Article I, Section 7, Clause 1:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Insertion of this clause was another of the devices sanctioned by the Framers to preserve and enforce the separation of powers.1 It applies, in the context of the permissibility of Senate amendments to a House-passed bill, to all bills for collecting revenue – revenue decreasing as well as revenue increasing – rather than simply to just those bills that increase revenue.2
Only bills to levy taxes in the strict sense of the word are comprehended by the phrase
all bills for raising revenue; bills for other purposes, which incidentally create revenue, are not included.3 Thus, a Senate-initiated bill that provided for a monetary
special assessment to pay into a crime victims fund did not violate the clause, because it was a statute that created and raised revenue to support a particular governmental program and was not a law raising revenue to support Government generally.4 An act providing a national currency secured by a pledge of bonds of the United States, which,
in the furtherance of that object, and also to meet the expenses attending the execution of the act, imposed a tax on the circulating notes of national banks was held not to be a revenue measure which must originate in the House of Representatives.5 Neither was a bill that provided that the District of Columbia should raise by taxation and pay to designated railroad companies a specified sum for the elimination of grade crossings and the construction of a railway station.6 The substitution of a corporation tax for an inheritance tax,7 and the addition of a section imposing an excise tax upon the use of foreign-built pleasure yachts,8 have been held to be within the Senate's constitutional power to propose amendments.