By Amie Parnes - 12/22/11 11:17 PM EST
President Obama congratulated Congress for ending a “partisan stalemate” and reaching a deal that would extend the payroll-tax holiday for two months.
“This is good news, just in time for the holidays,” Obama said in a news release Thursday evening. “This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs.”
The House agreement positions the president to be in a stronger position as he enters a re-election year.
Throughout the week, Obama stood his ground, refusing to cave to House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) insistence that he support a one-year tax-cut extension. In calls with the Speaker, Obama urged Boehner to take up the Senate’s compromise, calling it the only “viable option” on the table.
The president, who delayed his trip to Hawaii by almost a week, was not expected to join his family on Thursday. Aides indicated he could leave for Christmas vacation as early as Friday.
It remains unclear whether the president will speak to reporters before he heads out of town.
Earlier in the day, in a brief speech before Democratic-leaning stakeholders, Obama called the stalemate “dysfunctional” and said it was one of the reasons why Americans are so frustrated with governing in Washington.
“Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things, we can’t do it?” he asked to applause from the crowd.
Over the last week, Obama said more than 30,000 Americans reached out to the White House to complain about the hold-up.
In his statement Thursday evening, Obama thanked Americans who “raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate is all about.”
“It was about you,” the president said. “And today, your voices made all the difference.”