Lecture Notes – Congress – Week 11



1 .Explain the differences between Congress and
Parliament and delineate the role that the Framers expected Congress
to play.

2. Pinpoint the significant eras in the
evolution of Congress.

3. Describe the characteristics of members of
Congress and outline the process for electing members of

4. Identify the functions that party
affiliation plays in the organization of Congress.

5. Describe the formal process by which a bill
becomes a law.

6. Identify the factors that help to explain
why a member of Congress votes as he or she does.

Text Outline

I. Contrasts between a parliament and a

A. Comparison with British

1. Parliamentary candidates are
selected by party

a. Become a candidate by
persuading party to place your name on ballot

b. Members of Parliament select prime
minister and other leaders

c. Party members vote together on most

d. Renomination depends on remaining
loyal to party

e. Principal work is debate over
national issues

f. Very little actual power, very

little pay

2. Congressional candidates run in a
primary election, with little party control

a. Vote is for the candidate,
not the party

b. Result is a body of independent

c. Members do not choose

d. Principal work is representation
and action

e. Party discipline is limited, not
enduring (104th Congress, 1995)

f. Great deal of power, high

II. The evolution of Congress

A. Intent of the Framers

1. To oppose concentration of power
in a single institution

2. To balance large and small states:

3. Expected Congress to be the dominant

B General characteristics of subsequent

1. Congress generally dominant over
presidency until twentieth century

a. Exceptions: brief periods of
presidential activism

2. Major political struggles were within

a. Generally over issues of
national significance, e.g., slavery, new states, internal
improvements, tariffs, business regulation

b. Overriding political question:
distribution of power within Congress

(1) Centralization-if the
need is for quick and decisive action

(2) Decentralization-if
congressional members and constituency interests are to
be dominant

(3) General trend toward

C. Phase one: The powerful House

1. Congressional leadership
supplied by the president in first three administrations

2. Preeminence of House of
Representatives; originated legislation and nominated
presidential candidates

3. Party caucus shaped policy questions,
selected party candidate for the presidency

D. Phase two: A divided House

1. Assertiveness of Andrew Jackson
who vetoed bills if he opposed policy

2. Caucus system disappears, replaced
with national nominating conventions

3. Issue of slavery and Civil War shatter
party unity, limiting Speaker’s power

4. Radical Republicans impose harsh
measures on post-Civil War South

E. Phase three: Rise of a powerful

1. Thomas B. Reed (R-ME), Speaker,
1889-1899, produced party unity

2. Joseph G. Cannon (R-IL), Speaker,
1899-1910, more conservative than many House

F. Phase four: The revolt against the

G. Phase five: The empowerment of individual

1. Defining issue was civil rights
during 1960s and 1970s

2. Powerful Southern committee chairs
blocked legislation until 1965

3. Members changed rules to limit chairs’

a . Committee chairs become
elective, not just based on seniority

b. Subcommittees strengthened

c. Chairs could not refuse to convene
committee meetings, most meetings were to be public

d. Member staff increased

H. Phase six: The return of

1. Efforts began to restore
Speaker’s power because the individualistic system was not

a. Speaker appointed a majority
of the Rules Committee members

b. Speaker given multiple referral

2. Sweeping changes with 1994 Republican

a. Committee chairs hold
positions for only 6 years

b. Reduced the number of committees,

c. Speaker dominated the selection of
committee chairs

d. Speaker set agenda (Contract with
America) and sustained high Republican discipline

I. The future?

1. Ongoing tensions
between centralization and decentralization


III. The evolution of the Senate

A. Escaped many of the tensions
encountered by the House, because:

1. A smaller chamber

2. In 1800s, balanced between slave and
free states

B. Popular election of senators in
1913-Seventeenth Amendment

C. Filibuster restricted by Rule 22

IV. Who is in Congress?

A. The beliefs and interests of
members of Congress can affect policy

B. Sex and race

1. The House has become less male
and less white

2. Senate has been slower to

C. Incumbency

1 . Membership in Congress became a
career: low turnover by 1960s

2. 1992 and 1994 brought many new members
due to

a. Redistricting after 1990

b. Anti-incumbency attitude of

c. Republican victory in

3. Incumbents still with great electoral

a. Most House districts safe,
not marginal

D. Party

1. Democrats were beneficiaries of
incumbency, 1933-1992

2. Gap between votes and seats:
Republican vote higher than number of seats won

a . One explanation: Democratic
legislatures redraw district lines to favor Democratic

b. But research does not support;
Republicans run best in high-turnout districts, Democrats in
low-turnout ones

c. Gap closed in 1994

d. Another explanation: incumbent
advantage increasing

e. But not the reason; Democrats field
better candidates whose positions are closer to those of
voters, able to build winning district level

3. Electoral convulsions alter
membership, as in 1994

a. Voters opposed incumbents due
to budget deficits, various policies, legislative-executive
bickering, scandal

b. Other factors were 1990
redistricting and southern shift to voting Republican
(replacing conservative coalition) legislation


V. Getting elected to Congress: each state has
two senators, but House representation based on population

A. Determining fair

1. Now elected from single-member

2. Problem of drawing district

a. Malapportionment:
deliberately creating disparity in number of people in each

b. Gerrymandering: drawing boundaries
to ensure party victory

3. Congress decides size of

4. Congress reapportions representatives
every ten years

5. 1964 Supreme Court decision requires
districts to be drawn to ensure “one person, one

6. Majority-minority districts remain
vexing question

a. Districts drawn to make it
easier to elect minority representatives

b. Shaw v. Reno: Supreme
Court states race can be a factor in congressional
redistricting only if there is a “compelling state
interest”-standard yet to be defined

c. Majority-minority districts raise
debate about descriptive versus substantive

d. Liberal white Congressmen represent
black interests as strongly as black members

B. Winning the primary

1. Candidate needs to win the party
primary to appear on the ballot in the general election

2. Reduces influence of political

3. Incumbents almost always win:
sophomore surge due to use of office to run personal

4. Candidates run personalized
campaigns–offers them independence from party in

5. Way people get elected has two

a. Legislators closely tied to
local concerns

b. Party leaders have little

6. Effects how policy is made: office
geared to help people, committee pork for district

C. Members must decide how much to be
delegates (do what district wants) versus trustees (use
independent judgment)


VI. The organization of Congress: parties and

A. Party organization of the

1. President pro tempore presides;
member with most seniority in majority party

2. Leaders are the
majority leader and the minority leader–elected by
their respective party members

3. Party whips-keep leaders informed,
round up votes, count noses

4. Each party has a policy
committee-schedule Senate business, setting schedule and
prioritizing bills

5. Committee assignments

a. Democratic Steering

b. Republican Committee on

c. Emphasizes ideological and regional

d. Other factors: popularity,
effectiveness on television, favors owed

B. Party structure in the House-House rules
give leadership more power

1. Speaker of the House is leader
of majority party; presides over House

a . Decides whom to recognize to
speak on the floor

b. Rules on germaneness of

c. Decides to which committee bills

d. Influences which bills are brought
up for a vote

e. Appoints members of special and
select committees

f. Has some patronage power

2. Majority leader (floor leader) and
minority leader

3. Party whip organizations

4. Committee assignments and legislative
schedule set by each party

a . Democrats-Steering and
Policy Committee, chaired by party leadership b. Republicans
divide tasks

(1) Committee on Committees
for committee assignments

(2) Policy Committee to schedule

5. Democratic and Republican
congressional campaign committees

C. The strength of party

1. Loose measure of strength of
party structure is ability of leaders to determine party
rules and organization

2. Tested in 104th Congress-Gingrich with
party support for reforms and controversial committee

3. Senate different since transformed by
changes in norms, not rules

a. Now less party-centered, less
leader-oriented, more hospitable to freshmen

D. Party unity

1. Problems in measuring party

2. Party voting and cohesion more evident
in 1990s

3. Splits often reflect deep ideological
differences between parties or party leaders

4. Why is there party voting, given party
has so little electoral influence?

a. Ideological differences

b. Cues given by and taken from fellow
party members

c. Rewards from party

E. Caucuses: rivals to parties in policy

1. 1995, public funds denied
caucuses-had to raise own money

2. Types of caucuses

a . Intra-party

b. Personal interest

c. National constituency

d. Regional constituency

e. State or district

f. Industry constituency


VII. The organization of Congress:

A. Legislative committees-most
important organizational feature of Congress

1. Consider bills or legislative

Most bills sent to committees are
never heard of again. One estimate calculates that only 6
percent of the bills introduced in Congress are ever reported
by a committee for floor action. Committees are the graveyards
of legislative proposals.

2. Maintain oversight of executive

3. Conduct investigations

B. Types of committees

1. Standing committees-basically
permanent bodies with specified legislative

2. Select committees-groups appointed for
a limited purpose and limited duration

3. joint committees-those on which both
representatives and senators serve

a. Conference committee-a joint
committee appointed to resolve differences in Senate and
House versions of the same piece of legislation before final

C. Committee practices

1. Number of committee has varied;
1995 with significant cuts

2. Majority party has majority of seats
on the committees

3. Each member usually serves on two
standing committees but …

a. House members serve on one
exclusive committee

b. Senators receive two major and one
minor committee assignments

4. Chairs are elected, but usually the
most senior member of the committee is elected by the
majority party-though seniority weakened in 1995

5. Subcommittee bill of rights of
1970s changed several traditions

a. House committee chairs
elected by secret ballot in party caucus; Senate also
with this possibility

b. Opened more meetings to the

D. Committee styles

1. Decentralization has increased
influence of individual members

a. Less control by chairs

b. More amendments proposed and

c. Democratic leaders began to use
restrictive rules, proxy votes

d. These practices provoked 1995
Republican reforms

2. Certain committees tend to attract
particular types of legislators

a. Policy-oriented

b. Constituency-oriented

VIII. The organization of Congress: staffs and
specialized offices

A. Tasks of staff members

1. Constituency service-major task
of staff

2. Legislative functions-devising
proposals, negotiating agreements, organizing hearings, meeting
with lobbyists and administrators

3. Staff members consider themselves
advocates of their employers entrepreneurial

B . Growth and impact of staff

1. Larger staff generates more
legislative work

2. Members of Congress can no longer keep
up with increased legislative work and so must rely on

3. Results in a more individualistic
Congress-less collegial, less deliberative

C. Staff agencies-offer specialized

1. Congressional Research Service

2. General Accounting Office

3. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA),
abolished in 1995

4. Congressional Budget Office (CBO)


IX. How a bill becomes law

A. Bills travel through Congress at
different speeds

1. Bills to spend money or to tax
or regulate businesses move slowly

2. Bills with a clear, appealing idea
move fast

3. Complexity of legislative process
helps a bill’s opponents

B . Introducing a bill

1 . Introduced by a member of

2. Congress initiates most

3. Presidentially drafted legislation is
shaped by Congress

4. Resolutions

a . Simple-passed by one house
affecting that house

b. Concurrent-passed by both houses
affecting both

c. joint

(1) Essentially a law-passed
by both houses, signed by president

(2) If used to propose
constitutional amendment-two-thirds vote in both houses,
president’s signature unnecessary

C. Bill is referred to a committee for
consideration by either Speaker or presiding officer

1. Revenue bills must originate in
the House

2. Most bills die in committee

3. Multiple referrals limited after

4. Mark-up bills are revised by

5. Committee reports a bill out to the
House or Senate

a. If bill is not reported out,
the House can use the “discharge petition”

b. If bill is not reported out,
the Senate can pass a discharge

c. These are routinely

6. Bill must be placed on a calendar, to
come before either house.

7. House Rules Committee sets the rules
for consideration

a. “Closed rule”:
sets time limit on debate and restricts amendments

b. “Open rule”: permits amendments
from the floor

c. “Restrictive rule”: permits only
some amendments

d. Use of closed and restrictive
rules growing

e. Rules can be bypassed in the
House-move to suspend rules; discharge petition; calendar

8. In Senate, majority leader must
negotiate interests of individual senators-unanimous consent

D. Floor debate-the House

1. Committee of the
Whole-procedural device for expediting House consideration of
bills but cannot pass bills

2. Committee sponsor of bill organizes
the discussion

3. House usually passes the sponsoring
comn-dttee’s version of the bill

E. Floor debate-the Senate

1 . No rule limiting

2. Committee hearing process can be
bypassed by a senator with a rider

3. Debate can be limited only by a
cloture vote.

a. Three-fifths of Senate must
vote in favor of ending filibuster

4. Both filibusters and cloture votes
becoming more common

a. Easier now to stage

b. Roll calls are replacing long

c. Filibuster can be curtailed by
double-tracking: disputed bill is shelved temporarily so
Senate can continue other business

F. Methods of voting

1. To investigate voting behavior,
one must know how a legislator voted on amendments as well as
on the bill itself

2. Procedures for voting in the

a. Voice vote

b. Division (standing) vote

c. Teller vote

d. Roll-call vote

3. Senate voting is the same except no
teller vote

4. Differences in Senate and House
versions of a bill

a. If a minor, last house to
act merely sends bill to the other house, which accepts
the changes

b. If major, a conference committee
is appointed

(1) Decisions are by a
majority of each delegation; Senate version

About 10 to 15 percent of bills end
up in a conference committee. Which houses version is most
likely to prevail in the dispute? Successive studies by Richard
Fenno, Stephen Horn, and David Vogler indicate that the Senate
is the most likely victor about 60 percent of the time, the
House in only about a third of the cases.

Conference reports back to each house for acceptance
or rejection

(3) Report can only be accepted
or rejected-not amended

(4) Report accepted,

5. Bill, in final form, goes to the

a. President may sign

b. If president vetoes it, it
returns to house of origin

(1) Either house may
override president by vote of two-thirds of those

(2) If both override, bill
becomes law without president’s signature

The president’s veto is typically
sustained. Historically, presidents’ vetoes have prevailed
96 percent of the time. A veto threat has

X. How members of Congress vote

A. Representational view

1. Assumes that members vote to
please their constituents, to get reelected

2. Constituents must have a clear opinion
of the issue; the vote must attract attention

a. Very strong correlation on
civil rights and social welfare bills b. Very weak
correlation on foreign policy

3. May be conflict between legislator and
constituency on certain measures: gun control, Panama Canal
treaty, abortion

4. Constituency influence important in
Senate votes; influence in House unknown

5. Members in marginal districts as
independent as those in safe districts

6. Weakness of representational
explanation: no clear opinion in the constituency on most

B. Organizational view

1. Assumes members of Congress vote
to please colleagues, to gain status and prestige

2. Organizational cues

a. Party

b. Ideology

c. Party members on sponsoring

3. Problem is that party and other
organizations do not have clear position on
all issues

4. On minor votes, most members
influenced by party members on sponsoring committees

C. Attitudinal view

1. Assumes that ideology affects a
legislator’s vote

2. House members tend, more than
senators, to have opinions similar to those of the average

a. 1970s-senators more

b. 1980s-senators more


XI. Reforming Congress

A. Numerous proposals to reform

B . Representative or direct


1. Framers: representatives refine,
not reflect, public opinion

2. Today: representatives should mirror
majority public opinion

3. Move toward direct democracy would
have consequences

C. Proper guardians of the public

1. Madison

a. National laws should
transcend local interest

b. Legislators should make reasonable
compromises on behalf of entire polity’s needs

c. Legislators should not be captured
by special interests

2. Problem is that many special-interest
groups represent professions and public-interest

D. A decisive Congress or a deliberative

1. Framers designed Congress to
balance competing views and thus act slowly

2. Today, complaints of policy gridlock
but if Congress moves too quickly it may not move

E. Imposing term limits

1. Anti-Federalists distrusted
strong national government, favored annual elections
and term limits

2. Today, 95 percent of House incumbents
reelected, but 80 percent of public supports term

3. Twenty-two states in 1994 had passed
term-limit proposals

4. Effects of term limits vary depending
on type of proposal

a. Lifetime limits produce
amateur legislators who are less prone to compromise

b. Limiting continuous sequence leads
to office-hopping and push for public attention

c. 1995, Congress failed to approve
resolutions for a constitutional amendment on term

d. Supreme Court ruled states cannot
constitutionally impose term limits on Congress

F. Reducing power and perks

1. Legal bribes such as gifts
banned in 1995; concerns remain

2. Regulating franking

3. Place Congress under law and not
exempt itself from laws

a. Congressional Accountability
Act of 1995–Congress obliged itself to obey eleven major
employment laws

4. Trim pork to avoid wasteful

a. Main cause of deficit is
entitlement programs, not pork

b. Some spending in districts is for
needed projects; most of this spending already decreased

c. Members supposed to advocate
interests of district d. Price of citizen-oriented Congress
is pork

5. Cut number of committees and
assignments to slow pace and allow reasoned consideration of

a. 1995 reforms cut number of
committees; Senate still had assignment inflation

6. Downsize staff as well

a. But staff size same as

b. Cutting staff makes Congress more
dependent on executive

XII. Ethics and Congress

A. Separation of powers and

1 . Fragmentation of power
increases number of officials with opportunity to sell

a. Example: senatorial courtesy
rule offers opportunity for office seeker to influence a

2. Forms of influence

a. Money

b. Exchange of favors

B. Problem of defining unethical

1. Violation of criminal law is
obviously unethical

a. Since 1941, nearly fifty
members faced criminal charges, most convicted

2. 1978-1992, charges of congressional
misconduct against sixty-three members

a. 31 sanctioned,

b. 16 resigned or announced

c. Most infamous: ABSCAM (1980-1981)
and Jim Wright (1989)

C. New ethics rules (104th

1. Honoraria: House bans, Senators
may designate charity

2. Campaign funds: ban retaining of

3. Lobbying: former members banned for
one year

4. Gifts: $250 House limit, $100

5. Lobbyist payments banned for travel,
legal defense funds, charitable donations

D. Problems with ethics rules

1. Rules assume money is the only
source of corruption

2. Neglect political alliances and
personal friendships that are part of legislative

3. The Framers were more concerned to
ensure liberty (through checks and balances) than

E. Congressional Accountability Act of

XIII. Summary: The old and the new

A. House has evolved through three
stages over past half-century

1. Mid-1940s to early 1960s

a. Powerful committee chairs,
mostly from the South

b. Long apprenticeships for new

c. Small congressional staffs so
members dealt face-to-face

2. Early 1970s to early 1980s

a . Spurred by civil rights
efforts of younger, mostly northern members

b. Growth in size of staffs

c. Committees became more

d. Electronic voting meant members
more often on record

e. Focus on reelection–sophomore

f. More amendments and

3. Early 1980s to present

a. Strengthening and
centralizing party leadership

b. Became apparent under Jim

c. Return to more accommodating style
under Tom Foley

d. Newt Gingrich more

4. Senate meanwhile remained
decentralized and individualistic throughout this

B Reassertion of congressional power in

1. Reaction to Vietnam, Watergate,
and divided government

2. War Powers Act of 1973

3. Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Act of 1974

4. Legislative veto included in more

C. Congressional power never as weak as
critics have alleged

Important Terms

attitudinal view of
The theory of congressional voting behavior
which assumes that members vote on the basis of their own beliefs
because the array of conflicting pressures on members cancel out one

bicameral legislature A
legislative assembly composed of two separate houses, such as the
U.S. Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives and the

caucus (congressional) An
association of members of Congress created to advocate a political
ideology, a constituency, or regional or economic interests. Almost a
hundred of these groups now exist, and they rival political parties
as a source of policy leadership.

Christmas tree bill A bill
that has lots of riders.

Committee of the Whole A
device used in the House of Representatives to expedite the passage
of legislation. The quorum is reduced from 218 members to 100, and
the Speaker appoints a member of the majority party as chair. Time
allotted for debating the bill in question is split equally between
its proponents and opponents. The committee cannot itself pass
legislation but may debate and propose amendments.

closed rule Limitation imposed
by the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives on the amount
of debate time allotted to a bill and on the introduction of
amendments from the floor (or of any amendments other than those from
the sponsoring committee).

cloture rule Rule 22 of the
Senate, providing for the end of debate on a bill if three fifths of
the members agree. A cloture motion is brought to the floor if
sixteen senators sign a petition. The purpose is typically to
terminate a filibuster and to force a vote on a bill.

concurrent resolution A
resolution used to settle housekeeping and procedural matters that
affect both houses. Such resolutions are not signed by the president
and do not have the force of law.

conference committee A special
type of joint committee appointed to resolve differences in House and
Senate versions of a piece of legislation.

Congress A meeting place of
representatives of local constituencies who can initiate, modify,
approve, or reject laws. It also shares supervision of government
agencies with the executive.

Congressional Budget Office
Created in 1974 to advise Congress on the economic effects of
spending programs and to provide information on the cost of proposed

Congressional Research Service
Created in 1914 to respond to congressional requests for information.
It also keeps track of every major bill and produces summaries of
legislation for members of Congress.

conservative coalition A vote
in Congress in which conservative Democrats join with

descriptive representation A
term coined by Hannah Pitkin to refer to the statistical
correspondence of the demographic characteristics of representatives
with those of their constituents.

discharge petition A procedure
for removing legislation from the control of a committee and bringing
it to the floor for immediate consideration. In the House, the
petition must contain the names of 218 members to succeed. In the
Senate, any member may move to discharge a bill from committee, but
the petition requires a majority vote to succeed.

division vote A method of
voting used in both houses in which members stand and are

double-tracking A method to
keep the Senate going during a filibuster, whereby a disputed bill is
temporarily shelved so that the Senate can go on with other

fast tracking– When the
President gets a bill right onto the floor, either bypassing the
committee or getting a quick approval without a hearing. He is hoping
to avoid getting amendments tacked on to the bill and is moving for a
quick passage. Essentially he is trying to sneak one in the back

filibuster A prolonged speech
or series of speeches made to delay action on legislation in the
Senate. The purpose is to kill the measure by talking it to

franking privilege The ability
of members of Congress to mail letters to their constituents free of
charge by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for

General Accounting Office
Created in 1921 to perform routine audits of the money spent
by executive departments. It also investigates agencies and makes
recommendations on every aspect of government.

gerrymandering Drawing
congressional district lines in a bizarre or unusual shape to make it
easy for a candidate of one party to win elections in that

honoraria Speaking fees
accepted by members of Congress. In 1991, the House forbade members
to accept honoraria, while the Senate limited such income.

joint committee Committee on
which both representatives and senators serve.

joint resolution A resolution
requiring approval of both houses and the signature of the president
and having the same legal status as a law.

majority leader The
legislative leader elected by party members holding the majority of
seats in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

majority-minority districts
Congressional districts designed to make it easier for minority
citizens to elect minority representatives. These districts are drawn
so that the majority of their voters are minorities.

malapportionment The creation
of congressional districts in a state which are of unequal size. The
Supreme Court in 1964 eliminated the practice by requiring that all
districts in a state contain about the same number of

marginal districts A
congressional district in which the winner of the general election
gets less than 55 percent of the vote. Such districts could easily
switch to the other party in the next election.

mark-up Revisions and
additions to legislation made by committees and subcommittees. These
changes are not part of a bill unless approved by the house of which
the committee is a part.

minority leader The head of
the minority party in each house of Congress chosen by the caucus of
the minority party. This person formulates the minority party’s
strategy and program.

multiple referral The practice
of referring a bill to several committees. Following 1995 reforms,
these can only be done sequentially (one committee acting after
another’s deliberations have finished) or by assigning distinct
portions of the bill to different committees. These reforms applied
only to the House; the Senate has had few difficulties with multiple

open rule Consent from the
Rules Committee of the House of Representatives which permits
amendments from the floor on a particular piece of

organizational view of
The theory of congressional voting behavior
which assumes that members make voting decisions to please fellow
members and obtain their goodwill. Such behavior is possible since
constituents seldom know how their representatives vote. Members vote
by following cues provided by colleagues.

parliament An assembly of
party representatives which chooses a government and discusses major
national issues. Tight party discipline usually regulates the voting
behavior of members.

party vote The extent to which
members of a party vote together in the House and Senate. By any
measure, the extent of such voting has fluctuated and is lower now
than at the turn of the century, although a slow but steady increase
has developed since 1972.

pork-barrel legislation A bill
introduced by a member of Congress that gives tangible benefits, like
a highway or bridge, to constituents in the hopes of winning votes in

president pro tempore A
position created in the Constitution to serve as presiding officer of
the Senate in the absence of the vice president.

private bill Legislation that
pertains to a particular individual, such as a person pressing a
financial claim against the government or seeking special permission
to become a naturalized citizen.

public bill Legislation that
pertains to affairs generally.

quorum call A calling of the
roll in either house of Congress to see whether the number of
representatives in attendance meets the minimum number required to
conduct official business.

representational view of
The theory of congressional voting behavior
that assumes that members make voting decisions based on their
perception of constituents’ wishes to ensure their own reelection. A
correlation between district attitudes and members’ votes has been
found on issues of importance to constituents (e.g., civil rights and
social welfare) but not on issues of remote concern to constituents
(foreign policy).

restrictive rule Consent from
the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives which permits
certain amendments to a piece of legislation but not

rider A nongermane amendment
to an important bill. It is added so the measure will “ride” to
passage through the Congress. When a bill has lots of riders, it is
called a Christmas tree bill.

roll-call vote A method of
voting used in both houses in which members answer yea or nay when
their names are called. These votes are recorded and occur in the
House at the request of 20 percent of its members.

Rules Committee In the House
of Representatives, the committee that decides which bills come up
for a vote, in what order, and under what restrictions on length of
debate and on the right to offer amendments. The Senate Rules and
Administration Committee, by contrast, possesses few

select committee Congressional
committee appointed for a limited time period and purpose.

senatorial courtesy The
tradition observed in the Senate in which that body refuses to
confirm an appointment to a federal office when the candidate is
personally obnoxious to either senator from the candidate’s

Seventeenth Amendment A

constitutional amendment ratified in 1913 requiring the popular
election of U.S. senators. Senators were previously chosen by state

simple resolution A resolution
passed by either house to establish internal chamber rules. It is not
signed by the president and has no legal force.

sophomore surge An increase in
the number of votes candidates receive between the first time elected
and their first time reelected.

Speaker of the House The
constitutionally mandated presiding officer of the House of
Representatives. The Speaker is chosen in the caucus of the majority
party and is empowered to recognize members to speak on the floor, to
rule whether a motion is germane, to assign bills to committee, to
appoint House members to select and joint committees, and to appoint
the majority members of the Rules Committee.

standing committees The
permanent committees of each house with the power to report

substantive representation A
term coined by Hannah Pitkin to refer to the correspondence between
representatives’ opinions and those of their constituents.

teller vote A method of voting
used only in the House. Members’ votes are counted by having them
pass between two tellers, first the yeas and then the nays. Since
1971, teller votes are recorded at the request of twenty

voice vote A method of voting used in
both houses in which members vote by shouting yea or nay. Votes are
not recorded.

whip A member of the party
leadership in each house who helps the party leader stay informed
about what party members are thinking, rounds up members when
important votes are to be taken, and attempts to keep a nose count of
how the voting on a controversial issue is likely to go.

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