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Poli Sci 110


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the assigning by congress of congressional seats after each census. state legislatures reapportion state legislative districts.
the redrawing of congressional and other legislative district's lines following the census, to accomodate the population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population
the drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumband
safe seat
and elected office that is predictably won by one party or the other, so the success of that party's candidate is almost taken for granted
the current holder of elected office
the principle of a two-house legislature
enumerated powers
the powers explicity given to congress in the constituion
the presiding officer in the house of representatives, formally "elected" by the house but actually selected by the majority party
minority leader
the legislative leader selected by the minority party as spokesperson for the opposition
party leader who is the liaison between the leadership and the rank-and-file in the legislature
party caucus
a meeting of the members of a party in a legislative chamber to select party leaders and to develop party policy (called a conference by Republicans)
closed rule
a procedural rule in the house that prohibits any amendments to bills or provides that only members of the committee presenting the bill may offer amendments
open rule
a procedural rule in the house that permits floor amendments within the overall time allotted to the bill
president protempore
officer of the senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president
a procedural practice in the senate whereby a senator temporarily blocks the consideration of a bill or nomination
a procedural practice whereby a asenator refuses to relinquish the floor and thereby delays proceedings and prevents a vote on a controversial issue
a procedure for terminating debate, especially filibusters, in the senate
senatorial courtesy
presidential custom of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work
standing committee
a permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area
special or select committee
a congressional committee created for a specific purpose, sometimes to conduct an investigation
joint committee
a committee composed of members of both the house and the senate. such committees oversee the library of congress and conduct investigations
seniority rule
legislative practice that assigns the chair of a committee or subcommittee to the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service on the committee
conference committee
committee appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different forms
an official who is expected to represent the views of his/her constituents regardless of their own views (one interprestation of the role of legislature)
an official who is expected to vote independently based on their own judgement of the circumstances (another interpretation of the role of legislature)
attentive public
those citizens who follw public affairs carefully
mutual aid and vote trading among legislators
discharge petition
petition that, if signed by a majority of the members of the house, will pry a bill from a committee and bring it to the floor for consideration
a provision attached to a bill--to which it may or not be related--in order to secure its passage
pocket veto
a formal decision to reject a bill passed by congress after it adjourns--if congress adjourns during the 10 days the president is allowed in order to sign or veto a law, the president can reject the law by taking no action
an action taken by congress to reverse a presidential veto, requiring a 2/3s majority in each chamber
parliamentary system
a system of government in which the legislautre selects the prime minister or president
Presidential ticket
the joint listing of the presidential candidates on the same ballot as required by the 12th amendment
a formal, public agreememt between the U.S. and one or more nations that must be approved by 2/3s of the senate
executive agreement
a formal but often secret agreement between the U.S. president and the leaders of other nations that does not require senate approval
a formal decision to reject a bill passed by congress
take care clause
the constitutional requirement that presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they disagree with the purpose
inherent powers
powers that grow out of the very existence of government
state of the union address
the president's annual statement to congress and the nation
formal accusation against the president or other public official; the first step in removal from office
executive privilage
the right to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security
a decision by the president not to spend money appropriated by congress, now prohibited
line item veto
presidential power to strike, or remove, specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package, delcared unconstitutional by courts
chief of staff
head of the whitehouse staff
executive office of the president
the cluster of presidential staff agencies that help the president carry out his responsibilities
executive orders
a formal order issued by the president to direct action by the federal bureaucracy
office of management and budget
presidential staff agency that serves as a clearinghouse for budgetary requests and management improvements for government agencies
advisory council for the president, consisting of the heads of the executive departments, the vice president, and a few other officials selected by the president
rally point
a rise in public approval of the president that follows a crisis
a president's claim of broad public support
form of organization that operates through impersonal, uniform rules and procedures
a career government employee
usually the largest organization in government; also the highest rank in federal hierarcy (ie cabinet depts.)
independent agency
a government entity that is indepenedent of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches (ie CIA)
independent regulatory commission
a government agency or commission with regulatory power whose indpendence is protected by congress (ie FCC)
government corporation
a government agency that operates like a business corporation, created to secure greater freedom of action and flexibility for a particular program (ie US postal service)
senior executive service
established in 1978 as a mobile corps of senior career executives who work closely with presidential appointees to manage government
spoils system
a system of public appointement/employment based on rewarding party loyalists and friends
merit system
a system of public appointment/employment in which selection and promotion depend on demonstrated performance rather than political patronage
Hatch Act
federal statute barring federal employees from active participation in certain kinds of politics and protecting them from being fired on partisan grounds
the process of putting a law into practice through buraucratic rules or spending
administrative discretion
authority given by congress to the federal bureaucracy to use reasonable judgement in implementing the laws
the formal instructions that government issues for implementing laws
rule-making process
the formal process for making regulations

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