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Politics of the United States
Gov Final Module #13
Terms in this set (21)
What is an incumbent?
A current office holder who promotes his or her reelection prospects by catering to the constituency (the people residing in the incumbent's state or district)
What are some of the advantages to being an incumbent in Congress?
Seldom lose, caters to constituency, can raise money, conduct an effective campaign, favorable redistricting boundaries, can be reelected
What are some of the pitfalls of incumbency?
Disruptive issues, personal misconduct, turnout variation, primary election challengers with more intense views, general election challengers in senate; usually governors and house members with voter base, money, recognition, and credentials
Which group raises and spends more money on average, incumbents or challengers?
What is reapportionment?
The Reallocation of House seats among states after each census as a result of population changes
What is redistricting?
Process of altering election district to make them as nearly equal in population as possible, after a reapportionment and rests with the state government
What is gerrymandering?
Party in power draws election district boundaries in a way that advantages its candidates
When should turnout be higher, in a midterm or presidential election year?
Presidential election year
According to the book, has party unity in Congress gone up or down since 1970?
What are the different leadership positions in Congress (for example: House Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, etc.)?
->Speaker of the House:Active in developing party's positions of issue and persuading members to support; first to speak during House debate and can grant members permission to speak; chooses chair person and majority-party members of the House Rules committee; assigns bills to committees
->House Majority Leader: party's floor leader
->Minority Leader:head's party's caucus and its policy committee and plays leading role in developing legislative positions
->Minority Leader Whip: assist minority leader
->Senate Majority Leader: heads majority caucus, formulates party's legislative agenda and encourages party members to support it; chairs the party's policy committee and acts as a party's voice in chamber
->Majority Whip: sees to it that members know when important votes are schedules
What is the role of standing committees?
Permanent committees with responsibility for particular areas of public policy
What is the difference between a standing committee, a joint committee, a select committee, and a conference committee?
joint committee: composed of members of both houses and perform advisory functions
select committee: created for a specific time period and purpose
conference committee: joint committees formed temporarily to work out differences in House and Senate versions of a particular bill
Which party has more seats on a committee, the majority or minority?
Be sure to know the steps before a bill can become a law.
1. Bill is introduced to House and Senate and sent to relevant committee
2. Hearings are held in committee bills can be revised
3. Legislation is debated on the floors, amendments are proposed, bill is voted on
4. Conference committee has to pass both chambers
5. President signs or vetoes bill
6. If the President vetoes, 2/3 party in both chambers of congress can override
How can a bill become a law even if the President vetoes legislation?
If the President vetoes, 2/3 party in both chambers of congress can override
What is a filibuster?
A procedural tactic in the senate whereby a minority of senators prevent a bill from coming to a vote by holding the floor and talking until the majority gives and the bill is withdrawn from consideration
Which chamber allows for a filibuster of legislation?
How many votes are needed to end a filibuster?
3/5 majority (60 senators)
What are the three major functions of Congress discussed in the textbook? Be sure to be able to describe each of them.
1. Lawmaking - makes laws authorizing federal programs and appropriating the funds necessary to carry them out
2. Representation - represents the interests of constitutes and the nation in its deliberations and lawmaking
3. Oversight - Sees that the executive branch caries out the laws faithfully and spends appropriations properly
4. Logrolling - The practice of trading one's vote with another member's so that both get what they want
What is logrolling?
The practice of trading one's vote with another member's so that both get what they want
What are the differences (discussed in the textbook) between Congress and other legislatures around the world?
Many democracies have a unicameral legislature; in a bi cameral, one chamber has less power than the other. European legislatures have a centralized power structure, top leaders have substantial authority, committees are weak, parties are unified.
Recommended textbook explanations
United States Government: Principles in Practice
Luis Ricardo Fraga
United States Government: Democracy In Action
Richard C. Remy
Magruder's American Government
William A. McClenaghan
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