Glossary of American Government Unit 2, chapture 4 (TCN)
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- Services performed by members of Congress for their constituents.
- The registration of American citizens every ten years as required by Article 1, section 2 of the Constitution.
- The method through whigh the Senate can end a filibuster by obtaining the signatures of sixteen senators and a three-fifths vote of the entire Senate
- conference committee
- A joint committee consisting of members from both the House of Representatives and the Senate who are appointed to work together in order to reconcile differences over the provisions of a particular bill.
- The citizens of an elective district to whom an elected official is responsible.
- delegate model of representation
- The model of representation that suggests that elected officials should vote strictly according to the views of their constituents.
- Time-delaying tactic used by a minority party in the Senate in order to prevent a vote on a bill. Most filibusters arise from the Senate tradition of unlimited debate.
- franking privilege
- The policy of allowing members of Congress to send unlimited mail to their constituents for the purpose of official business by stamping this mail with an exact reproduction of their signature rather than paid postage.
- The method by which partisan majorities within states draw legislative districts in a manner designed to increase or maintain party advantage.
- The official currently holding an elected office
- joint committees
- Committees consisting of members selected from both houses of Congress.
- The process by which legislators cooperate by agreeing in advance to support one another's legislative proposals.
- majority floor leader
- A member of the Senate selected by the majority party to serve as party spokesperson and encourage party unity, especially among the party's senior members.
- majority leader of the House
- A member of the House of Representatives selected by the majority party to serve as party spokesperson and encourage party unity, especially among the party's senior members.
- majority whip
- An assistant to the majority leader of the House or majority floor leader in the Senaate who helps track legislative business and encourage unity among rank-and-file party members.
- minority floor leader
- A member of the Senate selected by the minority party to serve as party spokesperson and encourage party unity, especially among the party's senior members.
- minority leader of the House
- A member of the House selected by the minority party to serve as a party spokesperson and encourage party unity, especially among the party's senior members.
- minority whip
- An assistant to the minority leader of the House or the minority floor leader int the Senate who helps track legislative business and encourage unity among rank-and-file party members.
- politico model of representation
- The model of representation that suggests that electeed officials should consider the views of their constituemts, their own conscience, and the common good of society as a whole when voting on legislation.
- pork barrel legislation
- Legislation that favors a particular legislator's district.
- president pro tempore
- The presiding officer in the Senate in the absence of the vice president.
- racial gerrymandering
- The drawing of legislative districts in a manner designed to increase the representation of racial minorities.
- The reallocation of the States' congressional seats based upon changes in population as determined by the census.
- The process by which states redraw congressional districts following reapportionment.
- Rules Committee
- A standing House committee that sets the rules and timetables for debating and amending specific bills before they are considered on the House floor.
- select committee
- A temporary congressional committee convened for a specific purpose.
- seniority system
- The congressional tradition of giving committee preferences to those members of the majority party who have served the most consecutive terms.
- Speaker of the House
- The presiding officer of the House of Representatives as selected by the majority party.
- standing committee
- A permanent congressional committee.
- term limits
- A limitation on the number of consecutive terms of office that an elected official may serve.
- trustee model of representation
- The model of representation that suggests that elected officials should vote according to their conscience and on behalf of the common good of the entire society.
- What are the basic constitutional sources of congressional power?
- Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the powers given to Congress. These powers are known collectiveely as the enumerated powers, and they include the authority to collect taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce, and declare war. Congress also has authority beyond these powers. This authority comes from the Necessary and Proper Clause in Article 1, Section 8, which allows Congress to pass any laws that are necessary and proper to carrying out the other powers expressly delegated to it by the Constitution. These "Necessary and Proper" powers are known collectively as the implied powers.
- What are the constitutional procedures for electing members of Congress?
- Because the Constitution creates a bicameral legislature, there are 2 sets of procedures for electing members of Congress. The Constitution provides for the direct election of members of the House of Rep. Members serve 2 year terms. The number of representatives allotted to each state is based on population. Initially, the constitution did not provide for the direct election of Senators, who serve 6 year terms. Instead, Senators were chosen by state legislatures. Since the ratification of the 17th amendment, however, members of the Senate have been elected directly. Each state has 2 Senators.
- What are the processes of reapportionment and redistricting and why are they so politically important?
- Reapportionment is the process by which congressional seats are reallocated among the states based on changes in population as determined by the census. Once congressional seats have been realloccated, states begin the process of redistricting, or redrawing congressional districts. Reapportionment and redistricting have great political significance because majorities within state legislatures typically try to draw electoral districts in a manner that gives an advantage to their party.
- What is gerrymandering? Is it legal?
- Gerrymandering is the method by which partisan majorities within states draw legislative districts in a manner designed to increase their political advantage. The Supreme Court has imposed several constitutional limits on gerrymandering.
1. Electoral districts must contain roughly equal population in order to fulfill the principle of "one person, one vote"
2.Redistricting solely for the purpose of political gain can be legally challenged.
3. Race cannot be the dominant factor in drawing electoral districts. This ruling challanges the practice of racial gerrymandering.
Despite these decisions, it can be difficult to prove that a district has been drawn solely for the purpose of political gain. Due to this difficulty, the practice of gerrymandering continues to occur.
- What is racial gerrymandering? How does it differ from gerrymandering in general?
- Racial gerrymandering is the practice of drawing electoral districts in a manner designed to increase the representation of racial minorities. It is differnet from the general practice of gerrymandering, which is designed to increase the advantage of a particular party. The Supreme Court has held that race cannot be the dominant factor in drawing electoral districts; therefore, racial gerrymandering is currently illegal.
- What role does incumbency play in congressional elections?
- Incumbents have a distinct advantage. They are able to use their visibility and a variety of resources available to members of Congress in order to aid constituents and raise money for reelection campaigns. This results in what is known as the advantage of incumbency. A majority of incumbents are usually reelected, and this effect is especially strong in the H of R.
- Contrast the arguments advanced by both the proponents and the critics of term limits.
- Proponents argue that these limitation would reduce the advantage of incumbency. They also argue that term limits would benefit society by bringing a wider variety of citizens into office; in turn, these citizens would bring new ideas and energy to Congress. Proponents conted that term limits would prevent congressional representatives from becoming overly entrenched in the political class of Washington DC. Critics counter that constituents can benefit from the knowledge of experienced representatives. Moreover they argue that citizens already have the right to limit the terms of their representative by voting them out of office.
- Are term limits legal?
- The Supreme Court declared term limits for members of Congress unconstitutional in the 1995 case of US Term limits, Inc vs Thornton
- Describe the basic leadership structure of both the House and the Senate.
- The top leader in the house is the Speaker of the house. The speaker is chosen by members of the house's majority party. The house leadership also consists of a majority leader and a majority whip as well as a minority leader and a minority whip. Similarly, the Senate's party leadership is composed of a majority leader and a majority whip as well as a minority leader and a minority whip. Although the vice president formally serves as the president of the senate, that cchamber elects a president pro tempore to preside over its meetings. In practice, however, junior senators typically assume most of the duties of the president pro tempore.
- What is the difference between logrolling and pork barrel legislation?
- Logrolling refers to the process by which legislators agree in advance to support one another's legislative proposals. Pork barrel legislation refers to legislation that favors a particular legislator's district. Both processes can come into play at the same time. For instance, in order to gain support for legislation that favors his or her home district, a legislator might engage in logrolling by supporting a piece of "pork" for another legislator's district.
- List and describe the four basic types of congressional committees.
- Standing committees are permanent committees that work on legislation in a variety of policy areas. Bills approved by these committees are then brought to the floor of the House or the Senate. Select committees are temporary committees that Congress creates to explore policy options in a specific policy area. Joint committees involve members selected from both the House and the Senate, and conference committees are special joint committees that are appointed to work out the differneces between the House and Senate versions of a particular bill.
- What is a filibuster? How can a filibuster be stopped?
- A filibuster is a time-delaying tactic used by a minority party in the Senate to prevent action on a piece of legislation that it opposes. Generally, this tactic involves the Senate tradition of unlimited debate. A filibuster can be stopped through the method of cloture, which recquires the signature of sixteen senators and a 3/5 vote of the entire senate.
- Describe the 3 different models of representation that are used to describe how members of Congress may best represent the public.
- The trustee model of representation says that elected officials should vote according to their conscience and in the interest of society as a whole. The delegate model of representation suggests that representatives should look to the views of their constituents when deciding how to vote. The politico model of representation is a compromise between the trustee and delegate models. It says that representative should consider their own judgement, their constituents' preferences, and the interests of society as a whole when making legislative decisions.
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