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Powers of the USA Congress


The Congress is the autonomous legislature of the United States of America government that consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The two are constituted of representatives and senators respectively chosen through direct election. The number of representatives is 435 representing districts and serves a two-year term. The number of senators is 100 serving a six-year term of office and each state is assigned two senators despite the population or geographical size. Every two years up to one-third of the Senate is elected. It is the major policy-making body holding the legislative powers of the U.S.A government.

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The powers of the Congress

Article one section eight of the U.S.A constitution enumerates the powers, specific authorities, and responsibilities vested on the U.S.A congress by the constitution which are exercised limited to the bill of rights and other protections within the constitution. These powers include the ability to borrow money on the credit of the government, regulate foreign trade, lay collect or impose taxes and duty, payment of public debts, defense, and generally protect the welfare of the government.

They comprise the powers and the limitations placed on them as listed in the constitution. Some of these powers include the powers to overrule the interpretation of clauses within the constitution, make amendments to laws and clauses as it sees fit, establish uniform order of naturalization, make money and regulate its value, fix standard weights and measures, and rule over monetary offenders in case of counterfeiting of the currency. Others are; powers to promote art, science, technology, and development, protect rights to inventions written and other materials, declare war, provide and maintain the navy, exercise exclusive legislation, and take power over commercial decisions.

The Commerce Clause gives Congress authority to regulate trade activities with other nations, among the Nations within the U.S. and with the Indian Nations. It’s also meant to cover disputes arising within trading parties and is often paired with the necessary and proper clause to cover the wider perspective of these powers. The Copyright clause guards rights to intellectual property, copy and patent rights with the view of promoting scientific and artistic development. It also seeks to secure the work of authors, inventors, video and audio material producers of the exclusive rights to their respective discoveries and materials.

The commerce clause gives Congress the powers to regulate trade with foreign nations, make laws within the commerce field, and make discriminatory state legislation where permissible. Powers of federal regulation, federal rights to navigable waters, buying, selling, manufacture, and navigation of goods. Powers to the making of new commercial deals, national labor relations, and the control of cannabis plant growing processing and consumption.

The powers of employing discriminatory state legislation, restriction on navigation and movement of goods, manufacture, processing, consumption of products, and the making of new commercial deals infringe on the application of state rights. This, therefore, reduces the federal system by making the control of these activities central by the congress when the authority should be divided between the central and the local governing authorities that are either provinces or states.

The implied powers include regulating the value of the American currency against other foreign currencies and vice versa, punishment of counterfeiters and offenders of monetary offenses, and this is geared towards checking fraud and inflation rates. The powers to grant letters of marque and reprisal, powers to support the forces restricted to a maximum of two years to avoid the war situation from going beyond civilian control and to restrain the rise of wars and violent confrontation. The powers of peacemaking and the right to call in the state militia in pursuit of peace. This is meant to maintain the peace levels within the states and with other nations.

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The exclusive powers to make rules and regulations governing the naval and land forces that are meant to restrict the activities and involvement of the forces to only demanding/ justified situations. The exclusive right of legislating for the nation’s resources that covers land, water, and overseas resources dictating the use and exploitation of human, capital, monetary and other state properties. The Necessary and proper clause also referred to as the coefficient clause gives congress the powers to make all laws necessary in the execution of the powers vested in the Government, governmental departments, and officers by the constitution.

Right from the onset, the clause is seen to give the government too much power and areas of operation that threaten civil liberties. Examples of these excessive powers are the areas of taxation, formation of the national bank that raised the concerns of the northern upper class taking advantage of the bank to exploit the southern people.

The spending powers that entitle the congress to consumption of state resources, power of borrowing money for the federal government virtually giving it total control of the state currency, control of production and consumption, justification of federal criminal laws affecting economic activities like the federal kidnapping Act, justification of criminal laws to do with the federal governments rightful operation that includes laws against assaulting or execution of national employees. All these powers give too much power to congress resulting in infringement of personal rights and liberties. (Eldred & Ashcroft.2003)


The powers vested on congress by the constitution should be highly controlled by the other arms of government and authority-making bodies. This is to avoid the infringement of state rights, reduction of federalism, and to avoid overuse of power by congress. Failure to do this will result in exploitation of personal and state rights at large resulting in an unfavorable political situation that may raise public tension and raise the chances of confrontations within the United States and with other nations.

List of Reference

Eldred & Ashcroft. (2003). The Reach of Congressional Power. Web.

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"Powers of the USA Congress." StudyCorgi, 18 Nov. 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "Powers of the USA Congress." November 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Powers of the USA Congress." November 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Powers of the USA Congress'. 18 November.

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