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Party Polarization

Indicated by votes in which a majority of voting Democrats oppose a majority of voting Republicans.

cloture ule
cloture rule

A Senate rule offering a means for stopping a filibuster.

party caucus

An association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest.

party whip

An individual who assists the party leader in staying abreast of the concerns and voting intentions of the party members.

Committee on Committees

Assigns Republicans to standing committees in the Senate.

discharge petition

A means by which the House can remove a bill stalled in committee.

Steering Committee

Assigns Democrats to standing committees in the Senate.

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.

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