Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement [March 15, 2011]   [open pdf - 207KB]

"Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Origination Clause because it provides that 'All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.' The meaning and application of this clause has evolved through practice and precedent since the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a 'bill for raising revenue.' This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding what constitutes such a bill. [...] Second, this report describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced. Given the fact that originating revenue measures is the House's prerogative, it falls to the House to enforce this provision of the Constitution most frequently. The House's primary method for enforcement is through a process known as 'blue-slipping.' Blue-slipping is the term applied to the act of returning to the Senate a measure that the House has determined violates its prerogatives. [...] Finally, this report looks at the application of the Origination Clause to other types of legislation. It examines precedents concerning public debt legislation, as well as the unanswered question of whether the Origination Clause grants the House the exclusive prerogative to originate bills to appropriate money, as well as to raise revenues. This report will be updated to reflect any changes in practice."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31399
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