Article 2.4 – Powers Delegated to the Government by the People

Summarized by Pastor David Whitney, Senior Instructor, Institute on the Constitution


The Four

In addition to the powers granted by We The People to Congress in Art. I, sec. 8, cl.1-18 there are four additional powers granted by the Constitution bringing the total to twenty-two specific, delegated, enumerated, limited powers that involve spending. Those additional four consist of:

  1. The Decennial Census (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3)
  2. Publishing the Journals of the House and Senate (Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 3) as well as periodically publishing a Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures (Art. I, sec. 9, cl. 7)
  3. Paying the Salaries of Senators and Representatives (Art. I, sec. 6, cl. 1) and of civil officers of the United States (Art. I, sec. 6, cl. 2 & Art. II, sec. 1, cl. 7)
  4. Over the Territories – Congress has power and, therefore, general legislative authority when they have not yet become States. Thus, Congress can appropriate funds for the US Marshals, federal judges, and the like for those Territories, that is, at least until they achieve Statehood
    (Art. IV, sec. 3, cl. 2).

This completes the list in the federal Constitution of the items Congress is permitted to tax and spend for. If you want to assure that this is the case, take a highlighter and read through the federal Constitution marking only the powers delegated to Congress and you will see just how small and limited the Framers designed our Federal government to be.

And The Three

There are three additional areas of powers that do not involve delegations for specific spending. They involve the following:

  1. Import and Immigration:
  • Power to revise and control imposts or duties on imports or exports which may be laid by States (Art. I, sec. 10, cl. 2-3)
  • After 1808 Congress would be able to prohibit importation of slaves (Art. I, sec. 9, cl. 1); and to restrict migration (immigration) to these United States (Art. I, sec. 9, cl. 1)
  1. Elections:
  • Make regulations regarding the Elections of Representatives (Art. I, 4, cl. 1)
  • Ensuring that all citizens can vote (Amendment XV)
  • Ensuring that all female citizens can vote (Amendment XIX)
  • Directing Washington, D.C.’s selection process of the electors to represent it in the Electoral College (Amendment XXIII)
  • Preventing election poll taxes (Amendment XXIV)
  • Ensuring that all citizens over 18 years old can vote (Amendment XXVI)
  1. Restricted powers to
  • Suspend Writs of Habeas Corpus (Art. I, sec. 9, cl. 2)
  • Declare the punishment of Treason (Art. III, sec. 3, cl. 2)
  • Implement the Full Faith and Credit clause (Art. IV, sec. 1)
  • Establish procedures for amendments to The Constitution (Art. V).
  • Ensure certain civil rights (Amendment XIII & Amendment XIV)
  • Tax the income of corporations and non-resident aliens (Amendment XVI)