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Political Science

chapter 13

bicameral legislature a lawmaking body made up of two chambers or parts
filibuster an attempt to defeat a bill in the Senate by talking indefinitely, thus preventing the Senate from taking action on the bill.
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.
safe districts districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55 percent or more.
conservative coalition an alliance between Republican and conservative Democrats.
majority leader the legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of seats in the House or the Senate.
minority leader the legislative leader elected by party members holding a minority of seats in the House or the Senate.
whip a senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking.
party polarization a vote in which a majority of Democratic legislators oppose a majority of Republican legislators.
caucus an association of congress members created to advance a political ideology or a regional, ethnic, or economic interest.
standing committees permenently legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area.
select committees congressional committees appointed for a limited time and purpose.
joint committees committees on which both senators and representatives serve.
conference committees a joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the same bill.
public bill a legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern.
private bill a legislative bill that deals only with specific, private, personal, or local matters.
simple resolution an expression of opinion either in the House or Senate to settle procedural matters in either body.
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.
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.
multiple referral a congressional process whereby a bill may be referred to several important committees.
sequential referral a congressional process by which a Speaker may send a bill to a second committee after the first is finished acting.
discharge petition a device by which any member of the House, after a committee has had the bill for thirty days, may petition to have it brought to the floor.
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.
open rule an order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor.
restrictive rule an order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor.
quorum the minimum number members who must be present for business to be conducted in Congress.
quorum call a roll call in either house of Congress to see whether the minimum number of representatives required to conduct business is present.
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 sot 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, permitting members to vote quickly or anonymously 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 the “nays” second.
roll-call vote a congressional voting 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 to mail letters to their constituents free of charge by substituting their facsimile signature for postage.
The Evolution of Congress The intent of the Framers: to impose the concentration of power in a single institution and to balance large and small states (bicmaeralism). They expected Congress to be the dominant institution.
Organization of the House Historically, power struggles have ocurred between members and leadership. 1994 brought changes. Reduced the number of committees and subcommittees. The Speaker dominated the selection of committee chairs. The Speaker set the agenda (Contract with America
Evolution of the Senate The Senate escaped many of the tensions encountered by the House. The major struggle in the Senate was about how its members should be chosen; 17th amentdment (1913). The filibuster is another major issue: restricted by rule 22 (1917), which allows a vote
Who is in Congress? The House has become less male and less white. Membership in Congress became a career. Incumbents still have a great electoral advantage. But in 1994, voters opposed incumbents due to budget deficits, various policies, legislative-executive bickering,and
The Incumbency Advantage Media coberageis higher for incumbents. Incumbents have greater name recognition due to franking, travel to the district, news coverage. Members secure policies and programs for voters.
Member behavior Representational view, organizational view, attitudinal view.
Representational view members vote to please their constituents, in order to secure re-election.
Organizational view where constituency interests are not vitally at stake, members primarily respond to cues from colleagues.
Attitudinal view the member's ideology determineis his/her vote.
Party Structure in the Senate President pro tempore presides; this is the member with most seniority in majority party (a largely honorific office.) Leaders are the majority leader and the minority leader, elected by their respective party members.
Party Structure in the Senate Party whips: keep leaders informed, round up voted, count noses. Each party has a policy committee: schedules Senate business, prioritizes bills. Committee assignments are handled by a group of Senators, each for their own party.
Party Structure in the House Speaker of the House is leader of majority party and presides over House. Majority leader and minority leader: leaders on the floor. Party whips keep leaders informed and round up votes. Committee assignments and legislative schedule are set by each party
Congressional Caucuses caucus, intra-party caucuses, personl interest caucuses, constituency caucuses.
Caucus an association of members of Congres created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest.
Intra-party caucuses members share a similar ideology
Personal interest caucuses members share an interes in an issue.
Constituency caucuses established to represent groups, regions or both.
Committees Committees are the most important organizational feature in congress. Consider bills or legislative proposals. maintain oversight of executive agencies. Conduct investigations.
Types of Committees Standing committees, select committees, joint committees, conference committee.
Committee Practices The number of committees has varied; significant cuts in number of House committees in 1995, and in the number of House and Senate subcommittees. Majority party has majority of seats on the committees and names the chair.
Congressional Staff Constituenct service is a major task of memebers staff. Legislative functions of staff include devising proposals, negotiatiating agreements, organizing hearings, and meeting with lobbyists and administratiors. Members' staff consider themselves advocates
How a Bill becomes a Law bill must be introduced by a member of Congress. Bill is referred to a committee for consideration by either Speaker or presiding officer of the Senate. Revenue bills must originate in the House. Most bills die in committee. After hearings and mark-up ses
Created by: Vail86