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57 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
bicameral legislature
A lawmaking body made up of two chambers or parts. The U.S. Congress is a bicameral legislature composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
A prolonged speech or series of speeches made to delay action in a legislative assembly.
Marginal districts
Districts that have close elections (when the winner gets less than 55% of the vote)
Safe districts
Districts where incumbents win by wide margins (55% or more)
Conservative coalition
An alliance between republicans and conservative Democrats
Results from having districts of very unequal sizes
Drawing a district boundary in some bizaree or unusual shape to make it easy for the candidate of one party to win election in that district
Majority-Minority districts
Congressional districts designed to make it easier for minority citizens to elect minority representatives
Descriptive representation
The statistical correspondence of the demographic characteristics of representatives w/those of their constituents.Also known as categorical.
Substantive representation
The correspondence between representatives' opinions and those of their constituents.
Sophomore surge
An increase in the votes that congressional candidates usually get when they 1st run for reelection
Majority leader
The legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of seats in the House of Repos. or the Senate
Minority leader
The legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the House of Reps, or the Senate. Also floor leader.
A senator who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking; rounds up members when important votes are to be taken, and attempts to keep a nose count on how the voting on a controversial issue is likely to go.
Party unity vote
A vote in which a majority of voting Dem. oppose a majority of voting Republicans.
An association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest.
Standing committees
More or less permanent bodies w/ specified legislative responsibilities
Selected committees
Groups appointed for a limited purpose and usually lasting only a few congresses
Joint committes
Those on which both reps. and senators serve.
Conference committees
Made up of reps. and senators appointed to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the same piece of legislation before final passage. (type ogf joint committee)
Public bill
Pertaining to public affairs generally
Private bill
Pertaining to a particular individual such as a person pressing a financial claim against the government or seeking special permission to become a naturalized citizen
Simple resolution
Used for such matters as establishing the rules under which each body will operate.
Concurrent resolution
Settles housekeeping and procedural matters that affect both houses.
Joint resolution
Requires the approval of both houses and the signature of the president; it is the same as a law. Also used to propose a constitutional amendment it which case the signature of the president is not needed.
Multiple referrals
A process whereby a bill may now be referred to several committees that simulatneously consider it in whole or in part
Sequential referral
A process by which a speaker may send a bill to send a bill to a second committee after the first is finished acting or may refer parts of the bil to separate committees.
Discharge petition
A device by which any member of the House, after a committee has had a bill for thirty days, may petition to have it brought to the floor.
Closed rule
An order from the House Rules Committee in the House of Reps. that sets a time limit on debate and forbids a particular bill from being amended on the legislative floor.
Open rule
An order from the House of Rules Committee in the House of Reps., that permits a bill to be amended on the legislative floor.
Restrictive rule
An order from the House Rules Committee in the House of Reps. that permits certain kinds of amendments but not others to be made to a bill on the legislative floor.
Quorum call
A calling of the roll in either house of Congress to see whether the number of representatives in attendance meets the minimum number required to conduct official business.
Amendments on matters unrelated to a bill that are added to an important bill so that they will "ride" to passage through the Congress.
Christmas tree bill
A bill that has lots of riders
Cloture rule
A rule used by the Senate to end or limit debate
Double tracking
A procedure to keep the Senate going during a filibuster in which the disputed bill is shelved temporarily so that the Senate can get on with other business.
Voice vote
A congressional voting procedure in which members shout "yea" in approval or "nay" in disapproval; allows members to vote quickly or anoymously on bills.
Division vote
A congressional voting procedure in which members stand and are counted.
Teller vote
A congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two tellers, the "yeas" first and then the "nays".
Roll-call vote
A congressional voing procedure that consists of members answering "yea" or "nay" to their names.
Pork barrel legislation
Legislation that gives tangible benefits to constituents in several districts or states in the hope of winning their votes in return.
Franking privilege
The ability of members of Congress to mail letters to their constituents free of charge by substituting their facsimile signature for postage.
Divided government
A government in which one party controls the White House and another party controls one or both houses of Congress.
Unified government
A government in which the same part controls both the White House and both houses of Congress.
Representative democracy
A political system in which leaders and representatives acquire political power by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote.
Direct democracy
A political system in which all or most citizens partciapte directly by either holding office or making policy.
Pyramid structure
A method of organizing a president's staff in which most presidental assistants report through a hierarchy to the president's chief of staff.
Circular structure
A method of organizing a presidnet's staff in which several presidental assistants report directly to the president.
Ad hoc structure
A method of organizing a president's staff in which several task forces, committees, and informal groups of friends and advisers deal directly with the president.
The fringe benefits of office
The heads of the 14 major executive departments.
Veto message
One of two ways for a pres. to disapprove abill. This must be sent to Congress within ten days after the presidnet receives it.
Pocket veto
If the president does not sign the bill within ten days of his receiving it and Congress has adjourned within that time, that bill does not become a law.
Line-item veto
The powerof an executive to veto some provisions in an approriations bill while approving others. The president does not have the right to exercise a line-item veto and must approve or reject an entire approriation bill.
Legislative veto
The rejection of a presidential or administrative-agency action by a vote of one or both houses of Congress without the consent of the president; declared unconstitutional in 1983
Lame duck
A politician who is still in office after having lost a re-election bid.
A formal accusation against a public official by the lower house of a legislative body.