What Does the Elastic Clause Give Congress the Power to Do?

The Elastic Clause gives the United States Congress the power to create any laws it deems are necessary for the country. The clause is also known as the Necessary and Proper Clause. It is located in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

The Elastic Clause was the topic of debate during the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. Some delegates, such as Patrick Henry, believed that it gave the federal government limitless power. Others, such as Thomas Jefferson, believed that "necessary" truly meant only when necessary, and that states retained their individual rights.

One of the first uses of the Elastic Clause was in the case of McCulloch and Maryland. The Supreme Court found that the U.S. could create a national bank that could not be taxed by Maryland.