Congress in the Modern Era
The Founders created a Congress designed to protect the public interest while balancing the conflicting views and concerns of citizens. Accordingly they designed the legislative process to be slow and messy. The goal was for Congress to be a deliberative body rather than a decisive one. This slow pace provides some of the checks that the Founders wanted to achieve. At times, the elected officials operate in turbulent and contentious waters; at other times, the members of the opposing parties reach collegial arrangements that place the interest of the public at the center of the decision. But over time Congress has changed and become a less deliberative body, focusing more on individual members’ interests rather than the interests of the nation as a whole.