Sold as a form of stimulus, this legislation included a reduction in the estate tax threshold, a patch for the alternative minimum tax, a partial one-year payroll tax holiday and some additional tax breaks for businesses that invest in plants and equipment.
It also included an extension of the Bush tax cuts through the end of 2012, and is projected to cost $858 billion over ten years. The spending and tax cuts in the bill were, once again, not offset by any increase in federal revenue.
With both the annual budget deficit and public debt hitting record levels, and the House now controlled by cut-happy Republicans, the debate has shifted to reducing the size and scope of government.
NEXT: Debt at the breaking point