U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 6: Development of Congressional Powers

Chapter Overviews

The wording of the Constitution is unclear regarding certain types of powers for either Congress or the president. Furthermore, as we continue to change as a nation, the role of government also changes. Chapter 6 deals with the various types of government powers and how they are expressed.

Section 1 introduces various congressional powers and how they are used to make appropriate laws for our nation. The Constitution describes the expressed powers of Congress. It also includes the necessary and proper clause, which implies that Congress has powers beyond the expressed powers. These implied powers helps Congress to expand its role to meet the needs of a growing nation.

Section 2 discusses how congressional powers are used to conduct investigations and use legislative oversight. Although the Constitution does not address the act of Congress conducting investigations, such investigations can be conducted for many reasons and may last for many months. Investigations can also be associated with the power of legislative oversight.

Section 3 interprets the relationship between the legislative and executive branches. The checks and balances system gives both Congress and the president the ability to counteract each other. Partisan political differences can sometimes be the foundation for these counteractions. In recent decades, the president's party has rarely controlled either house of Congress, creating differences among the branches.

US Government: Democracy In Action
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