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American Government - Policy and Politics Ch. 9


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Contract with America
A series of campaign promises offered by republican candidates during the 1994 elections.
The division of the legislative branch of government into two chambers (House and Senate).
To "formally accuse" an executive or judicil officeholder of improper behavior serious enough to merit removal from office.
A voting margin that is greater than a simple majority.
Franking Privilege
Free mailing privileges granted to members of Congress.
An arrangement in which two or more members of Congress agree in advance to support each other's favored legislation.
Term Limitation
The movement to restrict the number of terms public officials may serve.
The full House or full Senate taking official action.

Physically refered to the large rooms in which members of each chamber assemble to do business.
Senate President Pro Tempore
The presiding officer in the Senate in the Vice President's absence.

The Senate as a whole selects this officeholder, customarily electing the senator from the majority party with the longest tenure, or seniority, in the chamber.
Tenure or length of service.
Senate Majority Leader
The head of the majority party in the Senate.

Senate - Bill Frist (R-TN)
Majority Whip
The first assistant to the Majority Leader in the House or Senate.

House - Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Minority Leader
The leader of the minority party in the House or Senate.

Senate - Harry Reid (D-NV)
House - Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Minority Whip
The first assistant to the Minority Leader in the House or Senate.

House - Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Assistant floor leaders in Congress.
Speaker of the House
The presiding officer in the House of Representatives and the leader of the majority party in that chamber.

Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
House Majority Leader
The second ranking majority party leader in the House.

House - John Boehner (R-OH)
Standing Committee
A permanent legislative committee with authority to draft legislation in a particular policy area or areas.
Special or Select Committee
A committee established for a limited time only.
Joint Committee
A committee that includes members from both houses of Congress.
Ranking Member
The leader of the minority party on a committee or subcommittee.
Party Caucus
All of the party members of a chamber, meeting as a group.
The refusal of the president to spend funds already appropriated by Congress.
War Powers Act
A law limiting the President's ability to commit American armed forces to combat abroad without consultation with Congress and congressional approval.
Omnibus Bills
Complex, highly detailed legislative proposals covering one or more subjects or programs.
A proposed law.
A legislative statement of opinion on a certian matter.
A member of Congress who introduces a piece of legislation.
Multiple Referral of Legislation
The Practice of allowing more than one committee to consider legislation.
Legislative Markup
The process in which legislators go over a measure line-by-line, revising, amending, or rewriting it.
To postpone action in the legislative process. (To postpone consideration of a measure).
Discharge Petition
A procedure whereby a majority of the members of the House of Representatives can force a committee to report a bill to the floor of the House.
Bipartisan Campain Reform Act(BCRA)
A campain finance reform law designed to limit the political influence of big money campaign contributors.
Appropriation Bills
Legislative authorizations to spend money for particular purposes.
House Rules Committee
A standing committee that determines the rules under which a specific bill can be debated, amended, and considered on the House floor.
Open Rule
A rule that opens a measure to amendment on the House floor without restriction.
Closed Rule
A rule that prohibits floor consideration of amendments on the House floor.
Unanimous Consent Agreement
A formal understanding on procedures for conducting business in the Senate that requires the acceptance of every member of the chamber.
Non-Germane Amendments
Amendments that are unrelated to the subject matter of the original measure.
Killer Amendment
An amendment designed to make a measure so unattractive that it will lack enough support to pass Congress.
An attempt to defeat the measure through prolonged debate.
The procedure for ending a filibuster; in which, Senators wanting to halt a filibuster must anounce their intentions and gather the signatures of a sixth of the Senate (16 senators), which then requires a 3/5 vote of the Senate membership(60 votes) to succeed.
Conference Committee
A special, joint congressional committee created to negotiate differences on similar peices of legislation passed by the House and Senate.

Sometimes called the third House of Congress because it writes the final version of legislation.
The members of a conference committee.
Conference Report
Compromised legislation produced by a conference committee.
Pocket Veto
The action of a president allowing a measure to die without signature, after Congress has adjourned.
An action by the chief executive refusing to approve a measure passed by the legislature.
A provision, unlikely to become law on it's own merits, which is attached to an important measure so that it will ride through the legislative process.
Conservative Coalition
An informal alliance in Congress between conservative Democrats, mostly from the South, and Republicans.
Party-Line Votes
Votes in Congress in which a majority of the members of each party in a chamber vote on opposite sides of an issue.
Constituency Service
The action of members of Congress and their staffs attending to the individual, particular needs of constituents.
Pork Barrel Spending
Expendatures to fund local projects that are not critically important from a national perspective.
Representative Democracy
A political system in which citizens elect representatives to make policy decisions on their behalf.

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