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House of Representatives

To be a member of this part of Congress, you must be 25 years old, a citizen of the US for at least 7 years, and a resident of the state which you wish to represent.

435, 2

How many members are there in the HOR? How many years is their term?

National Census

This is taken every 10 years and aids in the reapportionment of the population.

House of Representatives

All tax legislation must start in this part of Congress.


This proceeding (removing an elected official from office) must begin in the HOR.


To be a member of this part of Congress, you must be 30 years old, a citizen of the US for at least 9 years, and a resident of the state which you wish to represent.

100, 6

How many members are in the Senate? How many years is their term?


Unlimited Debate. This idea suggests that individual members of the chamber can continuously debate a piece of legislation.


The limiting of a debate in the Senate.

John A Boehner

Speaker of the House.

Eric Cantor

House Majority Leader

Nancy Pelosi

House Minority Leader

Joseph Biden

President of the Senate

Dan Inouye

President pro tempore of the Senate

Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader

Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader

Party Whips

Their job is to ensure party loyalty and try to guarantee that party members with be loyal when their votes are needed for legislation.

Speaker of the House

This person is responsible for assigning committee chairs and party positions, presiding over the chamber, and scheduling legislation.

Standing Committees

Permanent committees present in each chamber. Ex. Agriculture, Budget, Armed Services, Finance, Foreign Relations, Homeland Security, Environment, ect.

Joint Committees

Legislative committees that exist in both houses of Congress.

Select Committee

These committees are created by a resolution of the chamber that is seeking to establish the committee. They exist only until the conflict is over, then are dissolved.

Committee of the Whole

A meeting in the House where the entire membership is considered part of the committee.

House Rules Committee

"The Speaker's Committee" It controls how legislation proceeds on the floor of the House. It reviews all bills, assigns time for debate, and determines whether or not amendments are possible.

House Ways and Means Committee

Chief tax-writing committee in the House. It must approve all tax legislation.

Appropriations Committee

Concerned with spending bills.

Finance Committee

Deals with tax and revenue generation issues.

Foreign Relations Committee

Deals with the approval of treaties, appointments of ambassadors and key officials.

Seniority System

A system that gives the member of the majority party with the longest uninterrupted service on a particular committee the leadership of that committee

Congressional Elections

These are held every two years in November.


The candidate who already holds the position and is up for reelection. They have an obvious advantage with their publicity and demonstration of effectiveness.

Franking Privilege

Members of Congress have the ability to mail information to their voters for free.


Vote trading; voting for someone else's issue in return for support on their own issue.

Pork Barrel Legislation

Spending on special projects. More and more projects get added to the bills so that passage is easier.

Congressional Research Service

The public policy research arm of the US Congress. They work for Congress researching issues and providing information. They research facts and indicate arguments for and against certain bills.

Congressional Budget Office

Provides research support to Congress. Provides economic data, and the likely potential economic effects of certain legislation on the US. They also issue budget estimates.

Government Accountability Office

It is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the US Congress. It looks into cases of misspending or misallocation of funds. It also evaluated programs to see how well they are working.

Personal Staff

Individuals who work for a member of Congress and are hired and fired by that member.

Committee Staff

Individuals who serve either party on congressional committees and are congressional employees.

Leadership Staff

Those who work for the Speaker, Majority and Minority Leaders, and Whips in the HOR and Senate.

Institutional Staff

Includes majority and minority party floor staff and non-partisan individuals working for groups such as the Capitol Police.

Support Agency Staff

Non-Partisan employees of the Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, and Government Accountability Office.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

1. Introduction of legislation to congress.
2. Referral of bill to the correct committee.
3. Committee and subcommittee review.
4. Review and amendment of bill.
5. Scheduling floor action for a bill.
6. Debating the bill.
7. Voting on the bill.
8. Referral to the other chamber.
9. Conference Committee Action.
10. Final action in which the bill is given to the president for passage or veto.
11. Overriding a veto.

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