Where Is a List of the Expressed Powers of Congress Available?

A list of the expressed powers of Congress, that is, those powers expressly enumerated or granted by Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, can be found in the Model Congress section of Princeton University's website. They include the powers to set and collect income taxes and other duties and excises, to borrow money on U.S. credit, to regulate foreign and domestic trade and to establish bankruptcy laws.

These expressed or enumerated powers of Congress are accompanied by a number of implied powers as well. These are powers which, while not specifically granted to Congress by the Constitution, have been granted by the Supreme Court on the basis of the Constitution's so-called "elastic clause." Included among the enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8, this clause grants Congress the power to make any laws that are deemed necessary to the implementation of their expressed powers.

The expressed powers of Congress are contrasted with their expressed limitations, which follow in Article I, Section 9. These limitations prohibit Congress from:

  • Passing a law to criminalize an act after its commission, also known as an "ex post facto law"
  • Passing "bills of attainder," or in other words sentencing someone for a crime with trial
  • Suspending "habeas corpus" (the writ that protects people from indefinite criminal detainment without charge) except in the interest of national security