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standing committees

permanent, specialized committees. House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Armed Services Committee. 20 standing committees in house and 17 in senate

joint committees

made up of members of both house and senate, normally used for communicating to the public or for investigations but generally do not send bills to the floor for votes

select committees

temporary committees organized in each house for some special purpose, usually carry out investigations for the purpose of writing special legislation. Ex. House watergate committee, senate select committee on unfair practices from NIXON era. work of these committees eventually led to campaign reform

conference committees

temporary, include members from the committees of the two houses who were responsible for writing a bill. POINT: to negotiate compromise bills, then submitted to the two houses for an up or down vote, no amendments. once a compromise bill has been negotiated, conference committee disbands


(committees will sometimes refuse to vote a bill out, hoping to keep it from being considered by the house,) A BILL STUCK IN A HOUSE OR SENATE COMMITTEE IS SAID TO BE

discharge petition

parliamentary mechanism to force a bill out of committee for a floor vote


leader of HOR, chosen by majority party in special election

majority leader of House

keeps party members in line and helps determine party policy and party's legislative agenda

minority leader

keeps the minority party members in line and helps determine the minority party's legislative agenda

president pro tempore

position given to the most senior member of the majority party of the Senate, comes in when vice is absent during session

vice president

president of the Senate, rarely on the floor and only votes to break a tie


pressure on congresspersons from their colleagues, you help me on this bill and i'll help you on yours


pressure on congresspersons from the president

Northwest Ordinance 1789

provided clear guidelines for the settlement of new territories and provided a path to statehood...articles of confederation

pendleton Act 1883

eliminated the spoils system of patronage in selection for government jobs and set up an exam-based merit system for qualified candidates

Sherman Anti-Trust Act 1896

law provided Congress with authority to regulate and break up monopolies, known as trusts, in the US

Hatch Act 1939

permitted government employees to vote in government elections but forbade them from participating in partisan politics

Air Quality Act 1967

beginning of a series of acts to regulate impacts on the environment

Federal Election Campaign Acts 1971-1974

laws created by FEC and required disclosures of contributions and expenditures and limitations on contributions and presidential election expidentures

War Powers Act 1973

limited President's power to use troops overseas in hostilities and put a time limit on use and gave congress final power to withdraw troops

Budget and Impoundment Control Act 1974

established congressional budget committees and the Congressional Budget Office, and gave Congress the power to prevent the president from refusing to fund Congressional initiatives (aka impoundment)

Freedom of Information Act 1974

declassified government documents for public use

Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Bill 1985

set budget reduction targets to balance budget. Failed to eliminate loopholes

Espionage Act 1917/Sedition Act 1918

severely curtailed the civil liberties of Americans during wartime and greatly increased the power of the federal government in controlling public activity

Immigration Act 1924

this law stringently limited the number of immigrants admitted into the US and set strict quotas for entry

Civil Rights Act 1964

Title II banned discrimination in public places on the basis of color, race, origin or religion. Title VII prohibited employment discrimination based on gender

Voting Rights Act 1965

Suspended literacy tests, empowered federal officials to register voters, prohibited states from changing voting procedures without federal permission

Age Discrimination in Employment Act 1967

banned age discrimination in jobs unless age is related to job performance

Civil Rights Act 1968

banned housing discrimination based on race

Title IX Education Act 1972

prohibited gender discrimination in federally funded education programs

Americans with Disabilites Act 1990

protected civil liberties of disabled American and mandated reasonable accommodations to public facility use

National Voter Registration Bill 1993

aka Motor Voter Act, law allowed people to register to vote when applying for drivers licenses

Patriot Act 2001

in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, congress granted broad police authority to the federal, state, and local government to interdict, prosecute and convict suspected terrorists

New Deal Legislation 1933-39

legislation that expanded the role of government in the economy and society. crated entities like social security, the securities and exchange commission and the Tennessee valley authority. these laws also dramatically expanded the role and size of the federal government

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act 1996

the Welfare Reform Act signaled a change in the role of the federal government in the relationship with the states. This law sought to increase the role of personal responsibility in welfare recipients and shifted many responsibilities for welfare provision to state governments.

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 2002

aka McCain-Feingold Bill, law banned soft money contributions to national political parties and raised hard money limits to $2,000

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