previous
next

§ 243. “Shall Not Originate in the Senate.”

The provision, that appropriation and tax bills shall not originate in the Senate, necessarily confers the monopoly of financial origination on the House of Representatives. This part of the section crystallizes into a statutory form what has been the practice under the British Constitution for over two hundred and twenty years. On 3rd June, 1678, the House of Commons resolved—That all aids and supplies, and aids to His Majesty in Parliament, are the sole gift of the Commons; and all bills for the granting of any such aids and supplies ought to begin with the Commons; and that it is the undoubted and sole right of the Commons to direct, limit, and appoint in such bills the ends, purposes, considerations, conditions, limitations, and qualifications of such grants, which ought not to be changed or altered by the House of Lords (May's Parl. Prac. 10th ed. 542.) By usage based on the foregoing resolution, the House of Lords has been excluded from the power of initiating bills dealing with public expenditure and revenue, and also from initiating public bills which would create a charge upon the people by the imposition of local and other rates, or which deal with the administration or employment of those charges. Bills which thus infringe the privileges of the Commons, when received from the Lords, are either laid aside or postponed for six months. (May's Parl. Prac. 10th ed. 542.) This exclusive power of initiating money Bills is one of the most valued privileges of the House of Commons, and one of its vital sources of constitutional strength and supremacy.

previous
next