• To lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises
• To borrow money
• To regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states
• To establish rules for naturalization and bankruptcy
• To coin money
• To fix the standard of weights and measures
• To establish a post office and post roads
• To issue patents and copyrights
• To create courts (other than the Supreme Court)
• To define and punish piracies
• To declare war
• To raise and support an army and navy
• To provide for a militia
• To exercise exclusive legislative powers over the District of Columbia and other federal facilities
These responsibilities are evenly distributed in a system of checks and balances in order to prevent one part of congress from having too much power. Congress is made up of two parts. They are the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Senate is made up of 100 members, two from each of the fifty states. There are requirements to become a member of the senate. One requirement of becoming a member of senate is that you must be at least 30 years of age. Another requirement is that you must be a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years. The Senate also has several “jobs”. One of the jobs of the senate is to confirm presidential appointments. This means that the Senate offers advice and consent to the president by a majority vote regarding the appointments of federal judges, ambassadors, and Cabinet positions. They are also responsible for approving treaties between the countries. Treaties with other nations entered into by the President must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. This provision is an illustration of checks and balances, and it has served as a very important restriction to foreign policy powers of the American President. In Addition, the senate tries those who are impeached. The Senate conducts trials for impeachment, however, only the House of Representatives may make the charge. Senators serve a term of six years with 1/3 up for reelection every two years.
The second part of congress is the House of Representatives. This part of congress is made up of 435 members but unlike the senate, the number of officials from each state differs depending on the population of each state.