This book explains why Congress is the indispensable institution for safeguarding popular, democratic, and constitutional government. Even though its record over the past two centuries presents a mixed picture, the record of the other two branches is also decidedly mixed. The author has workedfor Congress for the past four decades and writes from a perspective that intimately understands its shortcomings while appreciating its strengths. He contends that portraying Congress as so inherently inept that it must be kept subordinate to presidential or judicial power is misguided anduninformed. The Constitution looks to Congress as the first branch because it is the institution through which citizens at the local and state level engage in self-government. Although Presidents claim to be the national representative, they cannot substitute for the knowledge and legitimacy brought by membersof Congress. Congress, after all, is the people's branch and this book restores it to its rightful claim.