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Bicameral legislature

a lawmaking body made up of two chambers or parts.


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

Cloture rule

a rule used by the senat. Providing to end or limit debate.

Concurrent resolution

An expression of opinion without the force of law that requires the approval of both the house and the senate, but not the president.

Conference committee

a joint committe of congress made up of senators and house of reps that meets to resolve differences between bills from their respective legislatures

Conservative Coalition

an alliance between conservative democrats and republicans.


the poeple who are able to vote on the position

Discharge petition

a device by which any member of the house, after a committee has had a bill for 30 days, may petition to have it brought to the floor. If a mojority of member agree, the bill is discharged for the committee.

Divided government

the political condition in which different political parties control the white house and congress.

Division vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members stand are counted.


a procedure to keep the senate going during a filibuster, whereby a disputed bill is temporarily shelved so that the senate can go on with other buisness.


funds that an appropriation bill designates for particular purpose within a state or congressional district.


An attempt to defeat a bill in the senate by talking indefinitely, thus preventing the senate from taking action on the bill.

Franking privileges

the ability for a congress person to use free postage in campaigns for re-election.


drawing district lines to favor a particular party.

House rules committee

one of the most powerful committes. determines which bills make it to the floor and how those bills are debated.


House bringing charges against president- not removing him from office.


the person currently in the position (i.e. a senator or the president)

Joint committe

a committe on which both reps and senators serve.

Joint resolution

a formal expression of congressional opinion that must be approved by both houses of congress and by the president; however, joint resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment need not be signed by the president

legislative oversight

congress's monitory of the bureaucracy and its administration of policy, preformed mainly through hearings.


vot trading; voting yeah to support a colleague's bill in return for a promise of future support.

majority leader

the legislative leader eleceted by party members holding a majority of seats in the house or the senate.

Marginal districts

political districts in which candidates elected to the house win in close elections, typically by less than 35% of the vote.


a process in which legislative committee members offer changes to a bill befor it goes to the floor in either house for a vote.

MInority leader

the legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the house or the senate.

Multiple referral

a congressional process whereby a bill may be referred to seral committes that consider it simultaneaously in whole or in party

Open rule

an order from the house rules committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor

Party polarization

a vote in which a mojority of democratic legislators oppose a mojority of republican legislators.

Pork-barrel legislation

legislation give tangible benefits to constituents in several districts or states in the hopes of winning their votes.

Presidential pro tempore

leader of the senat in the absence of the vice president. usually a symbolic position for the longest serving senator.

Presidential veto

the ability for the president to deny passage of a bill from congress, preventing it from becoming a law.

Private bill

a legislative bill the deals with, specific, private, personal, or local matters, like a bill pertainting to an individual becoming a naturalized citizen.

Public bill

a legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern, like defense expenditures.

Quorum call

a calling of roll in either house of congress to see whether the number of reps in attendance meets the minimum number required to be in attendance for congress to conduct offical business.


The minimum number of members required to be in attendance for congress to conduct offical buisness.

Restrictive rule

an order from the house rules committee that permits certain kinds of amendments but not others to be made to a bill on the floor

roll-call vote

a congressional procedure that consists of members answering yeah or nay when their name is called.

Safe district

a house district in which the winner of the general election carries more than 55% of the vote.

Select committes

a permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area.

Senatorial courtesy

process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to senators of their own party who represents the state where the vacancy occurs; also the process by which a governor when selecting an appointee, defers to the state senator in whose district the nominee resides

Sequential referral

a congressional process by which a speaker may send a bill to the second committe after the first is finished acting.

Simple resolution

an expression of opinion, without the force of law, either in the house or in the senate, to settle housekeeping or precedural matters in either body.

Speaker of the house

majority party leader of the house of reps. has power to decide which bills are addressed, and works wit hthe president on legislation.

Standing committee

permanently established legislative committees that consider an area responsible for legislation within a certain subject area.


a smaller group of reps that meet withina larger committee to address specific legislation.

teller vote

a congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two tellers, first the yeas an then the nays. since 1971, a teller voters are recorded at the request of 20 members.

Term limits

concept that a person can only run for a certain amount of terms in office, preventing a career politicain. currently there are no term limits in congress.

voice vote

a congressional voting procedure used in both house s in which members vote by shouting yeah or nay.


a senator or rep who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking.

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