SCMS Civics - Chapter 6, Section 2


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Edited version of a presentation prepared by the Leon County Schools Social Studies Dept.

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SCMS Civics - Chapter 6, Section 2

  1. 1. The Legislative Branch The Powers of Congress
  2. 2. The U.S. Constitution
  3. 3. The U.S. Constitution and Legislative Powers <ul><li>Article 1, Section 8 spells out the major powers of the Congress. </li></ul><ul><li>The first 17 clauses list “ expressed ” or specific powers granted to Congress. </li></ul>
  4. 4. “ Expressed” Powers <ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Raising & supporting an army and a navy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish uniform rules of naturalization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coin money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish post offices </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Legislative Powers <ul><li>Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18 spells out “ implied ” (or assumed) powers </li></ul><ul><li>Often called the “ elastic clause ” because it gives Congress authority to do whatever is “ necessary and proper ”. </li></ul>
  6. 6. “ Implied” Powers <ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To raise and support an army implies Congress can implement a draft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collecting taxes implies that Congress could use the money to support programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishing naturalization rules implies that Congress can limit the number of immigrants. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Congressional Powers <ul><li>Most congressional power is related to making laws . </li></ul><ul><li>However, Congress has may other powers as well: </li></ul><ul><li>Regulating commerce (business) </li></ul><ul><li>Raising and spending money </li></ul><ul><li>Creating laws to create federal courts </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with foreign countries </li></ul><ul><li>Pass laws governing all federal property (military bases, national parks) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Congress & Funding <ul><li>To fund the U.S. Government, Congress has the power to levy taxes. </li></ul><ul><li>All tax bills are proposed or start in the House of Representatives . </li></ul>
  9. 9. Congress & Funding <ul><li>After proposals, any tax bill must be approved by the Senate. </li></ul><ul><li>Spending the money follows the same path (House, then Senate) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Congress & Funding <ul><li>Steps for spending money: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Authorization Bill ” (creates projects and establishes costs) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Appropriation Bill ” (provides the actual money for the project) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Congress & Trade <ul><li>Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 gives Congress power to regulate foreign and interstate trade . </li></ul><ul><li>“ Commerce Clause ” is the basis for many of Congress’ most important powers. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Congress & Trade <ul><li>Examples of this clause: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Air Traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Railroads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trucking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Radio / TV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pollution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stock Market </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Congress & Foreign Relations <ul><li>While the President has the authority to negotiate treaties and deals with other nations, all must be approved by Congress . </li></ul>
  14. 14. Congress & Foreign Relations <ul><li>While the President has the authority send troops into combat for up to 60 days, only Congress has the power to declare war or create an army . </li></ul><ul><li>World War II was the last “declared war” in the U.S. (1941-1945) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Non-Legislative Powers <ul><li>“ Non-Legislative” Powers are powers given to Congress to help “check” the power of the other branches. </li></ul><ul><li>These do not relate to the making of any laws. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Non-Legislative Powers <ul><li>Examples : </li></ul><ul><li>Amendments </li></ul><ul><li>Approvals </li></ul><ul><li>Removals </li></ul><ul><li>Investigations </li></ul><ul><li>Impeachments </li></ul>
  17. 17. Non-Legislative Powers <ul><li>Congress can approve or reject presidential nominees or appointments for various offices. </li></ul><ul><li>Congress can also remove any elected officials from office in cases of wrong-doing. </li></ul>
  18. 18. “ Impeachment” <ul><li>“ Impeachment ” is formally accusing officials of misconduct or wrong-doing. </li></ul><ul><li>The House has sole authority to begin impeachment procedures. </li></ul>
  19. 19. “ Impeachment” <ul><li>If the majority of the House votes for impeachment, it moves to the Senate . </li></ul><ul><li>The Senate acts as jury , while the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acts as judge . </li></ul><ul><li>2/3 needed for impeachment (67) </li></ul>
  20. 20. “ Impeachment” <ul><li>Only two presidents have ever been impeached (both were acquitted). </li></ul><ul><li>Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Non-Legislative Powers <ul><li>Congress also conducts investigations into serious issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Organized crime, fund raising, Watergate, Iran-Contra, etc. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Limits to Congressional Power <ul><li>The Constitution limits the power of Congress, placing restrictions on their power. </li></ul><ul><li>Congress may not favor one state over another, tax exports, tax interstate trade . </li></ul>
  23. 23. Limits to Congressional Power <ul><li>The Constitution also reserves many powers to the states and other branches </li></ul><ul><li>Congress can not interfere with these powers . </li></ul><ul><li>The Supreme Court can declare laws unconstitutional and the president can veto laws. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Limits to Congressional Power <ul><li>Congress can not pass “ bills of attainder ” (laws that punish a person without a jury trial) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Limits to Congressional Power <ul><li>Congress can not suspend the “ writ of habeas corpus ” (court order requiring police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding that person). </li></ul>
  26. 26. Limits to Congressional Power <ul><li>Congress can not pass “ ex post facto laws ” (or laws that make an act a crime AFTER it has been committed) </li></ul>