Washington Center

The Congress: History, Operation and Current Issues

Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
September 26 to December 5, 2017
Semester Dates: 
August 29 to December 5, 2017
Core Seminar

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.

Draft Syllabus


*Required for all semester students enrolled in the Congress, Supreme Court, Presidency, International Policy and Media seminars:  

The first four weeks of this semester (August 30 to September 20) will be spent in a special topics module taught by Professor Jennifer Diascro on Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. This module will account for 15% of the core seminar final course grade. See syllabus below (forthcoming). Please contact Dr. Diascro at jennifer.diascro@ucdc.edu with questions. 

Dr. Lawrence will begin teaching the Congress seminar on Tuesdays, beginning September 26, and he will officially be your instructor of record for the term, responsible for computing and submitting final course grades at the end of the term.

**NO additional registration required.

Course ID: