Ep. 23: U.S. Constitution – Art. I, Sec. 4 – Rules for Congressional Elections

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Ep. 23: U.S. Constitution - Art. I, Sec. 4 - Rules for Congressional Elections
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Show Notes

In this episode, Jason is joined by his long time friend and Army veteran, Glen Whitner. Together they discuss the first clause of Article 1, Section 7 dealing with the passage of tax bills in Congress. Glen asks some great questions about how Congress can get away with what it does and what we can do to stop it.

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

  • In Robert Yates’ notes on the Constitutional Convention, Elbridge Gerry had this to say about writing bills about raising revenue (taxes). While later, the delegates entertained the idea of limiting spending to the House too, they ultimately settled on limiting the restriction to raising money.
    • Mr. Gerry moved that the first branch shall have the only right of originating bills to supply the treasury.
    • Gerry went on to say: “The [House of Representatives] was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings.” 
  • In the Convention, General Pinckney acknowledged the idea that even though you may limit revenue bills to the House, the Senate will still influence them due to the length of their terms and relative stability:
    • “The constitution [will be] evaded, by informal schedules of amendments handed (from [the] Senate to the other House.)”
  • James Wilson, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, made this comment about Congressional restrictions to his fellow delegates (according to Madison’s notes):
    • [James Wilson] suggested also the fatal consequence in time of war, of rendering (perhaps) the best Commanders ineligible: appealing to our situation during the late (war), and indirectly leading to a recollection of the appointment of the Commander in Chief [General Washington] out of Congress.
  • Col. George Mason cautioned against granting the Senate this authority considering they were elected by the state legislatures at that time:
    • “Should the [Senate] have the power of giving away the people’s money, they might soon forget the Source from whence they received it.”
  • Gouveneur Morris cautioned against leaving the Senate completely out of the process. In the end, the Senate is able to amend revenue bills from the House:
    • “It will always leave a plea as to an obnoxious money bill that it was disliked, but could not be constitutionally amended; nor safely rejected.”

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