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Honors Government: Unit 5- Legislative Branch

Essential Vocabulary
Identify the following terms. All terms must include a definition and example. All vocabulary words
should be set up as follows:

a. Definition
b. Significance/example (For your understanding of the word or concept)

1. apportionment- the determination of the proportional number of members each US state sends to the House of
Representatives, based on population figures
2. appropriations bill- legislative motion (bill) that authorizes the government to spend money
3. bicameral legislature- two house legislature
4. bill- a draft of a proposed law presented to the House and Senate for discussion
5. cloture rule- the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours of debate
6. conference committee- a committee of the United States Congress appointed by the House of Representatives
and Senate to resolve disagreements on a particular bill
7. constituency- a body of voters in a specified area who elect a representative to a legislative body
8. divided government- term used in the USA to refer to the situation in which one party controls the presidency
while the other party controls Congress
9. filibuster- talking a bill to death to prevent a vote on it
10. gerrymandering- manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class
11. gridlock- the inability of the government to act because rival parties control different parts of the government
12. impeachment- formal accusation of wrongdoing against a public official
13. incumbent- an official currently holding office
14. joint committee- a committee made up of members of both chambers of a bicameral legislature
15. joint resolution- measure approved by both houses of the United States Congress and signed by the president
16. majority/minority leader (House vs. Senate)- House: enforce party discipline on votes deemed to be crucial by
the party leadership and to ensure that members do not vote in a way not approved of by the party. Senate:
The majority leader has also come to speak for the Senate as an institution, while both serve as spokesmen for
their parties' positions on the issues.
17. pork-barrel spending- a metaphor for the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured
solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district
18. president pro tempore- in charge of the day to day functioning of the Senate in the absence of the VP
19. quorum/quorum call- requires 218 representatives to hold a vote in the House
20. revenue bill- spending bill (money bill)/ a bill (as for imposing a tax) for raising money for any public purpose
21. rider- an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under the consideration by a legislature, having
little connection with the subject matter of the bill. Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial
provision that would not pass as its own bill.
22. Rules Committee- a legislative committee responsible for expediting the passage of bills (sites the ground rules
for the date of a debate for a bill and the length of time each congressman may speak on the issue)
23. select (special) committee- is a congressional committee appointed to perform a special function that is beyond
the authority or capacity of a standing committee
24. Seventeenth Amendment- established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states
(Once upon a time senators were selected, but the amendment changed it to where senators would be elected by
the people.)
25. Speaker of the House and powers-
Honors Government: Unit 5- Legislative Branch

a. Speaker of the House

i. Definition- presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives
ii. Current Speaker- Paul Ryan
b. Powers of the Speaker of the House
i. Head of the House of Representatives
ii. Administering the oath of office to Members
iii. Calling the House to order
iv. Preserving order and decorum within the House chamber and galleries
v. Recognizing members to speak on the House floor
vi. Making rulings about House procedures
c. Powers of Congress (Article I Section 8)
i. Collect taxes
ii. Borrow money (credit)
iii. Regulate commerce
iv. Coin money
v. Punish counterfeiters
vi. Establish post offices & roads
vii. Promote science & arts via patents
viii. Tribunals (inferior to Supreme Court)
ix. Punish pirates & any felonies on high seas
x. Create lower federal courts
xi. Declare war
xii. Raise & support armies
xiii. Provide & support a navy
xiv. Rules of gov’t & regulation of military
xv. Provide and regulate militia (National Guard)
xvi. Right to call forth the militia (National Guard)
xvii. Govern Washington D.C.
xviii. Necessary and proper clause
26. standing committees- a permanent committee that meets regularly
27. veto- a constitutional right to reject a decision or proposal made by a law-making body.
28. pocket veto- an indirect veto of a legislative bill by the president or a governor by retaining the bill unsigned
until it is too late for it to be dealt with during the legislative session
29. votes (different types)
a. voice vote- a vote taken by noting the relative strength and volume of calls of aye and no
b. standing vote- congressional voting procedure in which members stand and are counted (can be used if
there is a disagreement on the results of a voice vote)
c. roll call vote- A vote in which each senator votes "yea" or "nay" as his or her name is called by the clerk,
so that the names of senators voting on each side are recorded. (Under the Constitution, a roll call
vote must be held if demanded by one-fifth of a quorum of senators present, a minimum of 11.)
30. whip (majority and minority)- an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure discipline in a
legislature. Whips are the party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten party members to
ensure that they participate per the official party policy.
31. interest groups- organized group that tries to influence the government to adopt certain policies or measures
32. lobbying- seek to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue
Honors Government: Unit 5- Legislative Branch

33. single member districts- an electoral district that returns one officeholder to a body with multiple members such
as a legislature
34. at large districts- designation for members of a governing body who are elected or appointed to represent the
whole membership of the body (for example, a city, state or province, nation, club or association), rather than
a subset of that membership. At-large voting contrasts with voting by electoral districts.
35. continuous body- a legislative body, such as the U.S. Senate, that achieves stability by staggering the terms of
its members to prevent more than a minority of seats from changing in a single election
36. delegate- a person sent or authorized to represent others; an elected representative sent to a conference
37. trustee- a legal term which, in its broadest sense, can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a
position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another (citizens)
38. partisan- a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person
39. politico- informal term for politician

Congress and the Legislative Process Comprehension Questions

Directions: Answer the following thoroughly, using complete sentences and expressing complete thoughts.
1. List the three qualifications for being a member of the House of Representatives.
a. 25 yrs. old
b. Citizen for 7 yrs.
c. Resident of the state representing
2. List the three qualifications for being a member of the Senate.
a. 30 yrs. old
b. Citizen for 9 yrs.
c. Resident of the state representing
3. What is the term of office for the House of Representatives? 2 yrs.
4. What is the term of office for the Senate? 6 yrs.
5. How many members are there in the House of Representatives today? 435
6. How many members are there in the Senate today? 100
7. How is representation in the House of Representatives determined? Population
8. Explain apportionment: the determination of the proportional number of members each US state sends
to the House of Representatives, based on population figures (1 representative per about
700,000 people)
9. Explain redistricting: divide or organize (an area) into new political or school districts
10. Explain gerrymandering: See definition 10
11. Identify the powers given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution: See definition 25
12. Explain the Constitutional differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate:
a. House-
i. Initiates all revenue bills (Art. I, sec. 7)
ii. Initiates (and passes or defeats) articles of impeachment (Art. I, sec. 2)
b. Senate-
i. Gives "advice and consent" to treaties (Art. II, sec. 2) and to major presidential appointments
(Art. II, sec. 2)
ii. Tries impeached officials (Art. I, sec. 3)
13. Explain the role of the Speaker of the House: Represents constituents as a Member of Congress,
acts as administrative head of the House, and serves as leader of the majority political party in the
14. Identify the four types of congressional committees AND explain the role of each.
Honors Government: Unit 5- Legislative Branch

There are four major types of congressional committees:

a. Standing committees: The most common type of committee, standing committees deal with issues
of permanent legislative concern. Standing committees also handle the vast majority of legislation.
Most standing committees have subcommittees covering more specific areas of an issue.
b. Conference committees: A very common kind of joint committee with members from both the
House and the Senate. For a bill to become law, both houses must approve identical versions.
When different versions are passed, the leaders create a conference committee to reconcile the
differences between the two bills. Conference committees issue a single bill for both houses to
vote on.
c. Select committees: Select committees are created for a limited period and for a specific purpose.
d. Joint committees: Joint committees consist of members of both houses, usually created to deal
with a specific issue.
15. Explain the process of creating legislation. Steps of how a bill becomes a law from your notes
16. How are bills brought to the floor in the Senate? the Senate first must agree to bring it up –
typically by agreeing to a unanimous consent request or by voting to adopt a motion to proceed to
the bill, as discussed earlier. Only once the Senate has agreed to consider a bill may Senators propose
amendments to it.
17. What are the different types of Senate committees and what do they do? See 14
18. What office coordinates the budget-making work of Congress? Congressional Budget Office
(Also works with the OMB when it comes to the national budget)
19. What is the purpose of having the various committees (why did Congress create committees)? To
streamline the legislative process (help to organize the most important work of Congress —
considering, shaping, and passing laws to govern the nation)
20. What is a filibuster? act in an obstructive manner in a legislature, especially by speaking at inordinate
length (stonewalling a vote on a bill so that it dies)
21. What is cloture in the Senate? See above
22. What are appropriation bills? See above
23. What are authorization bills? a type of legislation used in the United States to authorize the
activities of the various agencies and programs that are part of the federal government of the United
24. What is legislative oversight? oversight by the United States Congress over the Executive
Branch, including the numerous U.S. federal agencies. Congressional oversight includes the review,
monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation
25. What are expressed powers? powers of Congress specifically listed in the Constitution
26. What is the “necessary and proper” clause of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution? grants
Congress the authority to create and enforce laws that are deemed "necessary and proper" by the powers
granted to the branches of the government by the Constitution's various provisions
27. Why might the framers have included the elastic clause, with its qualification of the “necessary and
proper” clause? allows Congress to make laws it needs to carry out its own powers
28. What are the non-legislative powers of Congress? include the abilities to amend the
constitution, approve presidential appointments, investigate matters that interfere with or impede its
legislative duties, impeach officials, and choose a president if no majority winner emerges as the result
of an election
29. Who approves treaties? president "shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the
Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur" (Article II, section 2)
30. What, specifically, is the role of the House Rules Committee? See above
Honors Government: Unit 5- Legislative Branch

31. How is the legislative process in the Senate different from that of the House of Representatives? This
is where you mention the 2 fewer steps of the Senate from the House when passing a law
32. Who is the presiding officer of the Senate when the Vice-president is absent?
President pro Tempore of the Senate
33. What are the president’s powers over legislation enacted by Congress? Veto
34. Where do most bills introduced in Congress die? In committee
35. Who is your representative in the House of Representatives? For Paulding County- Tom Graves
36. Who are your Senate representatives in Congress? David Perdue and Johnny Isakson
37. Who is current Speaker of the House? Paul Ryan
38. Who is the current Senate Majority Leader? Mitch McConnell
39. Explain the historical, practical, and theoretical reasons for “bicameralism” in Congress.
a. Americans were used to a two-house legislature
b. Fair representation of the states
c. Makes it harder for a “bad” law to be passed as it must gain approval in both houses of Congress
prior to Presidential approval
40. Explain in your own words how the apportionment process works. Include all the steps, including the
problem of gerrymandering that can occur. Define gerrymandering and explain two types of
gerrymandering. Use the article on gerrymandering to answer this- it is on my website towards
the top of the download section
41. Compare the delegate, trustee, partisan, and politico voting roles that Congress uses. See above
42. Explain the difference among the expressed powers, implied powers, and inherent powers of Congress.
Give examples of each.
a. Expressed powers- Powers that are explicitly in the specific wording of the constitution (coin &
print money/ taxing)
b. Implied powers- Powers determined by reasonable deduction from the expressed powers (income
tax/ military draft)
c. Inherent powers- Powers needed by creating a national government for the United States (acquire
territory/ deport undocumented aliens/ monitor air and water pollution)
43. Compare the roles of the presiding officers in the Senate and the House. See above
44. Create, with your own hand in your own penmanship, a flow chart or some other kind of graphic
organizer that explains the process involved in making a bill into a law, from its introduction in one
chamber all the way to the President’s desk. This is all you. Use the notes to create a flow chart
45. Name the 2 Houses of Congress. House of Representatives & Senate
46. How many people are in the House of Representatives? See above
47. What is a bicameral legislature? See definition above
48. Where did the bicameral legislature come from? Americans were used to a two-house legislature
they were familiar with from English parliament
49. When does each term of Congress begin? January 3rd at noon on odd number years
50. How long is a session of Congress? 2 years in length
51. Why hasn’t the President had to call a special session in the last 50 years? The president
rarely must call Congress into session because Congress isn't generally out of session long
52. How is the number of seats per state determined in the House of Representatives? Population
53. Define reapportionment. See definition
54. How many districts does the state of Georgia have? 14
55. When are Congressional elections held? Every two years for the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate
Honors Government: Unit 5- Legislative Branch

56. What are “off-year elections?” a general election in the United States which is held in odd-
numbered years when neither a presidential election nor a midterm election takes place
57. Define gerrymandering. See above
58. Name 3 qualifications you must meet to be a member of the House of Representatives. See above
59. How many people are in the Senate? See above
60. Explain the 17th Amendment. See definition
61. How long is the term of office for the Senate? See above
62. Name 3 qualifications for a person to become a member of the Senate. See above
63. Describe the average member of Congress. Older white male, typically lawyer as a profession
64. How much is a member of Congress paid a year? $174,000
65. Name 2 non-salary benefits given to Congress. Medical care/ franking privilege
66. How do Congressional members vote when they see themselves as a:
 Trustee
 Delegate See definitions above
 Partisan
67. What is the purpose of the Speaker of the House? See definition 25 that lists the powers of the
Speaker. This also serves as the purpose of the speaker
68. Who is the President of the Senate? Joe Biden (In January it will change to Pence)
69. Why does the Senate have a “President Pro-tempore?” Orrin Hatch
70. What is the State of the Union Message? yearly address delivered in January by the president of the
US to Congress, giving the administration's view of the state of the nation and plans for legislation.
71. What are standing committees? See definitions
72. What is the House Rules Committee? considers all bills reported from policy and fiscal
committees and determines whether, and in what order, to schedule their consideration on the floor of
the House (date of the debate and vote) as well as the time constraints for debate
73. What is the purpose of joint and conference committees? formed for the purpose of reconciling
differences in legislation that has passed both chambers/ a way for compromise to take place between
the political parties

How do Congressional committees (House and Senate) enable Congress to work more efficiently?
(Think about the sheer number of bills that are presented and the various topics they cover)

Explain why the House might be considered more representative of the people than the Senate. Explain how
the Senate might be more representative of the people than the House.
(This is all you. You just need to be able to justify your answer.)

Explain how and why the rules for debate in the House are more restrictive than those in the Senate.
(Once again sheer numbers, but this time it is the number of people in the House versus the Senate and each
having the opportunity to speak during the debate)