Article 1, section 8 of the United States Constitution lists numerous abilities, or rather powers, that are granted to Congress. Most of these involve money, commerce, and the military. Clauses 1 through 17 mention specific powers, which are known as enumerated powers, delegated powers, or expressed powers. These are briefly described below.
Clause 1 grants what may be the most important, or at least most used, power. This is Congress's power to levy taxes and spend that money. This is called the taxing power and the spending power.
Clause 2 gives Congress the ability to borrow money. The borrowing power means that the government can borrow money using the credit of the country, often in the form of issuing bonds.
Clause 3 grants Congress commerce power, which lets it regulate commerce with foreign entities such as other nations as well as Indigenous peoples. This also gives Congress the ability to regulate commerce between the states.
Clause 4 includes both the naturalization power and the bankruptcy power. The first of these gives Congress jurisdiction over how foreigners can become citizens. The latter allows Congress to make federal laws concerning the topic of bankruptcy as long as they remain in accordance with the Constitution.
Under clause 5, Congress has coinage power, or the power to mint money and regulate its value.
Clause 6, the counterfeiting power, allows Congress to make laws concerning the punishment of those who might make counterfeit money.
With the postal power of clause 7, Congress can establish and regulate the United States Postal Service.
Clause 8 grants Congress the power to oversee the granting of patents and copyrights in the United States.
Congress can convene tribunals and manage most federal courts under clause 9.
Under clause 10, Congress can define piracy and make laws concerning the punishment of those who commit crimes against the nation on the seas.
Clause 11 grants Congress the ability to declare war and make laws concerning the waging of hostilities against other nations and how a territory can be captured.
Clauses 12 and 13 allow Congress to raise and support the army and navy respectively. Clause 14 provides the power to regulate these fighting forces.
The Power to Call Forth the Militia is granted in clause 15, and the Power to Organize the Militia is given in clause 16.
Congress even has the ability to govern the capital district itself, since clause 17 grants it the Power over the Seat of Government.
Clause 18 is intentionally broad and vague. It does not mention any enumerated powers. Instead, it provides Congress with the Necessary and Proper Clause which simply means that Congress has the ability to make laws to ensure that all its other powers can be carried out. Powers granted under this clause are usually referred to as inherent powers.