The Power to Tax Tax- a charge levied by government on persons or property to meet public needs • The Constitution gives Congress the power to tax in order to meet public needs, protect domestic industry, or protect public health and safety. • Congress may tax only for public purposes, not for private benefit. • Congress may not tax exports.
Direct Tax- one that must be paid by the person on whom it is imposed. • Ex: ownership of land or buildings • Direct taxes must be divided among the states according to their population. (Income tax being the exception.) • Two Types of Tax • Congress has not done this since 1861 • Indirect Tax- one first paid by one person but then passed on to another. • Ex: tobacco companies
The Power to Borrow • Congress may borrow more than it collects. • public debt - all of the money borrowed by the Fed. Government over the years that has not yet been repaid + interest. • The Federal Government regularly practices deficit financing- spending more than it takes in each year. The Outstanding Public Debt as of 31 Mar 2008 at 08:26:00 PM GMT is:$9,418,412,310,192.11 The estimated population of the United States is 303,722,820so each citizen's share of this debt is $31,009.89.
The Commerce Power • Congress may regulate interstate and foreign trade. • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) • The Supreme Court ruled that the power to regulate commerce included all commercial intercourse between states and nations. • The commerce power implies many others
The Currency Power • Congress has the power to issue money and regulate its value. • Since it was founded, the U.S. has been issuing coins in gold, silver, and other metals. • Paper money was first issued in 1791- There was question as to whether this was legal tender. • Legal tender- any kind of money that a creditor must by law accept as payment for debts.
Bankruptcy • Congress has the power to establish uniform bankruptcy laws. • A Bankrupt individual is one whom a court has found to be unable to pay his or her debts in full. Bankruptcy is the legal proceeding in which the bankrupt’s assets are distributed among those to whom a debt is owed. • Both the state and national government have the power to regulate bankruptcy.
Foreign Relations and War Powers • Foreign Relations Powers • Congress has the power to deal with foreign states and shares these powers with the President. • War Powers • Congress may • declare war • raise and support armies and a navy • make rules governing the land and naval forces • call for militias • grant letters of marque and reprisal and make rules concerning captures on land and water.
Naturalization • Congress has the power to make citizens of another country citizens of the U.S. and establish the procedures for them to do so. The Postal Power • Congress has the power to establish post offices and post roads.
Copyrights and Patents • Congress grants rights over publications and inventions. Copyright- the exclusive right of an author to reproduce, publish, and sell his or her creative work. • Good for life of author + 70 years • Not enforced by the Copyright office, however, the owner may sue for damages in Fed. court.
Copyrights and Patents • Congress grants rights over publications and inventions. Patent- grants a person the sole right to manufacture, use, or sell “any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” • Good for up to 20 years • May only be extended by special act of Congress
Weights and Measures • Congress has the power to fix the standards of weights and measures in the country
Territories and Other Areas • Congress has the power to acquire, manage, and dispose federal areas. • Congress may acquire land by purchase, gift, or eminent domain – the power to take private property for public use
Judicial Powers • Congress has the authority to create federal courts below the Supreme Court.
The Necessary & Proper Clause • States that Congress has the power to make all laws necessary to carry out enumerated powers. • This clause is the source of Congress’ implied powers. • Also called the “Elastic Clause” because it has allowed Congress to stretch it’s powers.
The Battle Over Implied Powers • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)- The Supreme Court strengthened the idea that implied powers were necessary to conduct government for the benefit of the people (liberal construction) • In practice today “necessary and proper” is generally interpreted as “convenient and useful,” as long as the implied powers have their basis in expressed powers.
Examples • The power to raise an army and navy • Implies: the power to establish other military branches and to draft men into service. • The taxing power • Implies: the power to make tax evasion a crime and provide for its punishment. • The commerce power • Implies: the power to fix minimum wages and maximum work hours.
Constitutional Amendments • Congress has the power to propose amendments to the Constitution by a 2/3 vote in each house. • Congress may call a national convention to propose an amendment.
Electoral Duties • If no Presidential Candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes • Voting by state, the House will elect the new President. • The Senate will elect the Vice President • The 25th Amendment also says that in order to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency, the President should nominate a successor, subject to a majority vote by both houses.
Impeachment • The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States may be removed from office on impeachment for, and the conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. • The House has the sole power to impeach- bring charges against • The Senate has the sole power to judge- sit as a court- in impeachment cases.
Executive Powers • The Senate must confirm all major appointments made by the President. • “senatorial courtesy” • The Senate must confirm all treaties made by the President.
Investigatory Powers • Congress has the power to investigate matters related to its legislative powers. • Congress may choose to conduct an investigation for five reasons. • To gather info. Useful to Congress • To oversee operations of the executive branch • To focus public attention on an issue • To expose questionable activities of public officials • To promote the interests of some members of Congress.
Congress May Not… • Deny any rights listed in the Bill of Rights • Suspend the writ of habeas Corpus • Writ of habeas corpus- a court order to release a person accused of a crime to a court in order to determine whether he or she has been illegally detained.
Congress May Not… • Pass bills of attainder • Bills of attainder- laws that establish guilt and punish people without a trial • Pass ex post fact laws • Ex post facto laws- laws that make crimes of acts that were legal when they were committed.