The public has a low opinion of Congress and the Legislative Branch is often paralyzed, but there are solutions to what ails the institution. Congressional Institute President Mark Strand discusses the need for congressional reform on a podcast that was recorded with a leading automotive company. Click the player above to listen.

There are many ideas for reforming Congress, but the goal should be to let legislators legislate. Allowing Members, regardless of their party, to participate in the process, offer amendments and advocate for their constituents’ interests keeps elected officials happy, reducing the incentive to obstruct the legislative process. Members of Congress also need to be able to form bipartisan coalitions on issues that cut across ideological lines, like energy production and agriculture. Stimulating the legislative process happens to be the key to improving constituents’ opinion on Congress. The public scorns Congress because they do not think it passes legislation that is important to their lives. Frustration with Congress then prompts citizens to turn to the Executive Branch to solve problems that the legislature, not the President, should solve. Allowing the President to take over Congress’ responsibilities is a threat to the American political system, since it violates the Constitution’s checks and balances and concentrates power too much power in one person’s hands, which the Framers of the Constitution wished to prevent. Happy reforming!