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the residents of a congressional district or state


the assigning by Congress of congressional seats after each census; State legislatures reapportion state legislative districts

Safe Seat

An elected office that is predictably won by one party or the other, so the success of that party's candidate is almost taken for granted


drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumbent


redrawing of congressional and legislative district lines following the census, to accomodate population shift, and keep district equal


the current holder of an elected office


Special spending projects that are set aside on behalf of individual members of Congress for their constituents

Enumerated Powers

powers explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution

Speaker of the House

the presiding officer in the House of Rep., formally elected by the House but actuallly selected by the majority party

Party Caucus

A meeting of the members of a party in a legislative chamber to select party leaders and to develop party policy; called a conference by Republicians

Majority Leader

legislative leader selected by the majority party who helps plan party strategy, confers with other party leaders and tries to keep members in line

Minority Leader

legislative leader selected by the minority party as spokesperson for the opposition


party leader who is the liaison between the leadership and the rank and file in the legislature

Open Rule

procedural rule in the House of Rep. that permits floor amendments within the overal time allocated to the bill


A procedure for terminating debate, especially fillabusters, in the Senate


A procedural practice in the Senate whereby a Senator temporarily blocks the consideration of a bill or nomination


procedural practice in the Senate whereby a senator refuses to relinquish the floor and thereby delays proceedings and prevents a vote on a controversial issue

Joint Committee

composed of members of the House of Rep. and the Senate; oversee the Library of Congress and conduct investigations

Special or Select Committee

A congressional committee created for a specific purpose; sometimes to conduct an investigation

Standing Committee (examples)

House-Agriculture, Armed Services, Budget, Education
Senate-Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs


make decisions about how much money government will spend on its programs and operations

Rules and Administration Committee

in both chambers; determines the basic operations of their chamber

Seniority Rule

legislative practice that assigns the chair of a committee or subcommittee to the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service on the committee

Conference Committee

Appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different form


an official who is expected to represent the views of his or her constituents even when personally holding different views; one interpretation of rule of a legislator


official who is expected to vote independently based on his or her judgement of the circumstances; one interpretation of the role of a legislator


mutual aid and vote trading among legislators

Discharge Petition

Peition if signed by a majority of the members of the House of the Rep. will pry a bill from committee and bring it to the floor for consideration


provision attached to a bill- to which it may or may not be related - in order to secure its passage or defeat

Pocket Veto

veto exercised by the president after Congress has adjorned; if president takes no action for ten days, the bill does not become law and is not returned to COngress for a possible override

Number: 435

number of members in the House

Number: 100

number of Senators

Number: 1/3

number of Senators up for election every two years

Number: 2

term of representatives; number of senators per state

Number: 6

term of a Senator

Number: 2/3

amount needed for an amendment to go to the states; number of votes needed to override a veto; of a vote in House to impeach

Number: 3/5

to call cloture

Watching congressional debates on C-SPAM will not influence this group, but emails, letters and calls will.

the common citizen

Why do members of Congress listen to their constituents?

In order to be re-elected

This document says the House has to be apportioned by population

The Constitution; The apportioned must be done by Congress

What body draws the House of Rep. districts after the census is done?

The state Government

Which body has more rules?

House of Representatives

Who has the impeachment power?

House of Representatives

Who has the power to try an impeachment?


Who presides over the House?

Speaker of the House (Also known as the majority leader)

Who is it that the House has to formally choose?

The Speaker of the House

What party is the Speaker always from?

Majority Party

Who is it that presides over the Senate other than the V.P.?

President Pro Tempore

What does the makup of Congress look like?

Older, white, male, educated, middle-classed, lawyer

Where do most bills die?


How influential are interest groups to congress on controversial issues?

Very Influential

How influential are constituents to Congress on controversial issues?

Very influential

How influential are state legislatures to Congress on controversial issues?

Not very influential

Who does the Constitution say should punish members of Congress when it is needed?

Congress itself

If Congress is in session and the President does not sign the bill what happens to it?

it automatically passes and becomes a law

What advantage does incumbents have over their challenger>

they already have been elected; recognition of the name, experience, easily raise money, greater access to media

Which of the three branches was expected to be the most powerful?


Who is it that appoints select and conference committees, grants recognition of a member and directs general business on the floor?

the speaker of the House

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