House Speaker John Boehner admitted Thursday that listening to the tea party-backed members of his party was not one of his smartest decisions and backed down from stonewalling the Senate deal that allowed a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut and continued unemployment benefits.
Boehner said his decision to block the tax deal “may not be the smartest thing in this world” and announced the Republican leadership would accept the deal by unanimous consent, a parliamentary move that allows passage without a quorum or all of the House being present.
Boehner had first agreed to the deal cut in the Senate late last week, allowing the tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits for two months, allowing Congress time to work out a longer deal after it returns from the Christmas recess. Then, under pressure from a small cadre of House Republicans controlled by the tea party, he changed his mind and blocked approval of the deal.
That move brought fire from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, other prominent members of the GOP, President Barack Obama and the public at large.
“Sometimes, it’s politically correct to do the right thing,” Boehner said.