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Poli Sci - Congress

TermDefinition
partisan polarization a vote in which the majority of one political party opposes the majority of another
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 win in close elections, usually by <55% of votes
safe districts districts where incumbents win by large margins, >55%
conservative coalition an alliance between Republicans and conservative Democrats (generally from the South)
president pro tempore of the Senate a leader from majority party, generally has the greatest seniority; stands as presiding officer when Vice President is absent
majority leader leader from the majority party, schedules the Senate's agenda
minority leader leader from the minority party, assists in scheduling the agenda
whip a senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking
Policy Committee committee for each party that decides the order of importance of various bills
Speaker (of the House) presiding officer of the House and leader of the majority party
party vote Stricter measure: when 90% or more of one party in either house of Congress vote together against 90% of the opposing party; looser measure: 50%
caucus an association of congressional members created to advance a political ideology or a regional, ethnic, or economic interest
standing committees permanently established 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 committee joint committees appointed to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the same bill
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
restrictive 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
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
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
quorum the minimum number of members who must be present for business to be conducted in Congress
riders 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
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 so 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
roll-call vote a congressional voting procedure that consists of members answering "yea" or "nay" to their names
teller vote a congressional voting procedure in which members pass between two tellers, the "yeas" first and the "nays" second
veto literally, "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
divided government one party controls the White House and another party controls one or both houses of Congress
unified government the same party controls the White House and both houses of Congress
earmarks "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
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 the facsimile signature for postage
Created by: gray39770