WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted 239-160 Wednesday to end the decades-long practice of providing public financing for presidential campaigns.
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leader of the Republicans in the Democrat-controlled Senate, introduced companion legislation after the House passage, USA Today reported. President Barack Obama opposes doing away with public financing, preferring to see changes made to the system, which has been in place since the 1970s.
Ten House Democrats crossed over to support the bill to kill public financing, and one GOP congressman voted against it.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who sponsored the bill in the House, says public financing of presidential campaigns is "obsolete" and should be done away with at a time when Congress is trying to whittle away trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits, the newspaper said.
But Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said the measure is an attempt by Republicans "to further erode whatever protections our government has left against a state of democracy for the highest bidder."
The Congressional Budget Office estimates eliminating public financing would save $617 million over 10 years.