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Congressional Power

Congressional Power

Learn about the constitutional basis of congressional powers in Article I of the Constitution, with a particular focus on the power to tax and spend, other express or implied powers, and limitations on congressional authority.


Article I of the Constitution vests Congress with “all legislative powers herein granted.” This language is important; it does not appear in the Executive Vesting Clause or the Judicial Vesting Clause. Congress only possesses those powers specifically enumerated in Article I Section 8 lists the bulk of Congress’s powers.

I. Tax and spend

Congress has broad power to tax and spend for the general welfare. This is not a substitute for police powers. Congress may not pass regulations for the...