a legitimate goal for state legislatures to take race into account when they draw electoral districts in order to increase the voting strength of minorities, they may not make race the sole reason for drawing district lines.
war powers act
A piece of legislature requiring notification of Congress within 48 hours of deploying troops, and approval of Congress to have military force remain longer than 90 days; designed to curtail President's power.
legislative reorganization act
An act focused mainly on the rules that governed congressional committee procedures, decreasing the power of the chair and empowering minority members, and on making House and Senate processes more transparent.
budget and impoundment act of 1974
A law that reasserted congressional authority and budget making by creating new budget committees and the congressional budget office and requiring annual timelines for the budgetary process.
congressional research service
A politically neutral body, this Service looks up information for Congressman's inquiries, and indicates the arguments for and against proposed policy.
congressional budget office
A congressional agency that advises Congress on the likely economic effects of different spending programs and provides information on the costs of the proposed policies.