The U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Sec. 7) states that:

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.

Often times when discussing fiscal policy, political pundits from both parties will complain that the House needs to use the "power of the purse" to get things done.

But given that:

  1. The legislative process is the same as any other bill, and
  2. Both houses usually work on their own versions of bills and reconcile the differences anyway,

What difference does it make where the bill originates? What benefit/advantage does this give the House of Representatives over the Senate (since it's obvious that was the intent)?

1 Answer 1


The idea is that a tax bill has to have support from the more democratic body. The Senators were originally representatives of the states.

Note that if the House of Representatives passes no tax bills, then the Senate can't pass one. Then there is nothing to reconcile.

Once the House has passed a tax bill, then this particular power is useless. It's strictly a limiting power. It prevents the Senate from sending a tax bill to the House.

This had more effect in the early years. Then Congress would typically convene for a few months and then recess for the remainder of the term. They passed far less legislation then. More modernly, they pass so much legislation that the Senate pretty consistently gets at least one tax bill that it can mark up. So the impact of this power has diminished.

It also may be that the proposers hoped it would be more restrictive than it used to be. But it's written in such a way that it has minimal impact.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .