Have you ever wondered just what the Constitution says Congress can do? We all know they do a lot more than the founders ever dreamed of. So here's a list of the powers bestowed to Congress (Article 1, Section 8).
1.Collect taxes for defense and general welfare.
2.Borrow money (Yeah, they got that one down pat).
3.Regulate Commerce, both international and interstate.
4.Establish uniform rules for naturalization, and uniform laws for bankruptcy.
5.Coin money. Establish standards for weights and measures.
6.Provide punishment for counterfeiting.
7.Establish Post Offices and post roads.
8.Establish patents and copyrights.
9.Create the federal court system (except the Supreme Court).
10.Define crimes and punishments for crimes committed on the high seas, and against the “Law of Nations.”
12.Raise and support an army.
13.Provide and maintain a navy.
14.Make the rules for regulating the army and the navy.
15.Provide for calling out the militia when necessary.
16.Make rules for regulating the militia.
17.Govern the nation's capital city, federal forts, docks and other “needful” buildings.
There you have it. The powers delegated to Congress. Section 9 has a slew of things Congress cannot do. And Section 10 what the states are prohibited from doing.
Smarter, more scholarly, people than I have spent untold hours interpreting just how far some of these powers go. The “commerce clause,” for example. In the last 80 years or so, congress has used that one to regulate everything bought or sold – and then some. Even forbidding a man from the midwest to grow wheat for his own personal use – since some might, one day, be sold across a state line.
By Tim Fullerton