Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 105. Purchase of Bonds
March 3, 1881

SECTION 2 of the sundry civil appropriation act of March 3, 1881, authorizing the application of the surplus to the purchase of bonds, was offered as an amendment to the bill, March 2, by Thomas F. Bayard of Delaware, from the Senate Committee on Finance, and was agreed to without debate. In his annual message of December 6, 1887, President Cleveland pointed out that "the only pretense of any existing executive power" to prevent the accumulation of surplus revenue "consists in the supposition that the Secretary of the Treasury may enter the market and purchase the bonds of the Government not yet due, at a rate of premium to be agreed upon"; and he expressed a doubt as to whether the provision of the act of 1881 was properly to be regarded as still in effect. A bill to give the Secretary of the Treasury the necessary authority was introduced in the House January 16, 1888, and passed that body February 29. The Senate passed the bill with amendments April 5, and the bill went to a conference committee, where it remained. By a resolution of April 16, agreed to under suspension of the rules, the House declared that the provision of the act of 1881 "was intended to be a permanent provision of law; and the same is hereby declared to have been since its enactment and to be now, in the opinion of the House, in full force and effect." The vote on the motion to suspend the rules was 138 to 64, 123 not voting.

REFERENCES.--Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XXI, 457. For the later proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 50th Cong., 1st Sess., and the Cong. Record; see also Senate Report 453.

An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the government for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and eighty-two, and for other purposes.

SEC. 2. That the Secretary of the Treasury may at any time apply the surplus money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, or so much thereof as he may consider proper, to the purchase or redemption of United States bonds: Provided, That the bonds so purchased or redeemed shall constitute no part of the sinking fund but shall be cancelled.

APPROVED, March 3, 1881.

-318-

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