Despite the growing federal deficit and debt, the House of Representatives voted 221 to 202 to approve a spending bill last week that provides $447 billion in funding for several government departments and agencies for the next budget year.
The partisan nature of the vote stems largely from the fact that, as several media outlets have pointed out, the bill reflects in large part the priorities of Democrats who currently control all branches of government.
Among its provisions, the legislation includes measures that authorize billions in mandatory federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and $3.9 billion in earmarks to fund 5,224 projects in various lawmakers’ home districts, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the bill a "tough choice" for "tough budgetary times," saying it will help create jobs by expanding access to capital and credit, and investing in infrastructure development and clean energy.
However, the move was blasted by House Republicans who called the 2,444-page bill an irresponsible spending increase at a time of escalating government deficits, according to The New York Times.
"When are we going to say enough is enough?" asked Minority Leader John Boehne of Ohio, quoted by CNN, while Representative Jerry Lewis of California complained that "there is no question that the era of big government has returned to Washington," according to The Times.