PSC 101: Chapter 12

  1. Constituency:
    The residents in the area from which an official is elected
  2. Bicameral:
    Having a legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses
  3. Sociological Representation:
    A type of representation in which representatives have the same racial, gender, ethnic, religious, or educational backgrounds as their constituents. It is based on the principle that if two individuals are similar in background, character, interests, and perspectives, then one could correctly represent the other's views.
  4. Agency Representation:
    The type of representation in which a representative is held accountable to a constituency if he or she fails to represent that constituency properly.
  5. Incumbency:
    Holding a political office for which one is running.
  6. Term Limits:
    Legally prescribed limits on the number of terms an elected official can serve.
  7. Apportionment:
    The process, occurring after every decennial census, that allocates congressional seats among the fifty states.
  8. Redistricting:
    The process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives.
  9. Gerrymandering:
    Apportionment of voters in districts in such a way as to give unfair advantage to one racial or ethnic group or political party.
  10. Patronage:
    The resources available to higher officials, usually opportunities to make partisan appointments to offices and to confer grants, licenses, or special favors to supporters.
  11. Pork Barrel:
    Appropriations made by legislative bodies for local projects that are often not needed but that are created so that local representatives can win re-election in their home districts.
  12. Private Bill:
    A proposal in Congress to provide a specific person with some kind of relief, such as a special exemption from immigration quotas.
  13. Conference:
    A gathering of House Republicans every two years to elect their House leaders. Democrats call their gathering the caucus.
  14. Caucus (political):
    A normally closed meeting of a political or legislative group to select candidates, plan strategy, or make decisions regarding legislative matters.
  15. Speaker of the House:
    The chief presiding officer of the House of Representatives. The Speaker is the most important party and House leader, and can influence the legislative agenda, the fate of individual pieces of legislation, and members' positions within the House.
  16. Majority Leader:
    The elected leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives or in the Senate. In the House the majority leader is subordinate in the party hierarchy to the Speaker of the House.
  17. Minority Leader:
    The elected leader of the minority party in the House or Senate.
  18. Whip:
    A party member in the House or Senate responsible for coordinating the party's legislative strategy, building support for key issues, and counting votes.
  19. Standing Committee:
    A permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject, such as finance or agriculture.
  20. Select Committee:
    a (usually) temporary legislative committee set up to highlight or investigate a particular issue or address an issue not within the jurisdiction of existing committees.
  21. Joint Committee:
    A legislative committee formed of members of both the House and the Senate.
  22. Conference Committee:
    A joint committee created to work out a compromise on House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation.
  23. Seniority:
    Ranking given to an individual on the basis of length of continuous service on a committee in Congress.
  24. Staff Agency:
    A legislative support agency responsible for policy analysis.
  25. Caucus (congressional):
    An association of members of Congress based on party, interest, or social group, such as gender or race.
  26. Bill:
    A proposed law that has been sponsored by a member of Congress and submitted to the clerk of the House or Senate.
  27. Committee Markup:
    Session in which a congressional committee rewrites legislation to incorporate changes discussed during hearings on the bill.
  28. Closed Rule:
    A provision by the House Rules Committee limiting or prohibiting the introduction of amendments during debate.
  29. Open Rule:
    A provision by the House Rules Committee that permits floor debate and the addition of new amendments to a bill.
  30. Filibuster:
    A tactics used by members of the Senate to prevent action on legislation they oppose by continuously holding the floor and speaking until the majority backs down. Once given the floor, senators have unlimited time to speak, and it requires a vote of three-fifths of the Senate to end a filibuster.
  31. Cloture:
    A rule allowing a majority of two-thirds or three-fifths of the members of a legislative body to set a time limit on debate over a given bill.
  32. Veto:
    The president's constitutional power to turn down acts of Congress. A presidential veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress.
  33. Pocket Veto:
    A presidential veto that is automatically triggered if the president does not act on a given piece of legislation passed during the final ten days of a legislative session.
  34. Party Unity Vote:
    A roll-call vote in the House or Senate in which at least 50 percent of the members of one party take a particular position and are opposed by at least 50 percent of the members of the other party.
  35. Roll-call Vote:
    A vote in which each legislator's yes or no vote is recorded as the clerk calls the names of the members alphabetically.
  36. Logrolling:
    A legislative practice whereby agreements are made between legislators in voting for or against a bill; vote trading.
  37. Oversight:
    The effort by Congress, through hearings, investigations, and other techniques, to exercise control over the activities of executive agencies.
  38. Appropriations:
    The amounts of money approved by Congress in statutes (bills) that each unit or agency of government can spend.
  39. Executive Agreement:
    An agreement, made between the president and another country, that has the force of a treaty but does not require the Senate's "advice and consent."
  40. Impeachment:
    The formal charge by the House of Representatives that a government official has committed "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
  41. Delegate:
    A representative who votes according to the preferences of his or her constituency.
  42. Trustee:
    A representative who votes based on what he or she thinks is best for his or her constituency.
Card Set
PSC 101: Chapter 12
This covers key concepts and key words from chapter 12