Congress has many duties, including collecting taxes, paying the country's debt and providing for the safety of its citizens. Congress is also responsible for making laws.
The Constitution of the United States outlines the responsibilities and duties of Congress. Article I offers an overview of Congressional power, while Section 8 provides details about each duty.
Section 8 includes a total of 14 paragraphs of information about all the duties, including:
- Borrowing money on behalf of the country
- Regulating commerce
- Developing a uniform system of laws
- Establishing the Post Office
- Declaring war
Congress also has an interest in science and the arts. It is the govermental body tasked with promoting both and with ensuring protections for authors and inventors.
With concern to war, Congress is responsible for making the declaration when deemed necessary and for financially supporting such efforts. It is through Congress that the top administrators for the Armed Forces of the United States are appointed. The body is responsible for defining and punishing piracy and crimes committed at sea.
Additionally, Congress deals with cession and commerce issues within the country's borders. The commerce power of Congress has been a point of contention several times throughout the nation's history.
While the duties of Congress are many and varied, they are often narrowed for descriptive purposes. For example, on citizenship tests, Congress is defined as the body responsible for law-making.