AP Government

Unit 3

Chapter 10 Vocabulary

  • constituents: the residents of a congressional district or state

  • reapportionment: the assigning by congress of congressional seats after each census. state legislatures reapportion state legislative districts

  • redistricting: the redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population

  • gerrymandering: the drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumbent. there are two types of gerrymandering—cracking, which the majority party uses to break a strong minority party district into pieces to be merged with other districts, thereby reducing the minority party’s strength in that one district, and packing, which merges pieces of the majority party in its weak districts into a single, strong district

  • safe seat: an elected office that is predictably won by one party or the other, so the success of that party’s candidate is almost taken for granted

  • incumbent: the current holder of elected office

  • earmarks: special spending projects that are set aside on behalf of individual members of congress for their constituents

  • bicameralism: the principle of a two-house legislature

  • enumerated powers: the powers explicitly given to congress in the constitution

  • speaker: the presiding officer in the house of representatives, formally elected by the house but selected by the majority party

  • party caucus: a meeting of the members of a party in a legislative chamber to select party leaders and to develop party policy

  • majority leader: the legislative leader selected by the majority party who helps plan party strategy, confers with other party leaders, and tries to keep members of the party in line

  • minority leader: the legislative leader selected by the minority party as spokesperson for the opposition

  • whip: the party leader who is the liaison between the leadership and the rank-and-file in the legislature

  • closed rule: a procedural rule in the house of representatives that prohibits any amendments to bills or provides that only members of the committee reporting the bill may offer amendments

  • open rule: a procedural rule in the house of representatives that permits floor amendments within the overall time allocated to the bill

  • president pro tempore: an officer of the senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president

  • filibuster: a procedural practice in the senate whereby a senator refuses to relinquish the floor and thereby delays proceedings and prevents a vote on a controversial issue

  • cloture: a procedure for terminating debate, especially filibusters, in the senate

  • standing committee: a permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area

  • special or select committee: a congressional committee created for a specific purpose, sometimes to conduct an investigation

  • joint committee: a committee composed of members of both the house of representatives and the senate; such committees oversee the library of congress and conduct investigations

  • seniority rule: a legislative practice that assigns the chair of a committee or subcommittee to the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service on the committee

  • conference committee: a committee appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different form

  • discharge petition: a petition that, if signed by a majority of the members of the house of representatives, will pry a bill from committee and bring it to the floor for consideration

  • rider: a provision attached to a bill—to which it may or may not be related—in order to secure its passage or defeat

  • pocket veto: a veto exercised by the president after congress has adjourned; if the president takes no action for ten days, the bill does not become law and is not returned to congress for a possible override

  • override: an action taken by congress to reverse a presidential veto, requiring a two-thirds majority in each chamber

  • delegate: an official who is expected to represent the view of his or her constituents even when personally holding different views; one interpretation of the role of the legislator

  • logrolling: mutual aid and vote trading among legislators

  • attentive public: citizens who follow public affairs closely

  • polarization: the extent to which liberals and conservatives occupy the more extreme positions on the liberal-conservative ideological spectrum

Chapter 11 Vocabulary

  • parliamentary government: a form of government in which the chief executive is the leader of the majority party in the legislature

  • electoral college: the electoral system used in electing the president and vice president, in which voters vote for electors pledged to cast their ballots for a particular party’s candidates

  • presidential ticket: the joint listing of the presidential and vice presidential candidates on the same ballout, as required by the twelfth amendment

  • vesting clause: the president’s constitutional authority to control most executive functions

  • treaty: a formal, public agreement between the united states and one or more nations that must be approved by two-thirds of the senate

  • executive agreement: a formal agreement between the US president and leaders of other nations that does not require senate approval

  • congressional-executive agreement: a formal agreement between the US president and the leaders of other nations that requires approval by both houses of congress

  • recess appointment: presidential appointment made without senate confirmation during senate recess

  • veto: a formal decision to reject a bill passed by congress

  • pocket veto: a formal decision to reject a bill passed by congress after it adjourns—if congress adjourns during the ten days that the president is allowed to sign or veto a law, the president can reject the law by taking no action at all

  • take care clause: the constitutional requirement (in article II, section 3) that presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they disagree with the purpose of those laws

  • inherent powers: powers that grow out of the very existence of government

  • state of the union address: the president’s annual statement to congress and the nation

  • signing statements: a formal document that explains why a president is signing a particular bill into law. these statements may contain objections to the bill and promises not to implement key sections

  • impeachment: a formal accusation against president or another public official; the first step in removal from office

  • war power resolution: a resolution passed in 1973 requiring the president to give advance warning of a military attack or ask congress for a declaration of war or specific legislation

  • executive privilege: the right to keep executive communications confidential especially if they relate to national security

  • executive orders: formal orders to government or an agency or agencies as a whole that carry the force of law issued by the president to direct action by the federal bureaucracy

  • executive memorandum: a less powerful formal order to an agency or agencies, that does not carry the force of law, to undertake a particular course of action

  • impoundment: a decision by the president not to spend money appropriated by congress, now prohibited under federal law

  • line item veto: presidential power to strike, or remove specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package; declared unconstitutional by the supreme court

  • chief of staff: the head of the white house staff

  • executive office of the president (eop): the cluster of presidential staff agencies that help the president carry out his or her responsibilities. currently, the office includes the office of management and budget, the council of economic advisers, and several other units

  • office of management and budget (omb): a presidential staff agency that serves a clearinghouse for budgetary requests and management improvements for government agencies

  • presidential support score: the percentage of times a president wins on key votes in congress

  • mandate: a president’s claim of broad public support

  • political capital: the amount of overall public approval that a president can use to win support for major decisions and proposals

  • rally point: a rise in public approval of the president that follows a crisis as americans “rally round the flag” and the chief executive

Chapter 12 Vocabulary

  • bureaucracy: a form of organization that operates through impersonal, uniform regulations and procedures

  • bureaucrat: a negative term for describing a career government employee

  • department: usually the largest organization in government with the largest mission; also the highest rank in the federal hierarchy

  • independent stand-alone agency: a government agency that operates outside a traditional government department, but under the president’s direct control

  • independent regulatory commission: a government agency or commission with regulatory power whose independence is protected by congress

  • government corporation: a government agency that is designed like a business corporation, and is created to secure greater freedom of action flexibility for a particular program

  • senior executive service: established by congress in 1978 as a flexible, mobile corps of senior career executives who work closely with presidential appointees to manage government

  • civil service: federal employees who work for government through a competitive, not political selection process

  • spoils system: a system of public employment based on rewarding party loyalists and friends

  • patronage: the process of awarding favors to the party in power

  • merit system: a system of public employment in which selection and promotion depend on demonstrated performance rather than political patronage

  • office of personnel management (opm): an agency that administers civil service laws, and regulations

  • merit systems protection board: an independent agency that oversees and protects merit in the federal government personnel system

  • hatch act: a federal statute barring federal employees from active participation in certain kinds of politics and protecting them from being fired on partisan grounds

  • implementation: the process of putting a law into practice through bureaucratic regulations or spending

  • administrative discretion: authority given by congress to the federal bureaucracy to use reasonable judgment implementing the laws

  • regulation: a precise statement of how a law is implemented

  • rule-making process: the detailed process for drafting a regulation

  • federal register: the official record of what the federal bureaucracy does

  • uncontrollable spending: the portion of the federal budget that is spent on previously enacted programs, such as social security, that the president and congress are unwilling to cut

  • entitlement program: program such as unemployment insurance, disaster relief, or disability payments that provides benefits to all eligible citizens

  • federal reserve board: a variation of an independent regulatory agency with a chairman and board that controls the supply of money that flows through the US economy

  • oversight: legislative or executive review of a particular government program or organization that can be in response to a crisis of some kind or part of a routine review

  • central clearance: review of all executive branch testimony, reports, and draft legislation by the office of management and budget (omb) to ensure that each communication to congress is in accordance with the president’s program

  • public policy: a specific course of action that government take to address a problem

  • politics: the interaction of the people and their government, including citizens, interest groups, political parties, and the institutions of government at all levels. politics is concerned with who gets what, when, where, and how from government

  • policy makers: individuals and groups that make the actual choices to create a public policy

  • distributive policy: a public policy such as social security that provides benefits to all groups in society

  • redistributive policy: a policy that provides to one group of society while taking away benefits from another through policy solutions such as tax increases to pay for job training

  • zero-sum games: a policy that takes away benefits or money from one group to give to another

  • reverse distributive policy: a policy that reduces benefits for all groups, often by imposing regulations or taxes that govern everyone, rich or poor

  • nondecision: a decision not to move ahead with the policy process. in short, it is a decision not to decide

  • policy agenda: the list of issues that the federal government pays attention to

  • think tank: a nongovernmental organization that seeks to influence public policy through research and education

  • issue-attention cycle: the movement of public opinion toward public policy from initial enthusiasm for action to realization of costs and a decline in interest

  • incremental policy: small adjustments to existing public policies

  • punctuating policy: radical changes to public policy that occur only after the mobilization of large segments of society to demand action

  • iron triangle: a policy-making instrument composed of a tightly related alliance of a congressional committee, interest groups, and a federal department or agency

  • issue network: a policy-making instrument composed of loosely related interest groups, congressional committee, presidential aides, and other parties