After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
- Explain the responsibilities of Congress to the American people and its relationship with the other institutions of government.
- Describe the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution, how Congress uses these powers, and the situations in which Congress would carry out or extend these powers.
- Explain how the historical context that produced the current congressional structure creates a complex lawmaking process.
- Identify the key players and the critical building blocks that allow Congress to function effectively.
- Understand how Congress builds enough agreement among members to ensure coherent action.
- Explain the idealized version of how a bill becomes a law and how Congress adopts an annual budget.