The Hidden Powers of the People's Branch

The Hidden Powers of the People's Branch
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

What good is Congress?” Josh Chafetz provokes readers with this question at the outset of Congress's Constitution. It certainly is a timely query, given that nine out of ten Americans now routinely tell Gallup that they disapprove of how Congress does its job. Americans on both the left and the right are increasingly fed up with what is meant to be the people's branch. Major problems and campaign promises languish on Capitol Hill, while the pace of tit-for-tat hyper-partisanship escalates alongside the flow of money and influence that fuels congressional politics. Yet Chafetz's compelling new book, in combination with the presidency of Donald Trump, bids us to consider Congress's roles and contributions in a new light. Even those more inclined to be skeptics after the 2016 election may reconsider their views by the time Trump leaves office.

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