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CongressThe First Branch$
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Benjamin Ginsberg and Kathryn Wagner Hill

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300220537

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300220537.001.0001

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Reflections on Congress

Reflections on Congress

(p.290) 10 Reflections on Congress

Benjamin Ginsberg

Kathryn Wagner Hill

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at several common complaints about Congress. When Americans are asked why they have a negative image of the Congress, three factors appear to stand out. First, Congress is seen as having slow and cumbersome procedures that interfere with “getting the job done.” Second, Congress is seen as polarized, with members unwilling to develop the compromises needed to serve the public interest. Third, Congress is seen as corrupt, serving lobbyists, special interests, and campaign contributors rather than the American people. The chapter thus considers whether these charges amount to a serious indictment of Congress, its members, and its procedures.

Keywords:   Congress, public interest, corruption, complaints, polarization, presidentialism, congressional gridlock

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