Why is the Elastic Clause so important today?


Quick Answer

The "elastic clause," the colloquial term for the "Necessary and Proper" clause of the U.S. Constitution, is important because the statement gives Congress power to enact laws needed to properly execute its enumerated powers, according to USLegal. For example, this clause gives Congress the right to legislate health care costs since the Affordable Care Act reportedly regulates one aspect, "interstate commerce," according to the UMKC School of Law.

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Full Answer

Education Portal explains that the Founding Fathers knew it was impossible to list all enumerated powers of Congress. At the time the document was written, there were no such things as telephones, interstate highways, electrical power, automobiles or the Internet. The elastic clause gives Congress the right to regulate the interstate highway system since the establishment of "post roads" is an enumerated power of the legislative body. Telephones and Internet technology are aspects of the U.S. Constitution's "progress of science" clause, according to UMKC.

The elastic clause is so named because it allows the federal government the flexibility to expand and grow over time, according to Education Portal. Other issues facing Congress that relate to the powers of the elastic clause include civil rights, minimum wage and taxes, issues that were not present in the late 1700s.

UMKC notes that the elastic clause allows Congress to regulate how taxes are enumerated and collected, such as taxes on telephone lines. Shmoop explains that the minimum wage law falls under the commerce clause of federal powers.

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