37 terms

Chapter 7

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Bicameral Legislature
A legislature divided into two houses; the U.S Congress and the state legislatures are bicameral except Nebraska, which is unicameral.
Apportionment
The process of allotting congressional seats to each state following the decennial census according to their proportion of the population.
Redistricting
The redrawing of congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within a state.
Bill
A proposed law.
Impeachment
The power delegated to the House of Representative in the Constitution to charge the president, vice president, or other "civil officers," including federal judges, w/ "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." This is the first step in the constitutional process of removing such government officials from office.
Majority
The Political party in each house of Congress w/ the most members.
Minority Party
The political party in each house of Congress w/ the second most members.
Speaker of the house
The only officer of the house of Representatives specifically mentioned in the Constitution; elected at the beginning of each new Congress by the entire House; traditionally a member of majority party.
Party caucus or conference
A formal gathering of all party members.
Majority Leader
The elected leader of the party controlling the most seats in the House of Representatives or the Senate; is second in authority to the Speaker of the House and in the Senate is regarded as its most powerful member.
Minority Leader
The elected leader of the party w/ the second highest number of elected representatives in the House of Representatives or Senate.
Whip
Key member who kept close contact w/ all members of his or her party and takes nose counts on key votes, prepares summaries of bills, and general acts as communication link a party.
President pro Tempore
The official chair of the Senate; usually the most senior member of the majority party.
Standing Committee
Committee to which proposed bills are referred; continues from one congress to the next.
Joint Committee
Committee that includes members from both houses of Congress to conduct investigations or special studies.
Conference Committee
Special joint committee created to iron out difference between Senate and House versions of a specific piece of legislature.
Select (or special) committee
Temporary committee appointed for specific purpose, such as conducting a special investigation or study.
Discharge Petition
Petition that gives a majority of the House of Representatives the authority to bring an issue to the floor in the face of committee inaction.
Pork
Legislature tat allows representatives to bring home the bacon to their districts in the form of public works programs' military bases' or other programs designated to benefit their districts directly.
Earmark
Funds in appropriations bill that provide dollars for particular purposes within a state or congressional distinct.
Seniority
Time of continuous service on a committee.
Trustee
Role played by elected representatives who listen to constituents' opinions and then use their best judgment to make final decisions.
Delegated
Role played by elected representatives who vote the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of their own opinion.
Politico
Role played by elected representatives who act as trustees or as delegates' depending on the issue.
Divided government
The political condition in which different political parties control the White House and Congress.
Logrolling
Vote trading; voting to support a colleague's bill in return for a promise of the future support.
Markup
A process in which committee members offer changes to a bill before it goes to the floor in either house for a vote.
Hold
A tactic by which a senator asks to be informed before a particular bill is brought to the floor. This allows the senator to stop the bill from coming to the floor until the hold is removed.
Filibuster
A formal way of halting action no a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate.
Cloture
Mechanisms requiring sixty senators to vote to cut of debate.
Veto
Formal constitutional authority of the president to reject bills passed by both houses of the legislative body' thus preventing the bill from becoming law w/o further congressional activity.
Pocket veto
If congress adjourns during the 10 days the president has to consider a bill passed by both houses of congress' the bill is considered vetoed w/o the president's signature.
Oversight
Congressional review of the activities of agency' department' or office.
Congressional review
A process whereby Congress can nullify agency regulations by a joint resolution of legislature disapproval.
War Powers Act
Passed by Congress in 1973; the president is limited in the deployment of troops overseas to a sixty-day period in peacetime (which can be extended for an extra 30 days to permit withdrawal) unless Congress explicitly gives its approval for a longer period.
Senatorial courtesy
A process by which presidents' when selecting districts court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs.
Incumbency
The fact that being in office helps a person stay in office b/c of a variety of benefits that go with the position.