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Flashcards in Congress (Definitions) Deck (20)
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1

Bicameral

Legislature has two chambers. Congress has House of Representatives and Senate

2

Gerrymandering

Manipulating district boundaries to influence the result of an election

3

Impeachment

A simple majority vote in House to decide whether an Executive official should be tried in the Senate. If the official loses the Senate trial, they are removed from office

4

Exclusive powers

Powers that only one chamber of Congress possesses

5

Concurrent powers

Powers that both chambers of Congress can use

6

Speaker of the House

Presiding officer of the House, who is elected at the start of each Congress. Possesses a number of powers (see facts deck)

7

Majority and minority leaders

Elected by party groups at the start of each Congress. Larger party is led by majority leader and smaller party is led by minority leader

8

Committee system

The only place where members of the Executive branch can be questioned by members of Congress

9

Standing committees

Permanent, policy specialist committees that perform legislative and investigatory functions

10

Sub-committee

A more specific, smaller committee made up of members of a larger committee (eg House transportation and Infrastructure has subcommittees of Aviation, Highways and transit etc)

11

House Rules Committee

A House standing committee responsible for prioritising bills coming from the committee stage to the House

12

Select committees

Temporary committees that are set up to investigate a specific issue

13

Seniority rule

Chair of a standing committee will be member of majority party with longest service on that committee

14

Legislative Process

First reading -> Committee stage -> Timetabling -> Second reading -> Third reading -> (Conference committee) -> Presidential Action

15

Presidential Action

Sign into law, veto, leave bill on desk, or pocket veto

16

Filibuster

Device by which senators can attempt to 'talk a bill to death' due to their power of unlimited debate. Can be broken by 3/5ths majority

17

Regular veto

President can veto any bill passed by Congress. Veto can be overriden by 2/3 majority in both houses

18

Pocket veto

President takes no action on bill in last 9 days of legislative session and the bill does not become law

19

Congressional oversight

Review, monitoring and supervision of federal agencies and activities

20

Gridlock

Failure to get action on policy proposals and legislation in congress due to friction between two parties