« ForrigeFortsett »
$ 151. The members of Parliament in England do not now receive any compensation, though it was not altogether so in former times. The Constitution provides a compensation to members of Congress, in order that persons of moderate means in life might not be excluded from this branch of the public service on account of the expense attending it, or be led into temptation by their wants while in the national councils.
$152. Under the Confederation, the expenses of the delegates were paid by the States they represented. If the members of Congress were paid by the States, or directly by their constituents, there might be great inequalities in the rate of pay-some receiving more, some less, than others; their constituents or the States could at any time withdraw the compensation, and besides, the members would, perhaps, feel themselves less independent and free in their action.
$ 153. Previous to 1816, each member of the Senate and House of Representatives, and each delegate from the ter ritories, was allowed six dollars per day while actually attending in session, and one day's compensation for every twenty miles of travel to and from the seat of government. By an act, passed March 19, 1816, the former acts were repealed, and the compensation of the members was fixed at $1500 per annum, and aiso the former allowance for travelling expenses.
Since the 4th of March, 1817, the pay of each member of the Senate and House of Representatives has been fixed at eight dollars a day during the period of his attendance in Congress, without deduction in case of sickness; and eight dollars for every twenty miles travelled, in the usual road, in going to and returning from the seat of government. The compensation of the Presidert of the Senate pro tempore in the abser.ce of the Vice-President, and of the Spenkez of the House of Representatives, is sixteen dollars a day.
$ 155. By the rules of the House of Representatives, it is made the duty of the sergeant-at-arms to keep the accounts for the pay and mileage of members, to prepare checks, and if required to do so, to draw the money from the treasury on such checks for the members, and pay it over to the member entitled thereto; but the check must be previously signed by the Speaker and endorsed by the member. The mileage to be received by each member is ascertained by a committee appointed for that purpose, and reported by them to the sergeant-at-arms. The sergeant-at-arms is required to give bond with surety to the United States in a sum not less than five nor more than ten thousand dollars, at the discretion of the Speaker, and with such surety as the Speaker shall approve, faithfully to account for the money coming into his hands for the pay of members.
$ 156. In the Senate, the money appropriated for the compensation of members and officers, as well as for the contingent expenses of the Senate, is paid at the treasury on requisitions drawn by the secretary of the Senate, and is kept, disbursed, and accounted for by him. He gives bond in the sum of twenty thousand dollars for the faithful application of such funds.
$ 157. Members of Congress are also, by this clause, en. titled to certain personal privileges. They are privileged from arrest in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning therefrom. The reason of this exemption is, that their constituents may not be left unrepresented in the debates and votes. A similar privilege, in favour of the members of the legis.
latures, exists generally under the State constitutions, and it has long been exercised in England, not only by the members of Parliament, but by their wives and children. Our Constitution limits the privilege to senators and representatives themselves, and does not extend it to their families.
$ 158. This privilege, however, is limited. It does not extend to treason, which is defined in another part of the Constitution; nor to felony, which is a legal term of wide signification, used to denote a class of crimes which, by the ancient common law of England, occasioned a forfeiture of land or goods, and to which the punishment of death was generally attached; nor does it extend to a breach of the peace, which is a violation of the public order or a disturbance of the public peace.
$ 159. No member of Congress can be lawfully questioned in any other place for any speech or debate in either house. The object of this is to secure freedom of speech, independeuce, and liberty in the discussions. But if a member publish a speech which is libellous, it is said he is not protected by his privilege, and may be proceeded against as in ordinary cases of libel. The debates in Congress have for many years, however, been reported and published at the expense and by the authority of Congress.
[Clause 2.] “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either Ilouse during his Continuance in Office.”
$ 160. This clause is intended to prevent members of Congress from creating civil offices, or increasing the salary attached to such offices already existing, for the sake of benefiting or advancing themselves. No senator or representative can, during the term for which he has been elected, be appointed to an office which has been created, or to one the emoluments of which have been increased, during such term, although he may be appointed after the expiration of the term.
$ 161. The prohibition in the former part of the clause does not extend to military offices, because they frequently require to be filled immediately, without delay; but no officer under the United States, either civil or military, can be a senator or representative during his continuance in office. A person may hold an office under the United States when elected a member of Congress; but he must -resign it before he can take his seat in Congress.
THE ENACTMENT OF LAWS.
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.
$ 162. Bills for raising revenue are generally considered to be those only by which taxes are levied, and not such as may incidentally have the effect of creating a revenue.
In England, the House of Commons possesses the sole power of originating bills for raising revenue, or money bills," as they are called there; and the Commons will not suffer the House of Lords to make the least alteration or amendment in, or exert any power over, such bills, but that of simply agreeing to or rejecting them.
$ 163. A similar right to originate all bills for raising revenue is granted by the Constitution to the House of Representatives, because that body is more popular in its character, more immediately dependent upon the people, and more directly represents their opinions and wishes, and possesses at the same time more knowledge of the local wants and resources of each part of the country.
$164. The Senate is not a permanent and hereditary body, like the House of Lords; but is an elective body, representing the States; and as the States, as such, are interested in the apportionment, of direct taxes, there seemed no good reason for excluding the Senate from some control over money bills. They are, therefore, allowed to propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills, but they cannot originate such bills.
[Clause 2.] Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall be.