The redrawing of congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within a state.
The process of allotting congressional seats to each state following the decennial census according to each state's proportion of the population.
A process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs.
War Powers Act
Passed by Congress in 1973; the president is limited in the deployment of troops overseas to a sixty-day period in peacetime (which can be extended for an extra thirty days to permit withdrawal) unless Congress explicitly gives its approval for a longer period.
A process whereby Congress can nullify agency regulations by a joint resolution of legislative disapproval.
Congressional review of the activities of an agency, department, or office.
If Congress adjourns during the ten days the president has to consider a bill passed by both houses of Congress, the bill is considered vetoed without the president's signature.
Formal constitutional authority of the president to reject bills passed by both houses of the legislative body, thus preventing the bill from becoming law without further congressional activity.
Mechanism requiring sixty senators to vote to cut off debate.
A formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate.
A tactic by which a senator asks to be informed before a particular bill is brought to the floor. This allows the senator to stop the bill from coming to the floor until the hold is removed.
A process in which committee members offer changes to a bill before it goes to the floor in either house for a vote.
Vote trading; voting to support a colleague's bill in return for a promise of future support.
The political condition in which different political parties control the White House and Congress.
Role played by elected representatives who act as trustees or as delegates, depending on the issue.
Role played by elected representatives who vote the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of their own opinions.
Role played by elected representatives who listen to constituents' opinions and then use their best judgment to make final decisions.
The fact that being in office helps a person stay in office because of a variety of benefits that go with the position.
Time of continuous service on a committee.
Funds in appropriations bill that provide dollars for particular purposes within a state of congressional district.
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.
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.
select (or special) committee
Temporary committee appointed for a specific purpose, such as conducting as special investigation or study.
Special joint committee created to iron out differences between Senate and House versions of a specific piece of legislation.
Committees that include members from both houses of Congress to conduct investigations or special studies.
Committee to which proposed bills are referred; continues from one Congress to the next.
president pro tempore
The official chair of the Senate; usually the most senior member of the majority party.
Key member who keeps close contact with all members of his or her party and takes nose counts on key votes, prepares summaries of bills, and in general acts as a communication link within the party.
The elected leader of the party with the second highest number of elected representatives in the House of Representatives or the Senate.
The elected leader of the party controlling the most seats in the House of Representatives or the Senate; is second in authority to the Speaker of the House and in the Senate is regarded as its most powerful member.
party caucus or conference
A formal gathering of all party members.
Speaker of the House
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 political party in each house of Congress with the second most members.
The political party in each house of Congress with the most members.
The power delegated to the House of Representatives in the Constitution to charge the president, vice president, or other “civil officers,” including federal judges, with “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” This is the first step in the constitutional process of removing such governmental officials from office.
A proposed law
A legislature divided into two houses; the U.S. Congress and the state legislatures are all bicameral except for Nebraska, which is unicameral