How Congress Lost, Part I: The Defeated Congress

Congressional Reform By Kevin R. Kosar February 9, 2024

“Congress was intended to be the most important institution in our national government…. Congress’s centrality in American political life is evident in the geography of Washington, DC. The four quadrants of the capital city all meet at Capitol Hill. The name Capitol Hill itself is a reference to the Capitoline Hill in Rome, where the Romans placed their great temple to Jupiter, the king of the gods. That should say
something about the importance of Congress…. Overall, the Constitution creates a system of government in which the president and the courts have limited ability to involve themselves in legislative business, but Congress has multiple ways to involve itself in the business of the executive and judicial branches. Ours is not a system of coequal branches. It is one of legislative domination.”

And yet, the Congress of today seems weak compared to the executive, and often deferential to the judiciary. How did this come to be? This report by Jay Cost, the first in a series, assesses the weakening of the First Branch and identifies reforms for strengthening our national legislature.

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