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Chapter 12 Congress

AP Government Chap 12 Congress

Vocab wordDefinition
incumbents Those already holding office. In congressional elections, incumbents usually win.
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 barrell The mighty list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions available in a congessional district.
bicameral legislature A legislature divided into two houses. The US Congress and every Amereican state legislature except Nebraska's are bicameral.
House Rules Committee An institution unique to the House of Representatives that review all bills (except revenue, budget, and appropriations 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. Today, 60 members present and voting can halt a filibuster.
Speaker of the House An office mandated by the Constitution. The speaker 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 manager in the Senate. The majority leader is responsible for scheduling bills, influencing committee assignments, & rounding up votes in behalf of the party's legislative positions
whips Party leaders who work with the majority and minority leaders 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 or in the Senate.
Standing committees Seperate subject-matter committees in each house of Congress that handle bills in different policy areas.
joint committees Congressional committes on a few subect-matter areas with membeership drawn from both houses.
conference committees Congressional committees formed when the Senate and the House pass a particular bill in different forms. Party leadership appoints members from each house to iron out the differences and bring back a single bill.
select committees Congressional committees appointed for a specific purpose, such as the Watergate scandal.
legislative oversight Congress' monitoring of the bureaucracy and its administration of policy, performed mainly through hearings.
committee chairs The most important influencers of the congressional agenda. They play dominant roles in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing subcommittees, and managing committee bills when they are brought before the full house.
seniority system A simple rule for picking committee chairs, in effect until the 1970s. The member who had served on the committee the longest and whose party controlled Congress became chair, regardless of party loyalty, mental state, or competence.
caucus (congrssional) A group of members of Congess sharing some interest or characteristic. Most are composed of members from both parties and from both houses.
bill A proposed law, drafted in precise, legal language. Anyone can draft a bill, but only a member of the House or the Senate can formally submit a bill for consideration.
Created by: lizkray09