Congressional Powers

Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution defines the powers of the American Congress.  The US Congress consists of two houses; the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The states are empowered over the conduct of federal elections by Section 4 of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.  However, the Congress has the power to alter such regulations.  The American Congress, being a legislative body has certain inherent powers.  The Congress has the power to investigate legislative needs.

Section 8 of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides a list of congressional powers over financial and budgetary matters such as collection of taxes, duties, imposts and excises, repayment of common defense and general welfare debts.  Proper allocation of funds also comes under powers of the Congress.  This power provides proper control over the executive branch.  Section 8 also empowers the Congress with the authority to borrow money on the credit of the United States.

The Congress plays an important role in national defense.  It has the power to maintain the armed forces and make rules for the military.  The Congress is vested with the power to declare war.  Establishment of inferior courts, post offices and post roads, issuance of patents and copyrights, fixation of standards of weights and measures, also come under Congress’s powers.  The Congress can admit new states in to the American Union and allow impeachment to remove the President.  It can also remove federal judges or federal officers.  Above all, the Congress is also given the power to make all laws necessary to execute the foregoing powers, and all other powers granted by the Constitution of the United States.

The U.S. Constitution does not clearly define the implied powers of Congress.  However the Constitution permits the American Congress to make any law that is necessary and proper to carry out its enumerated powers.  This is also interpreted as “elastic clause” by jurists.  The reason for being that it stretches the authority of Congress.


Inside Congressional Powers