Congress Explained: Representation and Lawmaking in the First Branch helps students understand the individual members who operate the pulls-and-levers of the branch to achieve their legislative goals. Instead of introducing Congress through abstract theories or a list of procedures and processes, Casey Burgat and Charles Hunt walk students through the inner workings of Congress and how its members have come to see their jobs as representatives. Beyond passing legislation, representation includes how members communicate with their constituents, act in their home districts, and reflect the people whom they are tasked to serve. Discussing member motivations, purposes, backgrounds, and constraints allows students to thoroughly engage with how Congress, government, and politics fulfill their core responsibilities to the American people.
Chapter 1: Introduction: A Broken Congress?
Chapter 2: Mastering the Basics: House and Senate
Chapter 3: Representation: Congress and their Constituents
Chapter 4: Congressional Elections: The Pathway to Congress
Chapter 5: Parties in Congress: Power and Polarization
Chapter 6: The Congressional Committee System: Dividing the Workload
Chapter 7: Policymaking in the Gridlock Era
Chapter 8: The Congressional Budget Process: Follow the Money
Chapter 9: Congress and the President: The Two Ends of Pennsylvania Avenue
Chapter 10: Congress, the Courts, and the Bureaucracy: Non-Legislator Legislating
Chapter 11: Congress and External Influencers – Interest Groups, Activists, and Media
Chapter 12: Conclusion: The Congress We Deserve