The Powers of Congress

The Powers of Congress - first be approved by both the...

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The Powers of Congress Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution outlines the powers of Congress. These specified powers are sometimes called the enumerated powers. The necessary and proper clause — commonly referred to as the elastic clause also gives Congress the power to do whatever it deems “necessary and proper” to meet its constitutional mandate. Example: The federal government spends billions of dollars each year on highway construction, which is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Congress justifies funding federal highways through the necessary and proper clause: Federal roads improve transportation, which, in turn, facilitates interstate commerce, a power the Constitution does specifically grant to Congress. In other words, funding federal roads is “necessary and proper” to regulate interstate commerce. The Constitution gives Congress two important powers: 1. The power to make laws: Only Congress can make laws. For a bill to become a law, it must
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Unformatted text preview: first be approved by both the House and the Senate. The bill then goes to the president, who either signs it or vetoes it. Congress can override the presidents veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses. 2. The power of the purse: Only Congress can tax citizens and spend money raised by taxes. The Senate has some additional powers: It confirms presidential appointments to key federal offices, including federal judgeships. The Senate also ratifies all treaties. The Constitution also lists prohibited powers, or things Congress may not do, including: Passing an ex post facto law, which makes something illegal after it has already been done Passing a bill of attainder, which declares a person guilty of a crime Suspending the writ of habeas corpus, which requires police to charge everyone they arrest. Congress can only suspended this writ during times of national emergency....
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