The Republican-controlled House on Jan. 26 voted to end federal subsidies for presidential candidates and national political conventions.

Conservatives praised the decision as a critical cost-cutting measure, while liberals claimed such a move would diminish transparency in campaign finance.

The measure must be approved by the Democrat-held Senate and survive a presidential veto option before becoming law.

“Eliminating this program would save taxpayers $617 million over 10 years, and would require candidates and political parties to rely on private contributions rather than tax dollars,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told the Associated Press. “In times when government has no choice but to do more with less, voting to end the Presidential Election Campaign Fund should be a no brainer.”

Democrats, who believe that without public funds corporations and special interests groups will dominate future elections, do not share his view. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) said she believes the measure, combined with a Supreme Court decision last year which allowed corporate funding of campaign messages, could undermine campaign finance reform.

“It is imperative to strengthen the Presidential election finance system established in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, not eliminate it,” said Edwards in a statement. “Elimination simply means even more unfettered spending on our elections by large corporations and wealthy individuals. In the past year, we saw the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturn a century of campaign finance law resulting in a wave of unprecedented special-interest spending on our midterm elections.”

The Presidential Campaign Fund is funded by a taxpayer option to designate $3 of a taxpayer’s income tax to be applied to presidential campaign finance.

The House voted 239-160 to send the measure to the Senate. It is a part of House Republicans’ “Cut as you Go” approach to the federal budget, a plan, which they claim will reduce the national deficit and create more private sector jobs. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in recent statements that there are three questions to ask as he continues to work.

“One, are our actions focusing on jobs and the economy; two, are our actions focusing on cutting spending; and three, are our actions focusing on shrinking government and thereby protecting and expanding freedom?” he said in a statement. “If our actions do not fall within one of those three lanes, we must ask ourselves: why are we doing it?”