Congress Flashcards Preview

AP Government > Congress > Flashcards

Flashcards in Congress Deck (56):


Occurs every 10 years and is used to count the population for each in order to correctly reapportion seats in the House of Representatives


Congressional Redistricting

Is done by each state legislature; therefore, the political party in each state controls how the districts are drawn



The legislature will do this to district boundaries in order to give the current party a advantage in future state elections


Congressional Elections

-Elections for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives occur every two years
-Elections for 1/3 of the Senate seats occurs every two years (Terms last for six years)


Smith v. Allwright (1944)

Court case ruling that denying African Americans the right to vote in a primary election is a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment


Wesberry v. Sanders (1963)

Court case ruling that ordered House Districts are to be as equal as possible ("One man, one vote")


Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

Court case ruling that giving money to a political campaign was a form of free speech and threw out some stringent federal regulations on fund-raising and election spending


Shaw v. Reno (1993) and Miller v. Johnson (1995)

Court case ruling that race cannot be the sole or predominant factor in redrawing legislative district boundaries


U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1995)

Court case ruling that states cannot set term limits on members of Congress


Bush v. Gore (2000)

Court case ruling that Florida's recount in the election of 2000 was ruled to be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause


Voting Rights Act of 1965

Increased minority representation in Congress


House Ways and Means Committee

Oversees taxing and spending legislation (House of Representatives)


Non-Legislative Tasks of Congress

Three Tasks:
-Public Education
-Representing Constituents Within The Government


Sponsor of the Bill

The member of Congress who introduces the bill


Rules Committee

Responsible for determining how long a bill will be debated and whether to allow an open or closed rule for amending the bill (House of Representatives)


Poison-Pill Amenments

an amendment to a legislative bill that considerably weakens the bill's intended effect, or ruins the bill's chances of passing (The Rules Committee can make it easy for opponents to add these to a bill if they want to get rid of the bill)



A tactic used to delay a vote on a bill and tie up the work of the Senate (Occurs traditionally by a Senator giving a speech that may last hours)



The only way to end a filibuster and requires the votes of 60 members, which is difficult to get if both parties are equally represented


Pork Barrels

Projects designed to bring federal money back to the home state or in other words the Senators are "Bringing home the bacon" and increases the chances of them getting reelected



Provisions within a legislation that appropriate money to a specific project


Pocket Veto

Ability of the President to veto a law by not signing it after ten days (If Congress is not in session, if it is, then the bill will become law)


Line-Item Veto

Empowers the President to veto individual parts of a bill (Struck down by Clinton v. New York City)


Clinton v. New York City

Court case ruling that struck down the line-item veto power of the President and declared unconstitutional


INS v. Chadha (1983)

Court case ruling that prevented Congress from having the ability to veto Presidential actions by a vote of one or both houses


Standing Committees

Are permanent, specialized committees


Joint Committees

Are made up of members of both the House and the Senate and are used to communicate to the public or for investigations and generally do not send bills to either house


Select Committees

Temporary Committees organized in each house for a special purpose and usually carry out investigations for the purpose of writing special legislation


Conference Committees

Are temporary and include members from the committees of the two houses that were responsible for writing the bill (Try to negotiate a compromise bill that will appease both Houses)



When a bill is stuck in a House or Senate committee


Discharge Petition

The mechanism to force a bill out of a committee for a floor vote


Speaker of the House

Leader of the House of Representatives (Voted by the majority party in a special election)


Majority Leader of the House

Keeps party members in line and helps determine the party's legislative agenda


Minority Leader of the House

Keeps the minority party members in line and helps determine the minority party's legislative agenda


President Pro Tempore

Is the presiding officer when the Vice President is absent during Senate sessions (Given to the most senior member of the majority party)


Northwest Ordinance (1787, 1789)

Provides clear guidelines for the settlement of new territories and a path to statehood (Success of the Articles of Confederation)


Pendleton Act (1883)

Eliminated the spoils system of patronage in selection for government jobs and set up an exam based merit system for qualified candidates


Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)

Provides Congress with authority to regulate and break up monopolies/trusts in the United States (Was abused to break up labor unions)


Hatch Act (1939)

Permits government employees to vote in government elections but forbids them from participating in partisan politics


Freedom of Information Act (1966)

Declassifies government documents for public use


Air Quality Act (1967)

The beginning of a series of acts to regulate impacts on the environment


Federal Election Campaign Acts (1971, 1974)

Established the Federal Election Commission and requires disclosures of contributions and expenditures, as well as limitations on contributions and presidential election expenditures


War Powers Act (1973)

Limits the President's power to use troops overseas in hostilities, puts a time limit on use and gives Congress final power to withdraw troops


Budge and Impoundment Control Act (1974)

Established congressional budget committees and the Congressional Budget Office, as gives Congress the power to prevent the President from refusing to fund congressional initiatives


Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Bill (1985)

Sets budget reduction targets to balance budget but fails to eliminate loopholes


Espionage and Sedition Acts (1917-1918)

Severely curtailed the civil liberties of Americans during wartime and greatly increased the power of the federal government in controlling public activity (Sedition Act was repealed in 1921)


Immigration Act (1924)

Stringently limits the number of immigrants admitted into the United States and sets strict quotas for entry


Voting Rights Act (1965)

Suspended literacy tests, empowered federal officials to register voters, and prohibited states from changing voting procedures without federal permission


Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967)

Banned age discrimination in jobs unless age is related to job performance


Civil Rights Act/Fair Housing Act (1968)

Title II banned discrimination in public places on the basis of race, color, national origin, or religion; and Title VII prohibited employment discrimination based on gender


Title IX Education Act (1972)

Prohibited gender discrimination in federally funded education programs


Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

Protected civil liberties of disabled Americans and mandated "reasonable accommodations" to public facility use


National Voter Registration Act/Motor Voter Act (1993)

Law that allows people to register to vote when applying for a driver's license


The Patriot Act (2001)

Congress granted broad police authority to federal, state, and local government to interdict, prosecute, and convict suspected terrorists (In response to 9/11 and used to be known as the USA-PATRIOT Act)


New Deal Legislation (1933-1939)

Legislation that expanded the role of government in the economy and society (Created Social Security, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Tennessee Valley Authority)


Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996)

Law that seeks to increase the role of personal responsibility in welfare recipients and shifted many responsibilities for welfare provision to state governments


Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act/McCain-Feingold Bill (2002)

Law that bans soft money contributions to national political parties and raised hard money limits to $2,000 (Several provisions were struck down after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010))