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55 Cards in this Set

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Explain how the constitutional structure of Congress emerged during the Federal Convention.
It is a product of the great compromise. Bicameral legislature was designed to resolve problems.
What was the difference between the demands of the large and small states in the government?
The large states wanted national representation and the small states wanted protection of their rights.
How are the seats allocated and how long are the terms in the House?
The House seats are allocated by population and the members are elected by the citizens. The House has two year terms.
How are the seats in the Senate allocated and how long are the terms?
Senate has two members from each state chosen by the legislature. The Senate has sex year terms.
What are the powers of Congress? How does each chamber differ in terms of its powers?
Article I, Section 8. The enumerated powers of Congress. The Necessary and Proper Clause states that congress can make any laws that are necessary and proper. This is the single most extensive grant of power in the constitution. Congress also has authority on foreign affairs. Only congress may declare war, raise and finance an army and navy, and call out the state militias.
What powers are specific to the Senate?
The Senate has “special powers” such as the “advise and consent” capacity. The Senate also ratifies treaties and confirms presidential appointments of the Supreme Court justices and top executive branch positions.
What powers are specific to the House?
The House takes care of bills that raise revenue, Ways and Means Committee. The Senate has an unrestricted right to amend them.
A system in which there are separate elections for president and congress and voting in congressional districts by plurality vote.
electoral system
How does the electoral system affect the politics of Congress?
Congress is much more based on the person that you are voting in instead of the party because of the electoral system. This system requires a plurality vote.
Areas that are divided within the states and certain representatives from the House represent each district.
Congressional districts
Why do congressional districts change?
They change every two years with the representatives and they change because population is always changing. It is required that the districts have equal population in all of them so they continue to change the lines of the districts
Why are congressional politics more candidate-centered than party-centered and what are the implications of this fact?
They are more candidate based because over the years, the candidates have become more serious about their specific areas which has steered them away from focusing just on what their party wanted. The effects of this shift is that now, candidates are constantly working incredibly hard to get re-elected because it’s no longer based on just their party.
Does incumbency guarantee reelection to the House or Senate? Why or why not?
No. The reelection rate is very high, but it is not a guarantee.
How do national politics affect congressional races?
Congressional candidates are still better off if their presidential candidate wins. They still have the ability of the president to pull the party’s other candidates into office. In midterm elections, the president’s party almost always loses congressional seats, but the size of the loss depends on the national economy and the president.
What are the characteristics of those who serve in Congress?
Almost all of the members have graduated from college. 41 percent have law degrees. Business is the next most common prior occupation. A large majority are professionals of some kind. Only a handful has blue-collar backgrounds. Most have served in lower elected offices. The majority of Congress is white and male
What are the four problems that Congress needs to overcome in order to be an effective law-making body?
1) The Need for Information
2) Coordination problems
3) Resolving conflicts
4) Organizing congress
What role does “party” play in the House and the Senate?
Decisions in Congress are based off of the majority vote and if you have a strong coalition within your party then you will have the ability to pass so much legislation that concurs with your parties’ needs.
What types of committees have evolved in Congress?
Standing committees, Special and select committees, Joint committees, Ad hoc committees and conference committees
Any regular committee that holds on through each Congress and does not change
standing committees
A temporary legislative committee created for a specific purpose and dissolved after its tasks are completed
special and select committees
Permanent congressional committees made up of members of both the House and the Senate. _______ committees do not have any legislative authority; they monitor specific activities and compile reports of the executive branch
joint committees
A congressional committee appointed for a limited time to design and report a specific piece of legislation if it is on a sensitive subject
ad hoc committees
A temporary joint committee of the House and Senate appointed to reconcile the differences between the two chambers on a particular piece of legislation
conference committees
How are committee assignments made?
The Speaker of the House appoints people and it is done in a very partisan manner.
Why are committees powerful?
Committees are powerful because they have the chance to separately work with legislation that comes through Congress. The majority party can pass tons of legislation that they find important if they work the system right.
How does a bill become a law?
1) Legislation is introduced
2) It is assigned to a committee
3) Committee holds a hearing for all of the interested parties to get a say in the legislation
4) The bill is reported and they mark it up
5) The report is written and it is sent out to be scheduled for debate
6) Both The Senate and the House votes on the legislation
7) It goes to the president to either be passed, vetoed or pocket vetoed
What is the president’s role with regard to a bill? What three things can a president do in regards to a bill?
1) Veto it immediately
2) Ignore the bill and it will become a law within 10 days or if Congress is out of session after the 10 days then it becomes a pocket veto and the legislation gets thrown away
3) Sign the bill to make it a law
What do we mean when we say there is a ‘bias against action’ in Congress?
It is far easier to kill a bill than to pass one. Passage requires a sustained sequence of victories.
The activity undertaken by members of Congress and their staffs to solve constituents’ problems with government agencies
Casework
An order from the House Rules Committee limiting floor debate on a particular bill and disallowing or limiting amendments
Closed rule
A provision governing debate of a pending bill and permitting any germane amendment to be offered on the floor of the House
Open rule
This court decision was made to say that house districts must have equal populations
Wesberry vs. Sanders
A tactic used in the Senate to halt action on a bill. It involves making long speeches until the majority retreats. Senators once holding the floor, have unlimited time to speak unless a cloture vote is passed by three-fifths of the members
filibuster
A parliamentary procedure used to close debate. ________ is used in the senate to cut off filibusters. Under the current Senate rules, three-fifths of senators, or sixty must vote for _______ to halt a filibuster
cloture
A benefit that every eligible person has a legal right to receive and that cannot be taken away without a change in legislation of due process in court
entitlement
Drawing legislative districts in such a way as to give one political party a disproportionately large share of seats for the share of votes its candidates win
gerrymandering
The result of legislative vote trading. For example, legislators representing urban districts may vote for an agricultural bill provided that legislators from rural districts vote for a mass transit bill
logrolling
The formal leader of the party controlling a minority of the seats in the House or the Senate
minority leader
The formal leader of the party controlling a majority of the seats in the House or the Senate. In the Senate the _________ is the head of the majority party. In the House the ___________ ranks second in the party hierarchy behind the Speaker
majority leader
The presiding officer of the House of Representatives. The ________ is elected at the beginning of each congressional session on a party-line vote. As head of the majority party, the _________ has substantial control over the legislative agenda of the House
The Speaker of the House
The act of sending a proposed piece of legislation to more than one committee in the same chamber
multiple referral
A method by which the president vetoes a bill passed by both houses of Congress by failing to act on it within ten days of Congress’s adjournment
pocket veto
When Congress gets two-thirds vote in both chambers that overrides the president’s veto
override
A federally registered fund-raising group that pools money from individuals to give to political candidates and parties
PAC: Political action committee
Legislation that provides members of Congress with federal projects and programs for their individual districts
pork barrel legislation
In the absence of the vice president, the formal presiding officer of the Senate. The honor is usually conferred on the senior member of the majority party, but the post is sometimes rotated among senators of the majority party
president pro tempore
An electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded to candidates or parties in proportion to the percentage of votes received
proportional representation
A provision that governs consideration of a bill and that specifies and limits the kinds of amendments that may be made on the floor of the House of Representatives
restricted rule
An amendment to a bill that is not germane to the legislation
rider
A provision that governs consideration of a bill by the House of Representatives by specifying how the bill is to be debated and amended
a rule
The congressional practice of appointing as committee or subcommittee chairs the members of the majority with the most years of committee service
seniority rule
The act of voting for candidates from different political parties for different offices—for example, voting for a Republican for president and a Democrat for senator
ticket splitting
Feeding off of other people’s popularity in order to get votes in an election. The consequence of one popular candidate in an election drawing votes for other members of the same party
coattails
A unanimous resolution in the Senate restricting debate and limiting amendments to bills on the floor
unanimous consent agreement
A member of a legislative party who acts as the communicator between the party leadership and the rank and file. The _____ polls members on their voting intentions, prepares bill summaries, and assists the leadership in various other tasks
whip