37 terms

American Government: Roots and Reform - Chapter Seven

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Terms in this set (...)

bicameral legislature
a legislature divided into two house
apportionment
the process of allocating congressional seats to each state following the decennial census according to their proportion of the population
redistricting
the redrawing of congressional districts to reflect the increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within a state
bill
a proposed law
impeachment
a power delegated to the House of Representatives to charge the president, vice president or other civil officers with high Crimes and Misdemeanors
majority party
the political party in each house of Congress with the most members
minority party
the political party in each house of Congress with the second most members
Speaker of the House
the only officer of the house of Representatives specifically mentioned in the Constitution
party caucus or conference
a formal gathering of all party members
majority leader
the elected leader of the party controlling the most seats in the House of Representatives or the Senate; second in authority to the Speaker of the House and in the Senate is regarded as its most powerful member
minority leader
the elected leader of the party with the second highest number of elected representatives in the House of Representatives or the Senate
whip
Key member who keeps close contact with all members of his or her party and takes nose counts on key votes, prepares summaries of bills, and in general acts as communications link within a party
president pro tempore
the official chair of the Senate; usually the most senior member of the majority party
standing committee
committee to which proposed bills are referred; continues from one Congress to the next
joint committee
committee that included members from both houses of Congress to conduct investigations or special studies
conference committee
special joint committee created to iron out differences between Senate and House versions of a specific piece of legislation
select committee
temporary committee appointed for specific purpose, such as conducting a special investigation or study
discharge petition
petition that gives a majority of the house of Representatives the authority to bring an issue to the floor in the face of committee inaction
earmark
funds in appropriations bill that provide dollars for particular purposes within a state or congressional district
seniority
time of continuous service on a committee
incumbency
the fact that being in office helps a person stay in office because of a variety of benefits that go with the position
trustee
role played by elected representatives who listen who listen to constituents' opinions and use their best judgement to make final decisions
delegate
role played by elected representatives who vote the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of their own opinions
politico
role played by elected representatives who act as trustees or as delegates, depending on the issue
divided government
the political condition in which different political parties control the White House and Congress
logrolling
vote trading; voting to support a colleague's bill inn return for a promise of future support
markup
a process in which committee members offer changes to a bill before it goes to the floor in either house for a vote
hold
a tactic by which a senator asks to be informed before a particular bill is brought to the floor; allows the senator to stop the bill from coming to the floor until the hold is removed
filibusters
a formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate
cloture
mechanism requiring sixty senators to vote to cut off debate
vetoes
formal constitutional authority of the president to reject bills passed by both houses of the legislative body, thus preventing the bill from becoming law without further congressional activity
pocket veto
if Congress adjourns the ten days the president has to consider a bill passed by both houses of Congress, the bill is considered vetoed without the president's signature
oversight
congressional review of the activities of an agency, department or office
congressional review
a process whereby Congress can nullify agency regulations by a joint resolution of legislative disapproval
War Powers Act
passed by Congress in 1973; limits the power of the president in wartime
senatorial courtesy
a process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs
pork
legislation that allows representatives to bring home the bacon to their districts in the form of public works programs, military bases, or other programs, designed to benefit their districts directly