From the Wall Street Journal:
The House passed an $819 billion tax-and-spending bill Wednesday, in a recession-fighting effort that would extend the reach of the federal government across the U.S. economy by reshaping policy on energy, education, health care and social programs.
The House bill is one of the largest single stimulus packages in history, almost equal to the entire cost of annual federal spending under Congress’s discretion. A parallel Senate measure, which is expected to come to a vote next week, is now valued at nearly $900 billion.
Either bill, if enacted, would push the federal debt toward levels not seen since the second World War.
Although most of the money — about $526 billion — will be spent in 2009 and 2010, spending on some programs, including student-loan programs, clean-water projects and housing assistance, is expected to last well beyond the current recession. The House bill expands access to health care for the unemployed, represents perhaps the largest expansion of the federal government’s role in education financing ever and begins what Mr. Obama has promised will be a push toward renewable energy that will continue throughout his presidential tenure.
“The strategy under this bill is to throw billions of dollars in every bureaucratic direction, and cross our fingers and hope for the best,” said Rep. Ken Calvert (R., Calif.) Wednesday during debate on the House floor.
“We need to compare the cost of this package against the cost of doing nothing. The cost of nothing would be catastrophic,” said Rep. David Obey (D., Wis.).