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National Debt Glossary

Power of the purse

A reference to the constitutional power Congress has over legislation to raise revenue and appropriate funds from the Treasury.

The Constitution states that Congress “shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, [and] to pay the Debts. . .” and that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law. . . .”

The Constitution does not state how these legislative powers are to be exercised, nor does it expressly provide for the President to have a role in the management of the nation’s finances.

SOURCES: House Rules Committee; Congressional Research Service

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