This course will focus on the design and operation of the U.S. Congress and its relationship with the Executive Branch. Students will also gain insights into how legislators spend their time in Washington and in their constituencies. A key feature of the class will involve the analysis of legislative behavior and executive action on contemporary policy and political issues. Other topics include the committee system and lawmaking, presidential powers, House and Senate rules/procedures, political parties, the budget process and campaign finance, and the origins of partisanship and polarization. There will also be a focus on past efforts at reforming the institution of Congress, and discussion of options for improving the functions of, and public regard for, the Congress. Students should be prepared to actively participate in class discussions.