AP US Government and Politics - Congress Vocabulary

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44 Terms
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bicameral legislature
a lawmaking body made up of two chambers or parts
an association of congressional members created to advance a political ideology or a regional, ethnic, or economic interest
closed rule
an order from the House Rules Committee that sets a time limit on debate; forbids a bill from being amended on the floor
cloture rule
a rule by the Senate to end or limit debate
concurrent resolution
an expression of opinion without the force of law that requires the approval of both the House and the Senate, but not the president
conference committee
joint committees appointed to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the same bill
conservative coalition
an alliance between Republicans and conservative Democrats
a legislator who makes decisions based solely on what is best for their specific constituency
discharge petition
a device by which any member of the House, after a committee has had the bill for 30 days, may petition to have it brought to the floor
divided government
one party controls the White House and another party controls one or both houses of Congress
division vote
a congressional voting procedure in which members stand and are counted
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
"hidden" congressional provisions that direct the federal government to fund specific projects or that exempt specific persons or groups from paying specific federal taxes or fees
an attempt to defeat a bill in the Senate by talking indefinitely, thus preventing the Senate from taking action on the bill; Bernie Sanders performed an eight hour one of these, which was turned into a lo-fi hip-hop beat to relax/study to
franking privilege
the ability of members to mail letters to their constituents
drawing congressional district boundaries in such a way that it favors one particular group or party over another; usually refers to when this is done to an extreme extent
knowt flashcard image
this occurs when ideological and partisan divisions in Congress are so strong that compromise becomes difficult, and policymaking slows to halt
joint committees
committees on which both senators and representatives serve (like BBQ sandwiches)
joint resolution
a formal expression of congressional opinion that must be approved by both houses of Congress and by the president; constitutional amendments need not be signed by the president
lame duck
when an officeholder has lost reelection or is term-limited, but remains in office until their replacement is sworn in
majority leader
the legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of seats in the House or the Senate
marginal districts
political districts in which candidates elected to the House of Representatives win in close elections, typically by less than 55 percent of the vote
minority leader
the legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the House or the Senate
necessary and proper clause
found in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution; this clause has been the constitutional basis for a wide variety of laws passed and powers assumed by Congress; this is lowkey a bad definition, but it's in the name, and we have talked a lot about it in class
open rule
an order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor
partisan polarization
a vote in which a majority of Democratic legislators oppose a majority of Republican legislators
a legislator who makes a decision using a combination of the "trustee" and "delegate" mindset
party vote
there are two measures of this type of vote; by the stricter measure, a party vote occurs when 90 percent or more of the Democrats in either house of Congress vote together against 90 percent or more of the Republicans; a looser measure occurs with at least 50 percent
pork-barrel legislation
legislation that gives tangible benefits to constituents in several districts or states in the hope of winning their votes in return
the minimum number of members who must be present for business to be conducted in Congress
restrictive rule
an order from the House Rules Committee that permits certain kinds of amendments but not others to be made into a bill on the floor
amendments on matters unrelated to a bill that are added to an important bill so that they will "ride" to passage through the Congress; when a bill has many riders, it is called a Christmas-tree bill
roll-call vote
a congressional voting procedure that consists of members answering "yea" or "nay" to their names
safe districts
districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55 percent or more
select committees
Congressional committees appointed for a limited time and purpose
simple resolution
an expression of opinion either in the House or Senate to settle procedural matters in either body
the presiding officer of the House of Representatives and the leader of their party in the House; Democrat Nancy Pelosi is the current one
standing committees
permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area
teller vote
a congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two tellers, the "yeas" first and the "nays" second
a legislator who makes decisions based on their own judgement of what is best for the greater good of society or the country
unified government
the same party controls the White House and both houses of Congress
literally means "I forbid;" it refers to the power of a president to disapprove a bill; it may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of each House of Congress
voice vote
a congressional voting procedure in which members shout "yea" in approval or "nay" in disapproval, permitting members to vote quickly or anonymously on bills
a senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking