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41 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
What is Congress?
bicameral legislature responsible for writing the laws of the nation, oversees bureaucracy, builds consensuses, clarifies policy, legitimizes, expresses diversity
What is a census?
a questionnaire given by the fed. gov. to count population, these results then help formulate the redrawing of congressional district boundaries
What is congressional reapportionment?
redrawing congressional boundaries, done by each state legislature
What is gerrymandering?
drawing the district boundaries to give one party an advantage in the future elections
What are the requirements to be a Representative?
must reside in the district they represent, be a citizen of the state, be at least 25 years old
What is 'packing'?
isolating minorities into one district
What is 'cracking'
dividing minorities across many districts
What is a guard against legislative usurpation (control of one house over the other)
both houses have unique but complementary powers
What are the powers delegated to the legislature?
taxing, borrowing money, regulating commerce, raising an army, creating and making rules for the federal courts, establishing neutralization laws, establishing post offices, providing for a militia, making any 'necessary and proper' law
What is the House Ways and Means Committee?
it is the committee that oversees taxing and spending legislation
only the House may initiate tax laws and spending bills, Senate can only amend these revenue bills
What are bills of attainder?
laws that find people guilty of a crime w/out a trial and sentence them to prison
What are ex post facto laws?
laws that punish people for actions made before the behavior was made criminal
What are two other actions Congress may not do?
may not levy export taxes or grant titles of nobility- these same prohibitions apply to states
What is oversight?
through committees and subcommittes, Congress reviews work of federal agencies- checks the executive branch
What is public education?
committee hearings and floor debates that increase public awareness of gov. and social problems
What is representing consituents within the government?
as well as voting on laws, Congresspeople also help constituents in thier dealings with the government
Who is the sponor of a bill?
the member of Congress who introduces the bill- anyonecan write the bill but only Congresspeople can introduce and sponsor them
What is a problem about the bicameral nature of Congress?
all bills must pass both houses in exactly the same form
What is the House Rules Committee?
committee responsible for determining how long a bill will be debated and whether to allow an open or closed rulle for amendments to the bill
How can the Rules Committee kill a bill?
it can delay a vote or make it easy for opponents to add killer amendments, can also bring bills up for immediate floor vote
What are filibusters?
they occur when senators speak with no intention of stopping, with an intent to delay a vote on a bill and to tie up the work of the Senate
How are filibusters ended?
by a cloture, but this requires the votes of 60 members which is difficult to achieve when both parties are evenly represented
What are riders?
amendments to a bill and they don't have to be related to the bill which allows senators to try to attach pet issues or projects for thier home state
What is pork barrel?
'pet project' riders designed to bring federal money to a home state
What is a conference committee?
formed from both houses when the versions of the bills are different, it tries to negotiate a compromise bill
What options does a president have for bills?
if he does nothing for ten days the bill becomes law w/out his signature, if congress closes w/in those 10 days the president must sign every bill into law (those not signed are 'pocket vetoed'), or he can veto the bill
What options does Congress have after a veto?
it can make the required changes or it can try to override the beto by a two-thirds vote in both houses
What is the line-item veto?
introduced in 1996, it gave president power to veto only individual sections of a bill, struck down in 1998 by Clinton vs. New York City
What advantages does the majority party of each house of Congress have?
majority party holds all the committee chairs and a majority of the seats on each committee, effectively controlling all the business of the committee
How is who is the chair decided?
the most senior majority party member within the committee is the chair, the most senior minority party member within the committee is the ranking member
What is a subcommittee?
a smaller group within the committee, often gets a bill and debates about it before it goes to debate within the committee
What are standing committees?
specialized, permanent committees such as the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Judiciary committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee -20 standing committees in House, 18 in Senate
What are joint committees?
made up of members of both house and senate, normally used for communicating to the public or for investigations
What are select committees?
temporary committees organized in each house for some special purpose, usually to carry out investigations
What are conference committees?
they are temporary, including members from the committees of the two houses who were responsible for writing the bill, to try to reach a compromise on a bill
What is a pigeonholed bill?
a bill stuck in a Senate or House committee
What is a discharge petition?
a mechanism to force a bill out of committee
Who is the leader of the House?
Speaker, chosen by majority party in special election, majority leader keeps party members in line and helps determine party policy, the whips help keep members loyal to the party's legislative agenda
Who is the leader of the Senate?
the vice president of the US, the senate's president pro tempore is the presiding officer
What is jawboning?
president trying to influence congresspeople
What is logrolling?
colleagues trying to help each other out on bills