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Powers of Congress What they can and cannot do.. Do we have a Super Congress? Ummmmm….NO!!!! We have a limited Government. The United States is Federal.

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Presentation on theme: "Powers of Congress What they can and cannot do.. Do we have a Super Congress? Ummmmm….NO!!!! We have a limited Government. The United States is Federal."— Presentation transcript:

1 Powers of Congress What they can and cannot do.

2 Do we have a Super Congress? Ummmmm….NO!!!! We have a limited Government. The United States is Federal in Form – Limits the powers of Congress…

3 Congress can do a lot…. BUT not these… Create a National Public School System Require that all people attend church Set a minimum age for a driver’s license Congress can only have the powers that are delegated to them, and are not denied to them.

4 Three Types of Congressional Powers Expressed Implied Inherent

5 Interpreting the Constitution Strict vs. Liberal Strict Construction Congress should only have the powers expressed in the Constitution, and those implied to carry out the expressed powers. – Not a fan of implied powers – Literal Interpretation of Constitution. Government that governs least = best government!!! Thomas Jefferson and all those Anti-Federalists Liberal Construction Broad interpretation, giving Congress many ADDITIONAL implied powers. Government to have MORE POWER. Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists

6 Who Do You Think Won this thing?

7 LIBERAL CONSTRUCTIONISTS

8 Expressed Powers Article 1, Section 8 Power to Tax Power to Borrow Commerce Power Currency Power Bankruptcy Foreign Relations and War Powers But Wait….. There’s More – Naturalization – Postal Power – Copy Rights and Patents – Weights and Measures – Power over Territories – Judicial Powers

9 Power to Tax… (don’t you just love this one?!) Congress has this power in order to: – Meet Public Needs – Protect Domestic Industry – Protect Public Health and Safety Example: Taxes on Narcotics are mean to protect public health… Cigarette taxes go toward public health research as well… (did you know cigarettes in NY are over $11.00…. Mostly taxes).

10 There are Some Limitations…. Can only tax for public purposes….. Not for private benefit May not tax exports – But they can on Imports Direct Taxes: divided among states based on population Indirect Taxes: levied at the same rate in all parts of the country

11 Congress and Taxing Limitations By Constitution: – Public Purposes only – No Tax on Exports – Direct Taxes based on population – Indirect Taxes must have the same rate all over Implied Limitations: – Federal Government can’t: tax the states – States: Can’t tax federal government – Anything that is a non government action in the state or local governments CAN be taxed

12 Direct vs. Indirect Taxes Direct: Must be paid by the person on who it is imposed on. – I pay my taxes! Income Tax – 16 th Amendment Indirect Taxes: Paid by one person and then passed to another. Indirectly Paid by the second person. – Tobacco Taxes Cigarette Companies pay the tax to the treasury and then the company passes it down to the person purchasing the cigarettes.

13 Federal Taxes Today Income Tax- Flexible. Levied to: Individuals and Companies. Excise Taxes- Manufacture, sale, or Consumption of goods and services Estate and Gift Taxes-On estate of someone who dies. Gift Tax prevents someone from avoiding this tax before someone gives it away before death. Custom Duties- Goods that are brought into the country from abroad. 2% of government revenue. Cigars, Alcohol, etc.

14 Power to Borrow Congress CAN borrow to finance it’s “Business.” – No constitutional Limit on how much it can borrow Federal government spends more than it collects. The need to borrow Can you guess how much the deficit/debt is?

15 Over 14 trillion dollars That’s a whole LOT

16 Commerce Power They can regulate interstate and foreign trade Gibbons vs. Ogden, 1824. – Supreme Court says: Power to regulate commerce includes: all commercial intercourse between states and nations. This power implies many others, but it is still super limited.

17 Currency Power Power to issue money and regulate the value. – The reason why a dollar is worth a dollar – STATES CAN’T DO THIS…. NO, NO, NO! In the beginning, most forms of money were coins. 1871, Supreme Court says: Paper money was legal tender. – Any money that a creditor must accept by law for payments of debt.

18 Bankruptcy Power to Establish uniform Bankruptcy laws. Bankrupt? Means that the court has found that you can’t pay your debts. Donald Trump has filed Bankruptcy before. BANKRUPTCY: Legal Proceeding where the bankrupt’s assets are divided up among who they owe. Concurrent Power: – States and National Government can both make laws. – Most are heard in federal courts rather than state courts.

19 Foreign Relations and War Powers Foreign Relations: – Can make laws for the United States and can act on matters affecting the security of the nation. – The United States is sovereign in the world community. They also have expressed powers in the Constitution. War Powers: – Can Declare War – Can raise and support armies. Organize, arm, and discipline it too! – Can provide and maintain a navy. – Can restrict the use of American forces in areas where there is no war.

20 Naturalization and Postal Power Naturalization: How a person becomes a citizen in the United States. – Uniform Laws on how to do this. Can establish Post offices and postal roads. – Everyone gets their Mail! – Make sure nothing bad gets in… Example: Bombs, Anthrax, drugs, etc.

21 Copy Rights and Patents Copyrights: Exclusive right of an author to: – Publish – Reproduce – Sell Issued at the Library of Congress. Good for life of the author plus another 50 years. – Nicholas Sparks is an author. His copyrights are good for his entire life and then 50 years after he dies…. Patent: Sole right to a person to manufacture a good. Good 17 years the good is invented. – Extension: Special right of Congress. – Patent and Trademark office is located in the Department of Commerce

22 Power over Territories Acquire, Manage, and Dispose of various federal areas. – D.C., Guam, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Eminent Domain: The right to take private property for public use…. This is an inherent power. Any sovereign nation can acquire unclaimed property by discovery.

23 Judicial Powers Checks and balances have to be maintained Congress has some judicial powers They can: – Create all federal courts below the supreme court for organization – Define federal crimes and provide for the punishments for those who violate the laws.

24 Implied Powers

25 Necessary and Proper Clause This is the source of Congress’ Implied Powers. AKA: “The Elastic Clause” It’s called this because Congress can stretch it’s powers just like a rubber band. Congress has the power: “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing [expressed] powers.”

26 Interpreting N&P Clause Alexander Hamilton: Secretary of Treasury – Proposed a National Bank in 1790 – Opposition: Congress does not have that Power! – Supporters: It is a Necessary and Proper power of Congress. Congress: – Established a National Bank in 1791. (it was supposed to expire in 1811)

27 National Bank Again? 2 nd National Bank by Congress – 1816 Opponents: – Maryland  1818, the state put a tax on notes by any bank doing business there, except those that were chartered by the state legislature. Baltimore’s Second Bank Branch got hit hard. – James McCulloch: Cashier Issued notes where no tax had been paid.

28 McCulloch vs. Maryland Maryland took McCulloch to court. – Maryland won! The United States however decided to back McCulloch up and take his case to the Supreme Court. Argument? – Maryland: The National Bank is UNCONSTITUTIONAL – U.S.: It’s an implied power Supreme Court: Reversed the Maryland Court decision, and implied powers were approved.

29 N & P Continued Today: Generally interpreted as “Convenient and Useful.” – As long as the implied powers have their basis in the expressed powers (supports and helps Congress successfully use their expressed powers), then this idea will remain true.

30 Non-Legislative Powers Constitutional Amendments – Congress Can: – Propose Amendments to the Constitution with 2/3 vote in each house (Senate and House of Representatives). – Call a National Convention to propose an amendment if 2/3 of state legislatures call for one. » HAS NOT HAPPENED YET!

31 ELECTORAL DUTIES The House of Representatives may be called upon to elect the President if no candidate has reached a majority of the electoral votes. – Choose from the top 3 candidates. Senate may be called as well to vote for the Vice President if no one has reached a majority. 25 th Amendment- filling vacancy in VP – President nominates. Needs a majority vote in both Senate and House of Representatives.

32 Impeachment The House of Representatives: Sole Power to vote on articles of impeachment: President Vice President Other Civil Officials – Treason, Bribery, misdemeanors, and other high crimes. (Bill Clinton: Purgery) The Senate has the sole power to hold the trial for those impeached by the House.

33 Impeachment…. House can impeach by majority vote In order to convict? 2/3 of Senators have to be present at the trial. Chief Justice: Must preside over the Senate if the President is being tried. If convicted? Removal – House impeached Andrew Johnson, 1868. No conviction because of ONE VOTE. – House impeached Bill Clinton (12/19/98). Senate Acquitted on 2/12/99. – Richard Nixon decided to resign because it was certain he was going to be impeached.

34 Executive Powers The Senate must confirm all major appointments made by President. – Cabinet Members – Supreme Court Justices The Senate must confirm all treaties made by the President. – Mr. P does not have the final say on this. Checks and Balances.


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