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necessary and proper clause
- aka (elastic clause)
- Article I, section 8, of the constitution, this is the source of "implied powers" for the national government
bill of attainder
legislative acts that declare an individual guilty and mete out punishment without a trial
ex post facto law
A law that makes an act a crime after it was committed or increases the punishment for a crime already committed-both prohibited by the Constitution.
checks and balances
Ratified in 1913, it provides for the direct popular election of United States senators.
The concept that legislators should vote on the basis of their consciences and the broad interests of the nation.
A concept of legislative work as simply voting the desires of one's constituents, regardless of one's own personal views.
Congress attempt to strike a balance between the constituents desire and their own judgement.
- Free postage for official business
- congress can use signature rather than postage
pork barrel politics
- the effort to enact legislation favoring a legislator's home district
- doing what's best for the district as opposed to the whole country
A person who intervenes with the bureaucracy on behalf of individual citizens.
The congressional task of handling requests by constituents for information of assistance with the federal bureaucracy
The unwritten rules of acceptable behavior in Congress
reciprocity (or logrolling)
A practice whereby two or more members of Congress exchange support for legislation important to each other
Speaker of the House
The presiding officer of the House of Representatives, who is selected by the majority party
Powerful House committee that clears most important bills and decides the rule under which bills should be considered
Majority Leader (House/Senate)
Leader and chief spokesperson for the majority party in the House/Senate
Minority Leader (House/Senate)
Leader and chief spokesperson for the minority party in the House/Senate
Member of each party's leadership responsible for party discipline and attendance for key votes.
The Republican leadership committee in the House
president pro tempore
- The presiding officer of the Senate in the absence of the vice president
- Usually given to the senior majority party member
The permanent committees of Congress that alone can approve legislation and send it to the floor of the House of Senate
Permanent committees of Congress made up of members from both houses
special or select committees
Committees of Congress created periodically to study particular problems or new areas of legislation
Based on a member's length of continuous service in the Congress, it can affect committee assignments, the amount of office space granted, and even the deference shown a member during floor debate
a congressional aide who analyzes bills, drafts laws, writes speeches, and prepares position papers
administrative assistant (AA)
Top aide to a member of Congress who frequently act on behalf of the legislator in dealing with staff, colleagues, constituents, and lobbyists.
The process in which a legislative committee sets the precise language and amendments of a bill
The House schedule for the consideration of taz and appropriation bills
The schedule for House bills that concerns personal rather than general legislative matters
An order for the house Rules Committee that prohibits amendments to a bill under consideration on the House floor
An order from the House Rules Committee whereby amendments to a bill are permitted on the floor
An order from the House Rules Committee allowing a limited number of amendments to a bill during floor consideration
Committee of the Whole
A parliamentary device used by the House of Representatives to facilitate floor consideration of a bill
One of two registers of business in the U.S. Senate that contains presidential nominations and treaties.
Provisions, usually attached to appropriation bills that "ride" into law on the backs of necessary pieces of legislation with which the president would have to veto an entire bill in order to kill the amendment
Unanimous consent agreement
A common mechanism used by the Senate leadership to limit Senate debate.
Continuing debate designed to prevent consideration of a particular bill; a technique used in the Senate
Rule 22 of Senate in which discussion on a piece of legislation can be suspended after no more that thirty hours of debate by a vote of sixty members
House-Senate Conference Committee
A joint committee designed to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill
Programs such as water reclamation projects that provide considerable benefits for a few people and relatively small costs for many, usually provoking little opposition.
Programs such as tariffs or tax reforms that produce considerable benefits to some segments of society but high costs to others
- The combination of
- interest group representatives
- government administrators
- seen as extremely influential in determining the outcome of political decisions
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