Powers of Congress

8 Powers Congress Has

Financial and Budgetary Matters

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. The Sixteenth Amendment, ratified in 1913, extended power of taxation to include income taxes. The Constitution also grants Congress exclusively the power to appropriate funds.

National Defense

the exclusive power to declare war, to raise and maintain the armed forces, and to make rules for the military.


Congress also has the power to establish post offices and post roads, issue patents and copyrights, fix standards of weights and measures, establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court, 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." Article Four gives Congress the power to admit new states into the Union.


Impeach officials including the president. In 1868, this committee helped impeach president Andrew Johnson who was almost convicted; Johnson stayed in office.


Congress has the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States

To coin money, regulate the value, and fix the standard of weights of measurements

Oversee other branches

One congressional power is oversight of other branches of the government. In the early 1970s, the Senate investigated the activities of President Richard Nixon regarding Watergate which led to the president's resignation.

Defense Spending

Congress authorizes defense spending to buy and maintain aircraft carriers such as the USS Bon Homme Richard.


To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces