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THE PASSAGE OF LAWS.
The Initiative of Revenue Bills.
123. All bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
124. It was thought that the House of Representatives, being more popular in its character, more immediately dependent on the people, and likely to possess more extensive local information than the Senate, was the fittest body to be intrusted with the initiative in the imposition of taxes. Under the English system the Commons originate money bills, and the Lords simply approve or reject. Unlike our Senate, they have no power to alter or amend.
125. By bills for raising revenue are meant bills to levy taxes in the usual sense of the word; and not bills for other purposes, though they may incidentally Create revenue.
The Veto Power.
126. Every bill which has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate must, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approves he must sign it, but if not he must return it with his objections to the House in which it originated, who must enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration twothirds of that House agree to pass the bill, it must be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it must likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that House it becomes a law. But in all such cases the votes of both Houses must be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for or against the bill be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill is not returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after having been presented to him, it becomes a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it does not become a law. 127. The power with which the President is invested of objecting to the passage of a bill is called the veto power; and both the word and the power are derived from the Romans. The word itself means I forbid, and was used by the tribunes of the people to hinder the passage of any obnoxious decree of the senate. The object of placing this power in the hands of the President is to secure the authority confided to the executive department from encroachment, and also to interpose another check against hasty or improvident legislation. But, in order to prevent an abuse of the power, it is provided that two-thirds of both Houses, that is, two-thirds of a quorum of each House, may pass a bill notwithstanding his veto. His returning a bill, with the reasons and arguments that induced him to return it, is not an absolute defeat of the bill, but an appeal, as it were, to the legislature to reconsider it.
Joint Orders, Resolutions, déc.
128. Not only must every bill which has passed the House and Senate be presented to the President for his approval or rejection, but every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of both Houses is necessary, except on a question of adjournment. And before the same can take effect it must be approved by him, or, being disapproved, must be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
129. The object of thus extending the veto power is to prevent Congress from evading the President's negative by passing laws in the form of an order or resolution instead of a bill. This does not apply, however, to orders, resolutions, or votes to which the concurrence of both Houses is not necessary. But separate resolutions of either House of Congress, except in matters appertaining to their own parliamentary rights, have no legal effect to constrain the action of the President or heads of departments. 130. When a bill has been passed by Congress it is enrolled Ön parchment of uniform size and signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. It is then sent to the President of the United States, and if approved and signed by him he notifies Congress of the fact, and deposits the original in the office of the Secretary of State. Every bill operates as a law from the time when it is approved by the President, and is pros pective in its effect only. The legal fiction that there is no fraction of a day is not applicable in such a
THE POWERS OF CONGRESS.
131. We have now arrived at that part of the Constitution which has given rise to much discussion, and with regard to which opinions have been greatly divided. In treating upon it we shall endeavor to confine ourselves within the limits marked out by the well-settled practice of the government, and the authoritative exposition of the courts. 132. Congress have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises must be uniform throughout the United States. 133. This clause of the Constitution has been a subject of much controversy. On one hand it has been said that it empowers Congress to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, and also to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. On the other it is contended that Congress is empowered to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises,