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Chapter 7 Identifications

Baker v. Carr (1962): ruled that equal protection and the one-person, one-vote principles required that there be the same number of people in each of the legislative districts within a single state

Speaker of the House (powers): the only officer of the House of Representatives specifically mentioned in the Constitution; elected at the beginning of each new Congress by the entire House; traditionally a member of the majority party. The speaker presides over the House, oversees House business, is the official spokesperson for the House, and is second in line of presidential succession. Also, the speaker of the House is the House liaison with the president and carries great political influence, and also ensures the smooth passage of party-backed legislation through the House.

Whip: one of the several representatives who keep close contact with all members and take nose counts on key votes, prepare summaries of bills, and in general act as communication links within the party

President Pro Tempore: official chair of the Senate, selected by the majority party and presides over the Senate in the absence of the vice president; primarily an honorific office that generally goes to the most senior senator of the majority party

Senate Majority Leader (powers): the elected leader of the party controlling most of the seats in the Senate; regarded as the most powerful member; schedules floor action, sets majority stances, refers bills

Standing Committees (e, s): committee to which proposed bills are referred; yield considerable power in that they can kill bills, amend them radically, or hurry them through the process. Ex: Appropriations committee

Joint Committees: includes members from both houses of Congress; conducts investigations or special studies

Conference Committees: joint committee created to iron out differences between Senate and House versions of a specific piece of legislation

Select Committees: temporary committee appointed for a specific purpose, such as conducting a special investigation or study

House Rules Committee: performs a traffic cop function, giving each bill a rule containing the date the bill will come up for debate and the time allotted for discussion, along with what kinds of amendments can be offered, if any

Discharge Petition: petition that gives a majority of the House of Representatives the authority to bring an issue to the floor in the face of committee inaction

Pork (s): legislation that allows representatives to bring home the bacon to their districts in the form of public works programs, military bases, or other programs designed to benefit their districts directly; improves a member's chance for reelection

Committee Chairs (powers): authorized to select all subcommittee chairs, call meetings, and recommend majority members to sit on conference meetings; may even opt to kill a bill by refusing to schedule hearings on it

Seniority: time of continuous service on a committee

The Frank: an envelope that contains a legislator's signature in place of a stamp; incumbent privilege of free distribution of newsletters and other non-campaign materials through the mail system

Delegate: role played by elected representatives who vote the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of their own opinions

Trustee: role played by elected representatives who listen to constituents' opinions and then use their best judgment to make final decisions

Politico: role played by elected representatives who act as trustees or as delegates, depending on the issue

Divided Government: the political condition in which different political parties control the White House and Congress

Constituents: the people who live and vote in the home district or state

Logrolling: vote trading; voting yea to support a colleague's bill in return for a promise of future support

GAO (General Accountability Office): audits the financial expenditures of the executive branch and federal agencies, sets government standards for accounting, provides a variety of legal opinions, settles claims against the government, and conducts studies upon congressional request

Hold: a tactic by which a senator asks to be informed before a particular bill is brought to the floor; stops the bill from coming to the floor until the hold is removed

Filibuster: a formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate

Cloture: mechanism requiring sixty senators to vote to cut off debate

Pocket Veto: if Congress adjourns during the ten days the president has to consider a bill passed by both houses of Congress, without the president's signature, the bill is considered vetoed

Oversight (e, s): congressional review of the activities of the agency, department, or office; determines if an agency, department, or office is carrying out its responsibilities as intended by Congress.
Ex: Congressional hearing, GAO audit

Congressional Review: a process whereby Congress can nullify agency regulations by a joint resolution of legislative disapproval