Boehner gavels end to showdown
December 23rd, 2011
02:45 PM ET
8 years ago

Boehner gavels end to showdown

Washington (CNN) - In the end it was House Speaker John Boehner's decision to back down and accept the two month payroll tax cut extension congressional Democrats and the White House wanted, and he backed it up by presiding over the final House session of the year to approve the measure.

Boehner announced the deal he struck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a conference call with House Republicans Thursday night, but took no questions from members and ended the call.

If unhappy House Republicans were going to show up to object to the short term deal, they were going to have to look Boehner in the eye to do it.

While the speaker of the House regularly opens up the House floor during weeks when Congress is in session, it is rare for the speaker to preside over "pro forma" sessions. It's usually left to a member who lives close to the Capitol. That's because most members have long left town, and the typical session is only a brief formality and not meant to handle major issues.

But this Friday morning's session was different. Minutes before 10 a.m. ET, Speaker Boehner arrived in the lobby outside the House floor and huddled with Georgia Republican Rep Rob Woodall and several floor aides, who appeared surprised to see him. Boehner told the group he would preside and then walked into the chamber.

Woodall stayed in the lobby and told reporters he was scheduled to be in Washington Friday to cover the session, but he noted that everyone expected Boehner to be in town for this one. "I was the back up plan," he said.

Asked why Boehner made the rare move to go to the House floor today, his spokesman would only say it was "his decision."

After a long week of intense political pressure on Boehner, it took only minutes for him to put the gavel down and finally end the showdown with Democrats and many in his own party. While several House GOP freshmen slammed the deal in press releases no one came to the floor to block it and force a full House vote.

On his walk back to his office, Boehner was surrounded by reporters asking him about the final deal, and he repeatedly declined to answer questions.

Tennessee Democratic Rep Steve Cohen approached the speaker through the crush of reporters and reached out to shake his hand and wish him happy holidays. "You're a good man – I feel for you," Cohen said to Boehner. Boehner shook his hand, then turned and kept walking.

Filed under: Congress • John Boehner • Taxes
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. MTATL67

    Did he remember to have the C-span cameras turned back on.

    December 23, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    It's called LEADERSHIP. He's there doing his job. Unlike the Senate Democrats who blew town leaving some dog poop bill to deal with that did nothing but kick the can down the road and set national tax policy on a monthly basis, which everyone thinks is totally insane. But it is the same insane financial management we have come to expect from the Democrats. It is why we are going bankrupt while they play endless games.

    December 23, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. T'sah from Virginia

    ►In the end it was House Speaker John Boehner's decision to back down and accept the two month payroll tax cut extension congressional Democrats and the White House wanted◄

    And yes, that's AFTER he sent everyone home that objected knowing he will get a vote with all of those that were left. And where is the BIG CROWD behind him backing him up??? Where is that "snake" CAN'Tor that set him up in the first place for failure?

    Boehner is ONE and DONE. Now, who got more done between Boehner and Pelosi???? Thought so!!

    Obama 2012 – Kaine 2012!!!

    December 23, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Lolypop

    @truth and nothing but the truth: I double dog dare you to prove what you just posted.

    December 23, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Its called lack of leadership. He doesn't count how many will support him, and comes out frequently with egg on his face. When republicans run on jobs, jobs, jobs, and only pass attacks on women's rights, tax breaks for the wealthy, big oil, big business, it only reinforces that he is the worst speaker ever.

    December 23, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Truth somebody wrote:

    It's called LEADERSHIP. He's there doing his job. Unlike the Senate Democrats who blew town
    Never mind the fact that McConnell assured Reid that the deal was done. Never mind the fact that Boehner also chimed in saying that the deal was done. Never mind the fact that Republican Party is fractured and half of them reneged on what was supposed to have been a done deal.

    Never mind the Truth and Nothing But the Truth.

    December 23, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Ginny

    As Reid aptly said, "Politics is the art of compromise," something the Teapublicans have yet to learn instead sticking to their immature, myopic and self-centered ideological agenda come hell or high water. They don't believe in "the common good" inherent in America from the get-go. They only believe in their good.

    December 23, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Glad it's over, aren't you John? Now you can float on home in a river of your tears...

    December 23, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    There's gonna be lots of drinkin' and cryin' in the Orangeman's house this holiday season!

    December 23, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. rs

    Oh, it isn't over. The GOP/TP will try once again in 2 months to extend benefits for the rich, cut them for the middle class, and all their other radical, anti-American lunacy. They simply aren't that smart. It won't really be over until Nov. 2012 when we can replace each and every one of them!

    December 23, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    @"Tru... blah, blah" It's called BACKPEDALING! He had to pass on his own pork laden bill!

    December 23, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Rich in NJ

    It wasn't Senate Democrats – it was the Senate. 89-10. It was a negotiated deal that includes some things the GOP wanted very badly, like an expedited decision on Keystone XL. Boehner couldn't control his members, which stabbed Mitch McConnell in the back. Portraying this as Republican vs. Democrats is false. This was reasonable Republicans and Democrats versus the Tea Party.

    December 23, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Bob Ramos

    Say what you will, Boehner did a classy thing.

    December 23, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Bob Ramos

    To Truth and Nothing but the truth.......You ignore that all of the GOP senators plus 95% of the GOP Reps had already left DC.

    December 23, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    Did the weeper cry? This man, the newterman left in disgrace of course, has got to be the worst ever speaker of the house.
    Pelosi, a woman, has more balls than this tanned nobody ever will.
    @truth – please take off the elephant blinders. Your teapublikans don't care about you unless you are a millionaire. Are you?

    December 23, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. BLKMANinAmerica

    LMBAO.........."Truth and Nothing But the Truth"................................"Leadership" really..........................if he would had done his JOB last week that could be consider a repuk form of "Leadership". Mr. 'bone-head' Boehner is a far cry from a "leader" why on earth do you think he passed this bill without a majority of his repuk House memebership in attendance. repuks are a trip.................such deceitful lot.

    December 23, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. GonzoinHouston

    The TP's just wanted to play another round of down-to-the-wire posturing. Ironic that the GOP, the party of tax cuts, suddenly finds its most extreme wing fighting against a tax cut. Perhaps it was because it was a tax cut that has more benefit to the unwashed masses than the good people. More likely it was that Obama wanted it, therefore the TP's were totally against it.

    December 23, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |

    Teabaggers make the Weeper look weak. Nov 6 will wipe them all away.

    December 23, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. John L Porter

    Gee. I thought sure the bill was backed by Senate Republicans too.Maybe Fox news did'nt tell you that.

    December 23, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Rick in Az

    Everytime I see or hear the expression "kick the can down the road" I know I'm dealing with someone who isn't thinking clearly. 2 weeks ago the Republican House of Representatives did not want any extension of the payroll tax cut. Now, when an interim agreement is made in the Senate for 2 months to hammer out a permament solution they(the House Republicans) say they want a full years deal. In that years deal the number of weeks for unemployment compensation is droppedfrom 99 to 49. It would reduce compensation to Drs from Medicare by 23% and reduce the Federal workforce by 200,000. In addition the pipeline from Canada would not carry light or sweet crude oil but shale sludge across the largest underground aquifer in the US. Any bill introduced by Republicans whether in the House or the Senate bodes ill for the average person.

    December 23, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Colorodan

    Clinton left office with three consecutive budget surpluses. The GOP passed massive tax cuts that went primarily to the wealthiest Americans in 2001 and 2003. We went immediately into deficit mode and have been there ever since. During a time of war no less. Boehner could have taken the original one year deal the Senate would have passed paid for by a microscopic tax increase on the wealthiest Americans, but he wouldn't accept it because, you know, Grover might get angry. He asked Reid to renegotiate and Reid and the Senate Republicans came up with the 2 month compromise. Boehner came out for it initially before his House radicals jerked his chain and he flip flopped like Romney on steroids (this is incidentally why he took no questions from house members on the latest caucus call). Yes, Boehner was for the 2 month deal before he was against it and then of course for it again. I would like to thank the GOP for deciding against holding 160 million Americans hostage by threatening a tax hike so they can get their oil pipeline. I know you just did it because it was starting to look like you just care about big business and not the Middle class, but still, thank you.

    December 23, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Cantor was seen out shopping (looking a golden gavels). He's definitely under-cutting and stabbing John in the back at every turn.

    December 23, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. vic , nashville ,tn

    John Boehner did the right thing in the end. In the past he worked with democrats in many issues. unfortunately this year he has to work with Tea baggers

    December 23, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Independent Voters

    Boehner must be dumb on dumb why he would let the teapart ruin his career. 2012 election Boehner people would vote you out of the office with the rest of the teaparty congress.
    Boehner another thing majority of american people dont want the pipeline built in our country.

    December 23, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He realized he would be the scapegoat for this problem of "higher taxes" on average people. It was something he couldn't deal with. He might lose the speakership if the tea people get a hold of him.

    December 23, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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