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.