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Franking Privilege

Benefit allowing members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage free


The people and interests that an elected official represents

Inherent Powers

Powers the Constitution is presumed to have delegated of the National Government because it is the government of a sovereign state within the world community


The legal proceeding by which a bankrupt person's assets are distributed among those to whom he or she owns debts


To bring formal charges against a public official; the House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach civil officers of the United States

Indirect Tax

A tax levied on one party but passed on to another for payment


Various tactics (usually long speeches( aimed at defeating a bill in a legislative body by preventing a final vote; associated with the U.S. Senate

Discharge Petition

A procedure enabling members to force a bill that has been pigeonholed in committee onto the floor for consideration


The practice of drawing electoral district lines (the boundaries of the geographic area from which a candidate is elected to a public office in order to limit the voting strength of a particular group or party.

Expressed Powers

Those delegated powers of the National Government that are spelled out, expressly, in the Constitution. Also called the enumerated powers.

Strict/Liberal Constructionist

One who argues a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's provisions, in particular those granting powers to the Federal Government


The exclusive, legal, right of a person to reproduce, publish, and sell his or her own literary, musical or artistic creations.

commerce power

Exclusive power of Congress to regulate interstate and foreign trade

party caucus

The member of the U.S. Senate or of the upper house of a state's legislature, chosen to preside in the absence of the president of the Senate


Least number of members who must be present for a legislative body to conduct business; majority

Implied Powers

Those delegated powers of the National government that are suggested by the expressed powers out in the Constitution, those necessary and proper to carry out the expressed powers.

Legal Tender

Any kind of money that a creditor, must, by law, accept in payment for debts

Direct Tax

A tax that must be paid by the person on whom it is levied


Unpopular provision added to an important bill certain to pass so that it will "ride" through the legislative process


A measure relating to the business of either house, or expressing an opinion; does not have the force of law and does not require the President's signature

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