The house makes many of its most important decisions

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The House makes many of its most important decisions when Dems and Rups meet separately Independents have to choose who to pledge their allegiance to Party Caucus : A meeting of a party in a legislative chamber to select party leaders and to develop party policy / Plays its most important role when it selects the party’s leaders at the start of a two-year Congress Useful when a controversial issue hits the floor because the majority party has more power Minority parties must meet to enforce the party line on key votes OTHER HOUSE LEADERS 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 the spokesperson for the opposition Whips : The party leader who is the liaison between the leadership and the rank-and-file in the legislature Generally given a list of members to keep in line depending on the issue THE HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE The House Rules Committee is the most powerful in both houses
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Decides the rules governing the length of the floor debate on any legislative issue and sets limits on the number and kinds of floor amendments that will be allowed Rule : A ticket to enter the floor Can delay consideration of a bill Closed Rule : A procedure in the HoR that permits floor amendments within the overall time allocated to the bill / often reserved for tax and spending bills Open Rule : Permits floor amendments within the allocated time given to the bill LEADING THE SENATE Allows more time for debate and procedures are more informal since the body is smaller It is often said that the Senate has 100 separate power centers and is so splintered that party leaders have difficulty arranging the schedule from day to day The Senate is run by the majority party leader Elected by the majority party The President is the most visible leader if the Senate is the same party as them Considered the party’s national spokesman when the 2 parties are different The officer of the Senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president is the President Pro Tempore Usually the most senior member of the Senate The vice president is responsible for breaking tie votes and controlling debate in those situations Each Senate party meets in caucus at the start of a new Congress, each selects its own leadership, and each has a policy committee that helps set the legislative agenda Individual senator can offer amendments on virtually any topic to a pending bill, occasionally allowing them to delay passage of a bill 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
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