The constitution gives Congress a broad array of legislative powers. I consider the following to be the main power and privileges given to congress in the constitution.
- The congress has power to collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and offer common defense to the people (Dye, 2011).
- Congress is responsible for regulating the commerce within foreign nations.
- The congress has the power to declare war and offer and maintain the navy.
- Similarly, the congress has the power to create government rules and regulate land forces.
I consider these the main powers and privileges of the congress because they are expressed or specified powers of congress. In the theory, they serve as the limit on congressional power. These powers indicate that the congress as the arm of government has responsibility to oversee and control the operation of the United States. They indicate that the congress has lawmaking role, which is extremely vital to the nation.
The congress might create tensions with the executive by exercising these powers because they are responsible for the legislative functions of government. The congress can create the tension because it is considered the first branch of the United States government, which is the main maker of national policy unlike the executive branch, which is in charge for enforcing the law. The congress can create tension because these powers, procedures and structure of the national legislature are outlined in a significant manner in the constitution. On the other hand, the executive powers are outlined in the separation of powers. Although the president has the power to veto any bill that Congress authorizes, congress’s power can create tension because they can override his action by a two-thirds vote in the chambers (Currie, 2005).
The congress powers can create tension with the executive branch because the legislative process is a barrier that favors its opponents over the executive. Since the executive branch is responsible for enforcing the laws, this can create tension because with all powers the congresses have to request evidence from that branch (Dye, 2011). This also creates tension because the executive branch has sought to protect them from the congressional power. The executive branch argues that the doctrine of executive privilege protects them from compelled disclosure of information. This creates the tension between the congressional right to information and the president’s need for privacy.
The Congress was given these powers and not the President because they represent and speak for their people in the house. The president was not given these powers because these powers could give him more authority to exploit people. This is so because his position dominates American politics. Although the president has inherent powers, he addresses none of these because congress gives him a major role. These powers were given to the congress because they can delegate them to the president. For instance, congress can give the president authority to regulate air pollution. These powers are given to congress because the constitution creates an elaborated system of checks and balances. These powers ensure that policy-making is shared and not concentrated in one branch. Meanwhile, the congress was given these powers safeguard against majority tyranny, which can monopolize all branches of the government (Currie, 2005). Thus, the congress was given these powers to protect the people.
Currie, D. P. (2005). The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Dye, T. R. (2011). Politics in America. Boston: Longman.