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As specified in the Constitution Congress is a separate and equal branch of the government whose duty is to engage in deliberate legislative actions balance representational and lawmaking duties and moderate the power of the other branches However Americans currently view the institution negatively and base their perceptions on preconceived notions misinformation and media bias As a result Americans believe that legislative processes have degenerated into dysfunctional partisanship that Congress favors special interests over its constituents and that Congress has ceded its power to the executive branch As Congress has evolved in reaction to political and external pressures negative perceptions of the process and institution have contributed to declining congressional confidence and approval and have elevated the primacy of the executive branchVision and Perception of LegislationSection I of the Constitution mandates that Congress debate issues and enact laws that are beneficial to the nation Representational functions are not explicitly detailed but are assumed through the election specifications Davidson Oleszek Lee 2012 Additionally many scholars concede that there are two congressesa lawmaking body concerned with national issues and an assembly of representatives concerned with local issues This dichotomy creates a natural tension for both the constituents who demand the legislators full attention and the lawmaker who must balance constituent issues with national-level policies Negative public sentiment of Congress is not caused entirely by the reaction to policies or political party preferences but by the context and manner in which it debates legislation Congress must operate in an environment that is deliberate and inclusive on one hand and expeditious and decisive on the other in full view of the public Sinclair 2009 p 389 According to Hibbing and Larimer 2008 the more Congress engages in open and honest debate the more unfavorable Americans feel about the institution Likewise the public will view a Congress that is aggressive in enacting legislation and exerting its oversight
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