The following are words, phrases or questions you should know and understand to do well on the mid-term. You will be asked not only to be able to define the terms but also to explain their significance, such as which chamber uses them, and what, if any, controversy may be involved.
The “two” Congresses Define the time referred to as a Congress (such as the 115th Congress) Who runs for election? Constitutional requirements for running for Congress Tasks done for constituents by member offices Apportionment Redistricting processes and the use of commissions in some states What important voting law did the Supreme Court issue a controversial decision on in 2013 that has had a strong effect on local election laws, including redistricting? What did that law do? Gerrymandering, “cracking” and “packing” Supreme Court cases on fundraising and campaign spending Role of a member of Congress Different tasks members may concentrate on to do their jobs. Deciding what to emphasize as a member Leadership – know the offices and who elects them for both parties in both chambers How is a member given her committee assignment? What elements are involved in the decision-making on which committee seats go to which members? What kinds of things does a committee do? If you were a chair, how could you use your position to advance an issue before your chamber? What kinds of things could your committee do? Congressional staff: what limits, if any, are placed on how many people a member can hire? What kinds of jobs do staff perform? Under the Constitution, what steps must bills take before they can become law? Who may introduce a bill? Who may co-sponsor a bill? What forms of legislation can become law? Other than lawmaking, what do other forms of legislation accomplish?
Does a member have to introduce legislation? Give some reasons why a member might introduce a bill. What is a committee hearing? What is a committee markup? Explain their importance. Do committees have to approve a bill before it comes to the floor? Are there ways around this? Which chamber has the tighter rules on this issue? What is a committee report? When does a committee issue one? Why are they such useful and important documents? Describe the suspension of the rules process. Why is it used? What are the major constraints of using it? How do members get appointed to the House Rules Committee? What is their relationship with the House leadership? What does the Rules Committee do? what is a special rule? Explain why this is such an important device in the House. What is the “previous question?” Why is it so significant to the House? What do we mean by controlled time on the House floor? Who does a member need to ask in order to get time to speak on a bill? What kinds of time constraints are involved? What is a discharge petition? What is the Committee of the Whole? When is it used? What is an amendment? What kinds of things can you do to a piece of legislation with an amendment? Talk about degrees, and substitute versus perfecting.
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