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bicameral legislature

A lawmaking body composed of two chambers or parts.


Unrelated amendments added to a bill.

safe districts

Districts in which the winner got more than 55 percent of the vote.

majority leader

The legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of seats in the House or Senate.

franking privilege

The ability of members of Congress to mail letters to their constituents free of charge.

roll call vote

A congressional voting procedure that consists of members answering yea or nay to their names.

minority leader

The legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the House or Senate.

joint committee

A committee on which both representatives and senators serve.

simple resolution

A resolution used to settle housekeeping and procedural matters that affect both houses but not having the force of law.

double tracking

A procedure to keep the Senate going during a filibuster; the disputed bill is shelved temporarily.

conference committees

A special type of joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation.

pork barrel legislation

A bill that has many riders that directs funding to benefit a specific district or State


The number of members in attendance meets the minimum number required to conduct official business. Both chambers require a simple majority to be present

legislative oversight

Refers to the review, monitoring and supervision of federal agencies, programs, and policies. Usually implemented through committees

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