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Legislative Branch

KHS Congress

private bill Legislation that pertains to a particular individual, such as a person pressing a financial claim against the government or seeking special permission to become a naturlaized citizen.
public bill legislation that pertains to public affairs generally
Christmas tree bill A bill with a large number of riders.
Rider an amendment on a matter unrelated to a bill that it is added to so that it will get passed.
Rules Committee In the House of Representatives, the committee that decides which bills come up for a vote, in what order, and under what restrictions on length of debate and on the right to offer amendments.
select committee Congressional committee appointed for a limited time period and purpose.
standing committee permanent committees of each house with the power to report bills.
simple resolution passed by either house to establish internal chamber rules. It is not signed by the president and has no legal force.
joint resolution congressional action of both houses and with the signature of the president which has the same legal status as a law.
joint committee committe on which both representatives and senators serve.
franking privilege Congressmen may mail letters to constituents free of charge.
conference committee a special type of joint committee appointed to resolve differences in House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation.
cloture rule End debate in the Senate with 3/5 approval (60 votes) with the purpose of ending a filibuster.
concurrent resolution used to settle housekeeping and procedural matters that affect both houses. Not signed by president and do not have force of law.
bicameral two house legislature
reapportionment redistribution of House seats due to changes in population as revealed by the census
redistricting redrawing of district voting lines
gerrymandering redistricting to give one political party an electoral majority
expressed (enumerated) powers powers written in the constitution
implied powers powers that are not expressly written but are suggested by enumerated powers
necessary and proper clause (elastic) power given to Congress to make any law deemed necessary to carry out an enumerated power
filibuster a prolonged speech or debate in the Senate used to kill a measure by talking it to death.
pork-barrel legislation legislation that gives tangible benefits to constituents in hopes of winning their votes.
incumbent person currently in office
majority leader legislative leader elected by party members who manages the party's strategies and program. In Senate, decides on which bills will be debated.
minority leader head of minority party who manages the party's strategy and program. In Senate, decides on which bills will be debated with majority leader.
caucus (congressional) An association of members of Congress. Party caucuses elect leaders, approve committee assignments, elect commitee leaders, build consensus on policy.
president pro tempore Serves as presiding officer of the Senate - the most senior member of the Senate.
Speaker of the House Presiding officer of the House, elected by House, spokesperson for majority party, third in line if Pres and VP die, recognize members on floor, rule if motion is germane, assign bills to committee, appoint members to committee, appoint to Rules Committee
majority whip help the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking, round up members for votes, take tallies members stances before votes.
minority whip help the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking, round up members for votes, take tallies members stances before votes.
President of the Senate Vice President of U.S., cannot participate in floor debates, votes only break a tie
Congressional Budget Office Created in 1974 to advise Congress on the economic effects of spending programs, provide info on cost of proposed policies, & prepare analyses of president's budget proposal
Congresional Research Service Created in 1914 to keep track of major bills and provide summaries of legislation for members of Congress.
General Accountability (Accounting) Office Created in 1921 to perform routine audits of the money spent by executive departments. Investigates agencies and makes recommendations.
House Ways and Mean Committee All appropriation and tax legislation bills must pass through this committee in the House
logrolling One legislator supports another's pet project in return for the latter's support of his.
earmarking legislative (especially congressional) provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects
congressional staff works to assist congressmen with casework and legislation by devising proprosals, negotiating agreements, organizing hearings, and meeting with lobbyists and administrators
Wesberry vs. Sanders Redistricting case which established the one person, one vote rule.
Created by: afailoni