Skip to comments.The power of the purse: "Our most complete and effectual weapon: - JAMES MADISON
Posted on 10/06/2013 9:02:40 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
"The House of Representatives can not 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."
-- James Madison, Federalist Papers #58 (1788)
Thanks for posting EV
Thought this was worthy of bringing to the attention of as many as possible.
Silly Freeper, he thinks the Constitution is still operative.
It is still operative, because it belongs to We the People, not to the politicians, and not to the lawyers.
“Every word employed in the Constitution is to be expounded in its plain, obvious, and common sense, unless the context furnishes some ground to control, qualify, or enlarge it. Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties, for niceties of expression, for critical propriety, for elaborate shades of meaning, or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness or judicial research. They are instruments of a practical nature, rounded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings. The people make them, the people adopt them, the people must be supposed to read them, with the help of common-sense, and cannot be presumed to admit in them any recondite meaning or any extraordinary gloss.”
— Joseph Story, Constitution (5th ed.) 345, SS 451.
Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.
— Daniel Webster, U.S. Senator, 1851
“Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder Capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government ? Who shall rear again the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skilful architecture which unites national sovereignty with State rights, individual security, and public prosperity? No, if these columns fall, they will be raised not again. Like the Coliseum and the Parthenon, they will be destined to a mournful, a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them, than were ever shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art; for they will be the remnants of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw, the edifice of constitutional American liberty.”
Daniel Webster, The Character of Washington, February 22, 1832; Works 1:231
It is their duty to use it to keep the other branches in check. If they fail to use it the whole system falls apart.
The House also possesses the impeachment power.
It’s past time that it was deployed regularly, and vigorously.
Obama pushed through questionable legislation with great support by democrats but no republican votes. Pelosi said pass it before you read it. They did. The House has not only the legal ability, but the legal moral obligation given the overwhelmingly negative support obamacare has to just pull the money. Unfortunately a great deal of damage has already been done with businesses restructuring, layoffs, etc.
Well, we can deal with the damage that has been done so far. But if we let this thing grab hold, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game.
Who are these “People” he is talking about? He’s not referring to the serfs, is he? Silly rabbit. /s
[Thanks for posting this. My other great source text on the thoughts of the Founding Fathers, Madison’s Notes on the Convention, is out on loan right now. Anyone with access to it at the moment, who can describe for us the discussions around this issue?]
“We have received it [the Constitution] as the work of the assembled wisdom of the nation. We have trusted to it as to the sheet anchor of our safety in the stormy times of conflict with a foreign or domestic foe. We have looked to it with sacred awe as the palladium of our liberties, and with all the solemnities of religion have pledged to each other our lives and fortunes here and our hopes of happiness hereafter in its defense and support. Were we mistaken, my countrymen, in attaching this importance to the Constitution...? No. We were not mistaken. The letter of this great instrument is free from this radical fault...No, we did not err!...The sages...have given us a practical and, as they hoped, a permanent Constitutional compact...The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the bond of our Union, our defense in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace: it shall descend, as we have received it, uncorrupted by sophistical construction, to our posterity...”
— President Andrew Jackson, Proclamation of December 10, 1832
It’s heretical by today’s standards.
So what does this mean beyond moral high ground for the House to hold the line on funding and defunding? There seems no real power of the purse when said purse is blocked by the senate majority and/or vetoed by the prez.
The key word seems to be “propose”. The House can propose until the cows come home, but without senate consent, there is no purse to swing. What a deal, huh?
Keep sending them individual bills to fund individual items.
This omnibus nonsense has gone on for too long anyway.
At some point the public will recognize what is going on and put the needed pressure on the Senate and the White House.
The key thing to remember is that in the end, the real power lies with We the People.
And not just for Presidents, but for the judiciary as well.
|Silly Freeper, he thinks the Constitution is still operative.|
I made this point to a co-worker, who continues to openly scoff at it. It so happens that he is a immigrant from Canada, working on his legal immigration process. I told him if he is a budding U.S. Citizen, he should familiarize himself with the Federalist Papers, a copy of which I had already provided a copy months ago, along with the “5000 Year Leap” and “Democracy in America.” Pretty clear he has not delved into none of these but is quite proud that he is currently reading “The Age of Reason.”
The Constitution was devised with an ingenious and intricate built-in system of checks and balances to guard the people's liberty against combinations of government power. It structured the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary separate and wholly independent as to function, but coordinated for proper operation, with safeguards to prevent usurpations of power. Only by balancing each against the other two could freedom be preserved, said John Adams.
Another writer of the day summarized clearly the reasons for such checks and balances:
"If the LEGISLATIVE and JUDICIAL powers are united, the MAKER of the law will also INTERPRET it (constitutionality).
Should the EXECUTIVE and LEGISLATIVE powers be united... the EXECUTIVE power would make itself absolu te, and the government end in tyranny.
Should the EXECUTIVE and JUDICIAL powers be united, the subject (citizen) would then have no permanent security of his person or property.
"INDEED, the dependence of any of these powers upon either of the others ... has so often been productive of such calamities... that the page of history seems to be one continued tale of human wretchedness." (Theophilus Parsons, in ESSEX RESULTS)
What were some of these checks and balances believed so important to individual liberty? Several are listed below:
HOUSE (peoples representatives) is a check on SENATE - no statute becomes law without its approval.
SENATE is a check on HOUSE - no statute becomes law without its approval. (Prior to 17th Amendment, SENATE was appointed by State legislatures as a protection for states' rights - another check the Founders provided.)
EXECUTIVE (President) can restrain both HOUSE and SENATE by using Veto Power.
LEGISLATIVE (Congress - Senate & House) has a check on EXECUTIVE by being able to pass, with 2/3 majority, a bill over President's veto.
LEGISLATIVE has further check on EXECUTIVE through power of discrimination in appropriation of funds for operation of EXECUTIVE.
EXECUTIVE (President) must have approval of SENATE in filling important posts in EXECUTIVE BRANCH.
EXECUTIVE (President) must have approval of SENATE before treaties with foreign nations can be effective.
LEGISLATIVE (Congress) can conduct investigations of EXECUTIVE to see if funds are properly expended and laws enforced.
EXECUTIVE has further check on members of LEGISLATIVE (Congress) in using discretionary powers in decisions regarding establishment of military bases, building & improvement of navigable rivers, dams, interstate highways, etc., in districts of those members.
JUDICIARY is check on LEGISLATIVE through its authority to review all laws and determine their constitutionality.
LEGISLATIVE (Congress) has restraining power over JUDICIARY, with constitutional authority to restrict extent of its jurisdiction.
LEGISLATIVE has power to impeach members of JUDICIARY guilty of treason, high crimes, or misdemeanors.
EXECUTIVE (President) is check on JUDICIARY by having power to nominate new judges.
LEGISLATIVE (Senate) is check on EXECUTIVE and JUDICIARY having power to approve/disapprove nominations of judges.
LEGISLATIVE is check on JUDICIARY - having control of appropriations for operation of federal court system.
LEGISLATIVE (Peoples Representatives) is check on both EXECUTIVE and JUDICIARY through power to initiate amendments to Constitution subject to approval by 3/4 of the States.
LEGISLATIVE (Senate) has power to impeach EXECUTIVE (President) with concurrence of 2/3, of members.
The PEOPLE, through their State representatives, may restrain the power of the federal LEGISLATURE if 3/4 of the States do not ratify proposed Constitutional Amendments.
LEGISLATIVE, by Joint Resolution, can terminate certain powers granted to EXECUTIVE (President) (such as war powers) without his consent.
It is the PEOPLE who have final check on both LEGISLATIVE and EXECUTIVE when they vote on their Representatives every 2 years, their Senators every 6 years, and their President every 4 years. Through those selections, they also influence the potential makeup of the JUDICIARY.
It is up to each generation to see that the integrity of the Constitutional structure for a free society is maintained by carefully preserving the system of checks and balances essential to limited and balanced government. "To preserve them (is) as necessary as to institute them," said George Washington.
Footnote: Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part III: ISBN 0-937047-01-5
US Constitution timeline / scholastic.com
May to September, 1787
A group of men, now known as the Founders, meet to discuss and write the U.S. Constitution.
The 4,543-word document explains how the country's new government will work. It is drafted in less than 100 days. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and James Madison are among the 55 delegates responsible for the document. More than 200 years later, the Constitution remains the highest law of the United States.
September 17, 1787 --- The U.S. Constitution is signed.
Some feared the original Constitution gave the federal government too much power. They demand that changes to the Constitution be made to protect the basic liberties of the people. The first 10 changes to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.
December 15, 1791 --- The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments, is ratified.
Among the many liberties guaranteed under the Bill of Rights are the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of religion.
Over time, 17 more amendments will be added to the Constitution....from 1795-1992.
Timely, ain’t it?
In fact, I would go so far as to say ESPECIALLY for the judiciary.
Timely, aint it?
Checks and Balances? Use them or lose them!
The 17th amendment short circuited the US constitution’s main defense against Federal tyranny.
Star Parker had some similar thoughts this morning...
She must have been reading this thread last night. :-)
And that is the Senate's part of the separation of powers which would allow them to stop a runaway house and president. The president has the veto power and the pocket veto to try and control a runaway house and senate.
What a fabulous resource - Thanks!
We’re with you on that. Thx.
This is going on Facebook.