The Origination Clause states that all bills for raising revenue must start in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in the case of other bills.

My question is that if the Senate still has the power to amend those bills then why do these bills have to start in the House?

The Australian constitution has a similar clause where all money bills have to start in the House but then the Senate can only agree or reject them without having the power amend them. So the Origination Clause does have an importance here because it gives some power to the House over the Senate but I don't understand its importance in the US constitution if the US Senate has the an amending power to those bills.

1 Answer 1


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.

It is a component of the great balancing act in the construction of the Federal Government between the large and small states. By establishing the Origination Clause for the the House of Representatives, the ability to raise funds was kept closer to the people overall, with the house that was popularly elected until the 17th Amendment, and the larger States grievances over the equal representation in the Senate countered.

  • This explains why the House has that power, but not why the Senate is free to revise or completely rewrite a revenue bill it gets from the House.
    – Bobson
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 13:00

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