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19 terms

AP Gov Unit 4 Vocab

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incumbents
those already holding office; usually win elections
casework
activities of members of congress that help constituents as individuals
pork barrel
list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions available in a congressional district
bicameral legislature
a legislature divided into two hours
house rules committee
an institution unique to the House of Representatives that reviews all bills (except revenue, budget, and appropriations bills) coming from a House committee before they go to the full house
filibuster
a strategy unique to the Senate whereby opponents of a piece of legislation try to talk it to death
speaker of the house
an office mandated by the Constitution; the speaker is chosen in practice by the majority party, has both formal and informal powers, and is second in line to suceed the presidency should that office become vacant
majority leader
the principal partisan ally of the Speaker of the House or the party's manager in the Senate; the majority leader is responsible for scheduling bills, influencing committee assignments, and rounding up votes in behalf of the party's legislative positions
whips
party leaders who work with the majority leader or minority leader to count votes beforehand and lean on waverers whose votes are crucial to a bill favored by the party
minority leader
the principal leader of the minority party in the House of Representatives or in the SEnate
standing committees
separate subject-matter committees in each house of Congress that handle bills in different policy areas
joint committees
congressional committees on a few subject-matter areas with membership drawn from both houses
conference committees
congressional committees formed when the Senate and the House pass a particular bill in different forms. Party leadership appoints members from each house to iron out the differences and bring back a single bill
select committees
congressional committees appointed for a specific purpose, such as the Watergate investigation
legislative oversight
congress' monitoring of the bureaucracy and its administration of policy, performed mainly through hearings
committee chairs
the most important influencers of the congressional agenda; they play dominant roles in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing subcommittees, and managing committee bills when they are brought before the full house
seniority system
a simple rule for picking committee chairs, in effect until the 1970's
caucus (congressional)
a group of members of Congress sharing some interest or characteristic; most are composed of members from both parties and from both houses
bill
a proposed law, drafted in precise, legal language; anyone can draft a bill, but only a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate can formally submit a bill for consideration