Congressional Power

The house and senate have two kinds of power, as described in the Constitution; specific and implied. Specific powers are as laid out in the Constitution, primarily in Article 1, Section 8 but are seen throughout the document. Implied powers are based on interpretation of the ‘Necessary and Proper’ clause at the end of Article 1, Section 8.

Congress CAN do the following: (as stated in the Constitution; Article I, Section 8. Article IV, Section 3. Amendment XVI (Ratified February 3, 1913.)

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts, and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

• To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

• To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

• To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

• To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

• To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

• To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

• To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

• To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

• To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

• To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

• To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

• To provide and maintain a Navy;

• To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

• To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

• To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

• To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

• To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

• Based on interpretation. This is how congress’s power is implied, through the phrase ‘necessary and proper’. The implication is that the phrase can be interpreted broadly, and congress uses the phrase to maintain latitude in legislation.

• New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

• The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

• The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

The House and Senate CANNOT do the following:

• The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

• This is describing the slave trade levying a maximum of $10 per slave, but to be prohibited on January 1, 1808

• The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

• Writ of Habeas Corpus states that a person may not be held without just cause, and may be ordered released by the court of the land.

• No Bill of Attainder or ex-post facto Law shall be passed.

• A Bill of Attainder is a person being able to be convicted without trial.

• No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. (Section clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

• No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

• No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

• No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

• No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

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