The Corner

Origination Clarification

In my weekend column, urging the Republican-controlled House to run with the Wall Street Journal’s suggestion that funding be slashed from the IRS (and that this logic be applied to rogue Obama-administration agencies across the board), I argued that “under the Constitution, the House must initiate any spending the government does.” Lest anyone think I was trying to sneak one by my friend Matt Franck, rest assured that my purpose was not to reopen our Origination Clause debate (see my October 5 column, which links to contributions from Matt, Mark (Steyn), and Ramesh). I think we’ve beaten that one into the ground.

I still believe the power of the purse endows the House with power to initiate spending, but Matt argues very strongly that the Origination Clause is limited to initiation of bills for raising revenue. The thrust of my column today, regardless of whether the House must initiate spending, is that executive branch agencies like IRS may only be funded to the extent authorized by the House.

Congressional Republicans, appropriately, object loudly to Obama administration lawlessness. My point is: Don’t just complain; stop paying for it!

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