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Party caucus

Selects the party's leaders in each house of Congress

Discharge Petition

Can force a committee to bring a bill to the floor of the House of Senate.


The minimum number of legislators needed to conduct official business.


A provision added to a popular bill because it is unlikely to succeed on its own.

Select Committee

A legislative committe created for a limited time and specific purpose.

Speaker of the House

Presiding officer of the House.

President of the Senate

Presiding officer of the Senate

President Pro Tempore

Second presiding officer of the Senate

Floor leaders

Legislativer strategists; they try to carry out the decisions of their parties; caucuses and steer floor action to their benefit.


Assisstant floor leaders

Committee Chairman

The members that head the standing committees in each chamber.

Seniority Rule

Unwritten; states that the most important posts in both the formal and the party organization, will be held by those party members with the longest records of service in Congress.

Standing Committee

Panel where bills can be sent to get another view on them. Very influential.

Joint Committee

Composed of members of both houses.

Conference Committee

A temporary joint body, that is made to smooth out the differences between Congress and the Senate.


Proposed law

Joint Resolutions

Similiar to bills; when passed have the effect of law.

Concurrent Resolutions

Deal with matters in which the House and Senate must act jointly.


Deal with matters concerning either house alone and are taken up only by that house.


Divisions of existing committees formed to address specific issues.

Committee of the Whole

An old parliamentary device for speeding up business on the floor.


When a bill is approved at the second reading


Attempt to talk a bill to death


Limits debate


President's refusal to sign a bill.

Pocket veto

If Congress adjourns its session within ten days of submitting a bill to the President, and the President does not act the measure dies.

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