It may seem reasonable to refuse to compromise with Democrats in order to hold out for what they want, for very committed, very conservative Republicans who fundamentally disagree with liberal goals and policies.
The Tea Party, the Club for Growth, and Americans for Tax Reform are some of the conservative organizations that are influential.
In each case the Democrats have a competing narrative about what is happening, but for the most part the contention confuses voters, causing them to blame all establishment politicians for not getting anything done.
Sometimes confusing voters with conflicting media reports is an effective strategy for getting them to tune out.
As a result, representatives and senators have been more focused on representing their party than on making laws that respond to policy needs at the local level.
It can cause more moderate Republicans to try to satisfy their Tea Party critics, but it can also cause others to leave public service.
The end of bipartisanship in the institution she had served since 1995 led to the retirement of Republican senator Olympia Snowe.
Steve LaTourette, an Ohio Republican who had already won his primary and was almost certainly going to be reelected, decided to leave the House.
Several Republicans decided not to run for reelection.
In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order, that phrase being the new normal.
We must never adjust to the coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set at the top.
The regular and casual undermining of our democratic ideals must never be viewed as normal.
We must not accept the daily sundering of our country.
There is something serious at stake for both citizens and their representatives when it comes to representation, lawmaking, and hyperpartisanship.
Many partisan activists who have contributed time and money have strong policy preferences.
People want sound national policy, but they are often disappointed.
The need to secure reelection by catering to local interests often means that their representatives have less incentive to focus on national lawmaking.
They want to serve their local interests and needs, but also want to be reelected to office.
They have to face personal, party, and special interest demands that might not suit the voters back home.
Voters lose faith in their representative institutions when part of their job is being the creation and dissemination of a narrative that satisfies competing constituencies.
The Constitution gives the U.S. Congress enormous powers, despite the fact that they never anticipated the size of the federal government.
The representation of short-term popular opinion versus long-term national interests was more important than the conflict between local and national interests.
The basic powers of Congress are laid out in the Constitution.
They include the powers to tax, to pay debts, to regulate interstate commerce, and to provide for the common defense and welfare of the United States.
We can talk about Congresses in a coherent way if they are numbered.
There is a two-year election cycle.
The term of the 116th Congress runs from January to the end of 2020.
The principle of checks and balances was strengthened when the founders wanted two chambers so that they could serve as a restraint on each other.
The framers wanted the Senate to cool the passions of the people in the House.
Although the two houses are equal in their power, there are some key differences, including the fact that tax bills must originate in the House and that both must pass every bill in identical form before it can be signed by the president.
Some of the major differences are outlined in Table 7.1.
Size is the biggest factor determining the differences between the House and Senate.
The Senate and House need more rules and hierarchy in order to function efficiently.
Two years for the House and six for the Senate are provided by the Constitution, but all senators do not come up for reelection at the same time.
House members are referred to as congresspersons or members of Congress, a term that sometimes applies to senators as well, and they never stop campaigning.
Senators can suspend their preoccupation with the next campaign for the first four or five years of their terms and thus, at least in theory, have more time to spend on the affairs of the nation.
The minimum age for members of the House and Senate is different.
The Senate was expected to be better able to deal with national lawmaking.
The constitutional provision states that senators be elected by state legislatures, not by the people.
The authors of the original Constitution believed that the Senate was a special chamber that was removed from the people.
The House of Representatives has budget bills.
The Senate has to pass budget bills as well, and most of the time differences are negotiated between the two houses.
The budget process has gotten more complicated as a result of congressional struggles to deal with the deficit, which called for reductions in spending at the same time that interest groups were pleading for expensive new programs.
The budget process shows the constant tension between being responsive to local or particular interests, supporting the party leadership, and at the same time trying to make laws in the interest of the nation as a whole.
The power of impeachment of public figures such as presidents and Supreme Court justices is one of the differences between the House and Senate.
The Senate tries the official if they are charged with treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House, but the Senate did not find the president guilty.
Confirmation of appointments to the executive and judicial branches, as well as sharing the treaty-making power with the president, are all done by the Senate.
Congress was granted the bulk of the lawmaking power because the founders were concerned about the abuse of power by all branches.
The power of Congress to regulate commerce, the exclusive power to raise and spend money for the national government, and significant powers in foreign policy are all contained in the Constitution.