House of Representatives: The Power of the Public Purse

American People! Please listen to words of wisdom from the Founding Fathers. For too long we have been giving up our power in Congress and / or letting our Representatives in the House give up our power, not only to the Executive Branch, but also to the Senate and the Courts. Please contact your representatives and let them know this has to stop.

From Thomas Jefferson Defines What A True Republic Is!

“It was to escape the oppression resulting from governments controlled by the select few, so often ruling under the assumption that “might makes right,” that gave birth to republics. Monarchial rulers refuse to recognize their accountability to the people governed by them. In a republic the converse is the rule. The tenure of office may be for a short or a long period, or even for life, yet those in office are at all times answerable, either directly or indirectly, to the people, and in proportion to their responsibility to those for whom they may be the public agents, and the nearer the power to enact laws and control public servants lies with the great body of the people the more nearly does a government take unto itself the form of a republic—not in name alone, but in fact.”

The House of Representatives, are the closest to the American people because they are up for re-election every 2 years, instead of 6 like the Senate and 4 like the President. This  is also the reason the House of Representatives have the  Power of the Purse, because they are more accountable to the people and it is through the House of Reps that the people are supposed to be able to weld that power by defunding something the President is doing that the people disagree with.

Please continue to read Jefferson on Republics and the key to stopping activists judges who usurp the peoples authority on too many issues. Also see our articles on the Constitution Article 1 and Constitution Article 2  The founding fathers put a lot of symbolism into the Founding Documents, it is very important for the American people to understand this. Please help us educate the American people by sharing this information with others.

Constitution: Article I; Sec. vii. 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.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

House of Representatives, The Peoples Power

This restriction in regard to the raising of money, is founded on the principle that the House of Representatives is strictly the representation of the people, and is intended to prevent undue appropriation of money, which might be made by a house less dependent on the people.

The house of representatives of the United States is the rightful purse holder of the nation; and when it shall lose this original and most important feature in its constitution, the public good must become a creature of party and passion. The public purse or power of appropriations: a power which, certainly, it was never intended to vest in any one man, though a president of the United States. It is a fundamental principle, in a free government, that the immediate representatives of the people should keep the purse strings, and should have the constant and supreme control of the public funds. The Constitution of the United States fully recognizes this important principle. The guardianship of the public purse is the most important privilege and sacred duty of the House.

It is clear, that the representatives of the people, having the sole right to assess taxes, must naturally possess the power of disposing of their proceeds. This principle is so fully established, that its operation should never be brought into question. The people, surely, must have a right to disburse their own money; they are capable of being their own guardians.  The power of the sword and the purse cannot be welded by the same hand, a doctrine which, at once, strikes at the very root of the representative system, and casts into the hands of the executive officer a tremendous power. It is impossible that any president should know the will and wishes of the people so well as their members of congress, expressly elected or appointed to carry such wants and wishes into the general government; and, as before observed, those who pay the taxes have an unalienable control over their disbursements, except in a government purely despotic.

Representatives are bound, as members of congress, to act for the general good of the country. Their principal duties are to check and reform abuses of the administration; to redress public and private grievances to watch over the public expenditure; to enforce by their power of inquiry and impeachment a pure administration of justice in all departments; to assist in framing wise laws; and, finally, to preserve and promote, by every constitutional means, the freedom and prosperity of the great body of the people. The power and privileges of this part of the legislature are commensurate to its great importance to the government.

The House of Representatives are the keepers of the public purse: all grants, subsidies, and taxes must originate with them; for it is a constitutional maxim, that taxation and representation go hand in hand; and that the people only have a right to tax themselves. By the power of withholding supplies, they have a strong control over the executive; and, by the constitution, they enjoy all the privileges necessary to their dignity and independence, and the unbiased discharge of their high functions. Though new laws may be proposed by any member of either house, the consent of all the three constituent parts of the legislature is necessary to make them binding on the subject; and, though any part of the legislature may, by withholding its consent, prevent the enactment of a law, it requires the agreement of the three to repeal an existing statute.

James Madison: Federalist 58.
“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure. But will not the House of Representatives be as much interested as the Senate in maintaining the government in its proper functions, and will they not therefore be unwilling to stake its existence or its reputation on the pliancy of the Senate? Or, if such a trial of firmness between the two branches were hazarded, would not the one be as likely first to yield as the other? These questions will create no difficulty with those who reflect that in all cases the smaller the number, and the more permanent and conspicuous the station, of men in power, the stronger must be the interest which they will individually feel in whatever concerns the government.”

John Locke: Second Treatise of Civil Government
“As usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to. And this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage.—When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion. “

2 thoughts on “House of Representatives: The Power of the Public Purse

  1. Thanks for your well-written and researched article. So few understand what the Constitution says about this subject. With enough Constitutionalists in Congress, the out-of-control (and unconstitutional) spending could be stopped. Congressman Larry McDonald of Georgia understood this and gave a superb talk on the subject. I’ve added the link below for those interested in learning more: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/385831893046303652/
    Keep up the good work.

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