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incumbents those already holding office
casework activities of members of congress that help constituents as individuals; cutting through bureaucratic red tape to get people what they think they have a right to get
pork barrel the mighty list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions in the district of a member of congress
bicameral legislature a legilature divided into two houses
house rules committee an institution unique to the house of representatives that reviews all bills coming from a house committee before they go to the full house
filibuster a strategy unique to the senate whereby opponents of a piece of legislation try to talk it to death, based on the tradition of unlimited debate
speaker of the house an office mandated by the constitution and is chosen in practice by the majority party, has both formal and informal powers, and is second in line to succeed to the presidency should that office become vacant
majority leader the principal partisan ally of the speaker of the house or the party's wheel horse in the senate
whips party leaders who work with the majority leader or minority leader to count votes beforehand and lean on waverers whose votes are crucial to a bill favored by the party
minority leader the principal leader of the minority party in the house of representatives or in the senate
standing committees separate subject-matter committees in each house of congress that handle bills in different policy areas
joint committees congressional committees on a few subject-matter areas with membership drawn from both houses
conference committees congressional committees formed when the senate and the house pass a particular bill in different forms
select committees congressional committees appointed for a specific purpose, such as the watergate investigation
legislative oversight congress's monitoring of the bureaucracy and its administration of policy, performed mainly through hearings
committee chairs the most important influencers of the congressional agenda
seniority system a simple rule for picking committee chairs, in effect until the 1970s
caucus a group of members of congress sharing some interest or characteristic
bill a proposed law, drafted in precise, legal language.
Created by: manateresita