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A.P. Government and Politics Chapter 11: Congress Vocabulary Mr. Foster Foster gave these definitions to us, verbatim.

bicameral legislature

two (2) chambers sharing control of Congress


delay tactic used to try to prevent a vote on a bill

marginal districts

congressional race that is competitive

safe districts

congressional race that is not competitive

majority leader

top person in Congress from party in power

minority leader

most powerful person from party not in power


person responsible for ensuring that people within his/her party vote properly

congressional caucus

groups in Congress that share demographics

standing committees

only permanent committees divided by specific subject matters

select committees

temporary committees set up to deal with specific subject matters

joint committees

committees made up of both House and Senate members

conference committee

committee where final copy of bill is drawn up

simple resolution

agreement in one (1) chamber about procedural issues

concurrent resolution

agreement in both chambers about procedural issues

joint resolution

agreement between the House and the Senate, signed by the president, that has the same weight as a law

discharge petition

when the House calls a vote to pool a bill out of committee

closed rule

no amendments may be added to a bill during debate

open rule

amendments may be added to a bill during debate


attachment to a bill that is not related to the bill

Christmas tree bill

tons of riders attached to a bill


minimum number of people that must be present to conduct business in Congress

quorum call

vote taken to see if a majority of congresspeople are present in Congress

cloture rule

vote to prevent a filibuster


when Congress is working on two bills at the same time

pork-barrel legislation

legislation that directly benefits a member's constituents

franking privilege

free delivery postage

representational view (DELEGATE)

when a congressman votes with his/her constituents

attitudinal view (TRUSTEE)

when a congressman votes based on his/her own opinion

partisan (party polarization)



not "party-affiliated"


president voting to block passed legislation

pocket veto

when the president holds onto a bill for ten days and Congress adjourns

Rules Committee

committee in the House that controls the length and time of debate on a bill

non-germane amendments

another term for "rider"

Ways and Means Committee

a tax committee in the House

Appropriations Committee

the committee that allocates all funding


when the government stops due to partisan behavior

divided government

when parties each have control of one of the chambers/branches

unified government

when one party controls the chambers/branches

(BONUS) germane

(BONUS) relevant

(BONUS) log-rolling

(BONUS) the process of congressmen exchanging votes

(BONUS) case-work

(BONUS) the daily work of a congressman

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