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status of already holding office, strongly influences a candidate's ability to raise money and is probably the most important single factor in determining success in a congressional campaign; they have stronger name recognition, easier access to media coverage, franking (sending free mail), campaign contributions, and casework.


reallocation of seats in the House of Representatives on the basis of changes in a state's population since the last census, gaining or losing seats in the House.


redrawing of congressional district boundaries within a state, based on the reapportionment of from the census.


practice of drawing legislative district boundaries to benefit an incumbent, a political party, or some other group.

majority-minority district

composed of a majority of a given minority community and the creator's intent is likely that a member of that minority will be elected to Congress

trustee model

model of representation where a member of the House or the Senate is articulating and voting for the position that best reflects constituents' views.

instructed delegate model

model of representation with the idea that a legislator, as a representative of his or her constituents, should vote in keeping with the constituents' views even if they are against the legislator's personal views.

pork barrel

legislators' appropriations of funds for special projects located within their congressional district


designation within a spending bill that provides for a specific expenditure


involves providing representation in the form of personal aid to a constituent or group of constituents.


an elected or appointed representative who acts as a citizens' advocate by listening to their needs and investigating their complaints with respect to a particular government agency.


process by which Congress "checks" the executive branch to ensure that the laws Congress passes are being administered in keeping with legislators' intentions.

agenda setting

determining which public policy issues the federal legislature should consider,


a wooden box that sits on a desk at the front of the House chamber, drafts of bills are placed here.

joint referral

the practice of referring the bill simultaneously to two different House committees for consideration, abolished

lead committee

the primary committee considering a bill

seniority system

member with the longest continuous tenure on a standing committee receives preferences when the committee chooses its chair, used for the selection of committee chairs

standing committees

permanent committees with a defined legislative jurisdiction,

select committees

specially created to consider a specific policy issue or to address a particular concern

joint committees

bicameral committees composed of members of both cambers of Congress.


typically handle specific areas of the committees' jurisdiction.

angency reviews

the committee or subcommittee asks the executive agencies that would administer the law for written comments on the measure


gather information and views from experts, interest groups, concerned citizens.


suggested language changes and amendments, sometimes may eliminate a component of the proposal or amend the proposal.


explains the bill's intent, it could be considered by the full chamber

discharge petition

used to extract a bill from a committee in order to have it considered by the entire House.

Rules Committee

one of the most important committees in the House, decides on the length of debate and scope of amendments allowed on a bill.

unanimous consent agreements

every senator needs to agree on the terms of debate.


procedural move that attempts to halt the passage of the bill


super-majority of 60 senators, end a filibuster

conference committee

bills that are passed through the House and Senate but there are differences are sent here, bicameral, bipartisan committee composed of legislators whose job is to reconcile the two versions of the bill

pocket veto

congress has adjourned and the president waits ten days wihtout signing the bill;

Speaker of the House

serves as the presiding officer and manager of the House.

House majority leader

helps develop and implement the majority party's legislative strategy, work with the minority party legislators.

majority whip

assists the Speaker and House majority leader, acts as a go-between with the leadership and the party members in the House.

president pro tempore

chair the Senate in the Vice President's absence.

Senate majority leader

job to manage the legislative process so that favored bills are passed; to schedule debate on legislation in consultation with his or her counterpart in the minority party.

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