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a system in which power is divided between the national and state governments

Enumerated/Delegated/Expressed powers

the expressed powers of Congress that are itemized and numbered 1-18 in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution

Concurrent powers

powers shared by the federal government and the state

Reserved powers

powers set aside by the constitution for the state

Checks and Balances

The way the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branch make sure one branch isn't too powerful

Legislative Branch

The branch that writes the laws; Congress

Executive Branch

The branch that carries out the law; President

Judicial Branch

The branch that interprets the law and punishes lawbreakers; Supreme Court

Implied Powers

Powers not specifically granted to Congress that are suggested to be necessary to carry out the powers delegated to Congress under the Constitution


A limit on the debate of a bill in the Senate by a vote


a gathering of the minimal number of members of a legislative body can conduct business


A method of delaying action in the Senate by making long speeches


Meetings of Congress

Speaker of the House

the leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives; Nancy Pelosi

Floor leaders

A political party leader in Congress who works for the passage of bills the party favors

Conference Committee

Temporary committee made up of senators and representatives who try to reach a agreement on different versions of the same bill

Standing Committee

A permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area


A group within a standing committee that specializes in a subcategory of its standing committee's responsibility

Select Committees

Congressional committees appointed for a specific purpose, such as the Watergate investigation.

Joint Committees

congressional committees on a few subject-matter areas with membership drawn form both houses


A bill approving the spending of extra public money


division of the state into congressional and state Senate and House districts of equal population for purposes of representation


composed of one legislative body


composed of two legislative bodies

Separation of Powers

the division of the national government into the legislative, executive and judicial branches

Elastic clause

Clause in the Constitution that allows Congress to pass laws necessary to carry out its enumerated powers

Full faith and credit clause

the clause in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution that requires states to give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of the other states

Supremacy clause

supreme laws of the land are the Constitution, treaties, and national laws that agree with the Constitution

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