By Adele Hampton - 02/16/12 06:26 PM EST
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday said the new agreement to extend the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits had politically damaged Republicans by blurring differences between their agenda and President Obama's.
"I think the payroll tax deal, from a political perspective, certainly caused damage because it muddled the differences," Paul said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "It got us down into a skirmish where the differences have gotten muddled, which is what I think the president loves."
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the agreement "fair," but was quick to add the deal would do little to "grow the economy and create jobs.”
On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats had major concerns regarding pension cuts for some federal workers. But she added that she did not "see a scenario where our members will vote against it."
Ryan said the agreement played into Obama's campaign strategy of pitting the American people against a "do-nothing Congress" when, in his eyes, it is the Senate that is to blame for halting progress.
"I think the idea of running against a dysfunctional, do-nothing Congress is part of his campaign strategy," Ryan said.
"In order to have that happen the Senate has to be your enabler to make sure Congress does nothing. So I think when the dust settles and we get past this episode ... I think that's going to be a hard sell."