AP US Gov't - Windows- Congress Vocab

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14th Amendment

Declares that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens and are guaranteed equal protection of the laws

17th Amendment

Direct election of senators

27th Amendment

limits the power of congress to increase its own salaries

Acquit

to find not guilty of a fault or crime

Adjourn

break from a meeting or gathering

Apportionment

planned distribution of representatives

Appropriation

money set aside (as by a legislature) for a specific purpose

At-Large Representation

Voters in a given geographical area can elect two or more individuals to represent them. Usually used for commissions, councils or other multi-member representative bodies, especially in local government.

Authorization

the process of giving someone permission to do or have something

Baker v. Carr

Voters have standing(right to challenge) redistricting done by a state

Bicameral

a legislature consisting of two parts, or houses

Bill

a proposed law

Censure

to criticize harshly

Census

population count

Christmas Tree Bill

A bill that has many riders to increase its chances of being passed

Closed Rule

An order from the House Rules Committee that sets a time limit on debate; forbids a bill from being amended on the floor

Cloture

a procedure used in the senate to limit debate on a bill

Commerce Power

exclusive power of Congress to regulate interstate and foreign trade

Committee Chairperson

The leader of a congressional committee. A very powerful position. He/she controls the committee calendar, agenda, and hearings. He/she can pigeonhole a bill by refusing to schedule debate on the bill. Chosen by majority party caucus based on seniority. Subject to term-limits

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. This is usually done for the purposes of discussion and debate of the details of bills and other main motions.

Conference Committee

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

Consensus

general agreement

Constituency

voters represented by an elected official; district so represented; group of supporters (or constituents)

Deficit Financing

government policy of spending more money than it is able to bring in through revenues

Delegate

a person appointed or elected to represent others

Descriptive Representation

the idea that an elected body should mirror demographically the population it represents

Direct Tax

a tax an individual pays directly to the government

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.

Division Vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members stand and are counted

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.

Earmark

set aside (money or time) for a particular purpose

Easley v. Cromartie

Court said it was not an unconstitutional racial gerrymander -- race is not an illegitimate consideration in redistricting as long as it is not the dominant and controlling one.

Elastic Clause

the part of the Constitution that permits Congress to make any laws "necessary and proper" to carrying out its powers

Eminent Domain

the right of government to take private property for public use

Expressed Powers

powers that congress has that are specifically listed in the constitution

Filibuster

a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches

Franking Privilege

benefit allowing members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free

Gerrymander

divide unfairly and to one's advantage

House Rules Committee

Determines the rules for debate of each bill, including whether the bill may be amended. This is the most powerful committee in the House.

Impeach

legal process to formally charge the president with misconduct in office

Implied Powers

powers not specifically mentioned in the constitution

Incumbent

the official who holds an office

Indirect Tax

a tax levied on goods or services rather than on persons or organizations

Joint Committee

legislative committee composed of members of both houses

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)

Line-Item Veto

an executive's ability to block a particular provision in a bill passed by the legislature

Logrolling

act of exchanging favors for mutual gain

Majority Leader

leader of the majority party in a legislature

Majority-Minority District

A congressional district created to include a majority of minority voters; ruled constitutional so long as race is not the main factor in redistricting.

Malapportionment

drawing the boundaries of legislative districts so that they are unequal in population

Marginal District

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

Mark-up Session

A session held by a subcommittee to revise a bill.

Mid-year Election

every 2 years on even numbered years vote for everyone but pres/governor

Minority Leader

leader of the minority party in a legislature

Open Rule

an order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor

Oversight Function

review by legislative committees of the policies and programs of the executive branch

Partisan

devoted to a cause or party

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

Prejury

lying under oath

Pocket Veto

indirect veto of legislation by refusing to sign it

Politico

lawmaker who attempts to balance the basic elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles

Pork Barrel

a legislative appropriation designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents

President of the Senate

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

Prorogue

to prolong or extend; to postpone or defer

Public Debt

the total of the nation's debts: debts of local and state and national governments

Quorum

The minimum number of members who must be present to permit a legislative body to take official action

Reapportionment

the process of reassigning representation based on population, after every census

Reynolds v. Simms

ruled that state legislative districts must be roughly equal in population

Rider

a clause that is appended to a legislative bill

Roll-Call Vote

A congressional voting procedure that consists of members answering "yea" or "nay" to their names.

Safe District

Districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55 percent or more

Select Committee

A temporary legislative committee established for a limited time period and for a special purpose.

Senatorial Courtesy

Presidential custom of submitting the names of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work.

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.

Session

a period of time during which a legislature meets to conduct business

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 ot increase the voting strength of minorities, they may not make race the sole reason for drawing district lines.

Single-Member District

An electoral district in which voters choose one representative or official.

Speaker of the House

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

Special Session

a meeting to deal with some emergency situation

Standing Committee

a permanent committee

Subcommittee

a subset of committee members organized for a specific purpose

Subpoena

a court order requiring appearance and/or testimony

Substantive Representation

the ability of a legislator to represent the agenda or interests of a group to which he or she does not personally belong.

Teller Vote

A congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two tellers, the "yeas" first and the "nays" second.

Trustee

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.

US Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton

Ruled that states cannot impose qualifications for prospective members of Congress stricter than those in the Constitution

Veto

rejection of a bill

Voice Vote

a voting method in which those in favor say "Yea" and those against say "Nay"

Wesberry v. Sanders

One person, one vote (in redistricting for federal elections, each congressional district was to be approximately the same) In Georgia, the 5th district had 3 to 4 times more people than did the other districts.

Whip

a legislator appointed by the party to enforce discipline

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