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separation of powers

division of governmental power among several institutions that must cooperate in decision making

checks and balances

mechanisms thru which each gov branch participates in/influences activities of other branches

legislative supremacy

preeminence of Congress over other branches

divided government

when one party controls presidency and opposing party controls one/both houses

recess appointments

a way for president to bypass checks and balances; fill vacancies


thoughts of sep of powers


mingling powers creates...

judicial review

marbury v. madison
sup court decides constitutionality of laws


the president gets blamed for...

president pro tempore

to lead house when VP is gone

speaker of house

leads house


vice presidency
exec dep'ts


congress -house and senate
pro tempore


sup court
lower courts


are not part of the constitution


framers designed system to be... not efficient


gov can't function; like can't pass a law

congress powers

force - raise and reg military
money - taxes
declare war
reg foreign commerce

individual constituents, organized interests, district as a whole

congress must consider: (3)


reps who vote re preferences of constituency


reps who vote based on what they think is best for constituency

agency representation

constituents hire/fire reps
voting them in/out


house and senate system

25, 30

min age: house, senate

7, 9

citizenship: h, s


term: h s


you run for office when you're in it already
high level incumbents
already have constituency, service, dependable, MONEY
more of adv. in senate -- bigger constituency


apportioning voters in districts to favor one party
further politically separated districts

party cauces

party conference: party gets together to talk about candidates, strategize
elect house leaders, speaker, maj and minority, whips

standing committee:

permanent committee with power to propose and write leg about a subject
hierarchy: seniority

staff agencies


Congressional Research Service

research stuff!!!
FACTS of policies/proposals

General accounting office

financial/administrative affairs of gov agencies/programs

congressional budget office

economic costs of programs


group of reps/senators that shares opinions, interests, identifiers....

house policy committee

house: give committee assignments

senate steering committee

senate: give committee assignments

incumbency advantage

=$ contributions
=constituent service
=(house) gerrymandering


directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects
will benefit constituent directly

pork barrels

funds for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district
benefits constituents, for their election support

committee deliberation

1st step of bill death
happens in house, then senate
goes to standing committees
more it goes to - more unlikely to pass

house rules committee

determines rules that will govern action on a bill
closed/open rule

closed rule

limits floor debate/amendments
-favored by bill supporters

open rule

permits floor debate, easy amendments to weaken bill
-favored by bill opponents


2nd step of bill death
speaker of h and maj senate leader recognize people to speak


SENATE tactic to prevent action of leg you oppose:
just hold the floor until majority backs down since senators have unlimited speaking time


overrides filibuster
needs supermajority of 60 botes to end filibuster
basically this makes it so all legislations need 60 votes

conference committee

3rd step of bill death
joint committee; to reconcile House and senate versions

president action

4th step of bill death
vetoes or signs


no to bill.

2/3 vote of each house

congress can override pres's veto with...

pocket veto

pres takes no formal action on bill - congress adjourns before 10 days, and he's vetoed it by not signing it

poison pill amendment

opponents add something to bill that makes original supporters withdraw support

discharge petition

bring the bill on floor w/o committee deliberation/consent of house/senate leader

non germanc

amendment that is added and has nothing to do with bill

party unity

maj leader promotes this
want errybody to vote to pass stuff

house has more bc majority leaders have more procedural control

house has

maj leader of both parties

senate has

pres pro tempore
maj leader of both parties

constituency influence

reelect rep/senator!
but most don't know what policies rep supports, still rep choices scrutinized later

interest groups

have influence on reps - constituent followers - political action groups, corporations, etc, donate to incubents and reps make decisions that favor contributors

committee system

private voting
disguise decisions from contributors, less public

party vote

when in h or s half, one party, and half, opp party, take opposing positions

more party voting now than past

roll call votes


resources of party leaders

-committee assignments
-access to the floor
-whip system
maintain CLARITY of party lines


you scratch my back on this bill i'll scratch yours on this one


s and h: supervise exec thru hearings and investigations to locate inefficiency or abuse of power, fulfilling intent of law, to change/abolish program


money congress gives to exec agency to spend - oversight during hearings


specific bill


broad problem: many bills

advice and consent

SENATE approves/rejects pres apptmts, treaties, etc

1/2 majority

appointment consent of senate needs...
top exec officers, ambassadors, fed judges

2/3 majority

treatie consent of senate needs...

executive agreements

like treaties w/o senate consent - loophole


charging of pres. with treason, bribery, or high crime/misdemeanor - bring him/her before congress to determine guilt
guard 'gainst TYRANNY

grand jury

in impeachment, house is... and votes first needs 1/2 majority

trial jury

in impeachment, senate is... and votes second needs 2/3 majority

distributive tendency

bill is added to or revised to spread benefits widely among rep's districts

efficiency v. representation

stronger central leadership v. more representation?


powers granted to pres under constitution

war powers resolution

congress said pres must inform congress of military campaign and must ask permission... pres's ignore

executive agreement

treaty without congress

executive privilege

confidentiality of pres communications

line item veto

president can strike out provisions of bill - congress took away this power. now pres can accept or reject only entire bill

legislative initiative

pres's inherent power to bring legislative agenda/proposal before congress

executive order

regulation issued by pres thats like a law - no congress - agencies enforce


powers that congress has but gives to president
ex: rule making for laaws


powers president claims not expressed in constitution but inferred from it
ex. leg initiative

pres expressed

commander in chief
commission officer
convene congress
receive ambassadors
laws faithfully executed
yield executive powers
appoint officials


administrators of major departments of federal gov, appted by pres with senate consent
-not in constitution

national security council

inner cabinet: foreign policy advisory council, white house staff is preferred by pres

white house staff

advisors to pres, crucial info source, insulates pres from outside info

executive office of president

permanent agencies that peform management tasks for pres, like OMB
institutional presidency
influence shape nat'l leg and flow of money

office of management and budget

prepare natl budget, reports on agency activities, part of all pres responsibility
budgeting now top down - sets budget guidelines for agencies as well as congress


purpose 1: replace pres in vacancy
2: make tie breaking senate vote

pres expands power

popular mobilization

administration power

regulatory review
executive orders


complex structure of offices, tasks, rules, principles of organization employed by large scale institutions to coordinate work of personnel

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