General Welfare Clause Law and Legal Definition
General welfare clause refers to a clause in the U.S. Constitution that empowers Congress to levy taxes and pay debts for the general welfare of the country. This clause is referred under USCS Const. Art. I, § 8, Cl 1 of the U.S. Constitution. The provisions of the section reads as follows: "Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."
The U. S. Supreme Court first interpreted the clause in United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1 (U.S. 1936). The court in this case held that the general welfare language in the taxing-and-spending clause constituted a separate grant of power to Congress to spend in areas over which it was not granted direct regulatory control.