see it clearly

What Are The Duties of Congress

The question, "what are the duties of congress?" is a common question in Civic and Social Studies. The first Congress meeting was in 1774 in which delegates from the original 13 colonies met to discuss the future of their land. Two years later, they formed the Second Continental Congress to declare independence. With such a rich and long history, just what are the duties of Congress?

What is Congress?

What Are The Duties of Congress

Congress is a legislature of government of the United States that involves two branches, one called the House of Representatives and the other the Senate. The House of Representatives contains 435 delegates from select districts. They serve two-year terms and the number in each state depends on the population. There are two Senators per state and serve two-year terms in a staggered format.

What are the Duties of Congress?

The most fundamental duty of Congress is to make laws. These laws must be coherent in the role of the United States and must promote the execution of the Constitution of the United States. This may sound like Congress has unchallenged power but the included words like "necessary for the execution" and "provide for the common defense" makes it impossible for Congress to develop laws that violate any other part of the Constitution. Besides making laws, Congress also passes bills and debates current laws. All laws that Congress enacts must go to the President for review and approval.

Another basic law that answers the question "what are the duties of Congress" is that Congress shall have the ability to declare war. Now, they don't have control over declaring war and it's not a spontaneous decision because both houses and the President must approve the war.

Congress also has the duty to coin money. In more terms about money, Congress also has the duty to collect taxes and pay debts. Also, Congress must also provide enough money to provide a reasonable defense for the United States, which reads in Article I as "raise and maintain the military."

A duty that Congress often performs is the ability to override any Presidential vetoes. The majority must be in agreement, which involves a two-thirds vote from Congress.

Lesser Known Duties

Congress doesn't just take money; make money or appropriate funds for different reasons. Congress also creates uniform rules of bankruptcy and naturalization. They also need to watch over the sciences and arts so they have the duty to promote those branches for advancing the United State's history and mark on the world.

Congress has the duty to monitor the trade between states, although that duty is less prominent now than in the early years of the United States of America. What is more common is the duty to control trade between other countries.

Borrowing money is also a duty of Congress. Of course, this is based on the credit of the United States, but Congress has an inherent duty to make sure the government has sufficient operating capital.


Congress also has an unwritten duty to be responsible. Besides war, Congress is held accountable for its actions for all other duties it upholds. War is not included because it involves more than just Congress and it cannot be solely responsible or accountable for any decisions, good or bad, in declaring war.

A United States Citizen's Duty

It is the right of all American citizens to demand accountability of Congress and any duties they fulfill. Whether it's overspending or spending money for the wrong reasons or making frivolous laws to collect more taxes, you have a duty to express your displeasure or ask for reasons from your local representative. Senators and Representatives work for you to better the United States and your community, so if you are performing your duty, how can you expect Congress to do theirs?

More Information