WASHINGTON--House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke off debt talks with President Obama on Friday and each man blamed the other for the stalemate as the Aug. 2 default deadline looms.
"We have now run out of time. I told Speaker Boehner, I've told Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, I've told Harry Reid and I've told Mitch McConnell I want them here at 11:00 (a.m.) tomorrow," Obama said in a hastily called Friday afternoon press conference in the White House briefing room.
Said Obama, "Up until sometime early today when I couldn't get a phone call returned, my expectation was that Speaker Boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing, but the right thing. I think it has proven difficult for Speaker Boehner to do that. I've been left at the altar now a couple of times."
Boehner, in a letter he sent to members and staff, faulted the president. Wrote Boehner, "During these discussions - as in my earlier discussions - it became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children's future."
UPDATE After a press conference--following Obama's press conference-- Boehner, I'm told," mapped strategy with the top GOP House leaders in a conference call Friday night. END UPDATE
THE BOEHNER LETTER
Our economy is not creating enough jobs, and the policies coming out of Washington are a big reason why. Because of Washington, we have a tax code that is stifling job creation. Because of Washington, we have a debt crisis that is sowing uncertainty and sapping the confidence of small businesses. Because of Washington, our children are financing a government spending binge that is jeopardizing their future.
Since the moment I became Speaker, I've urged President Obama to lock arms with me and seize this moment to do something significant to address these challenges. I've urged him to partner with congressional Republicans to do something dramatic to change the fiscal trajectory of our country. . .something that will boost confidence in our economy, renew a measure of faith in our institutions of government, and help small businesses get back to creating jobs.
The House this week passed such a plan. . .the Cut, Cap & Balance Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.
Along with Majority Leader Cantor, I have also engaged the president in a dialogue in recent days. The purpose of this dialogue was to see if we could identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law.
During these discussions - as in my earlier discussions - it became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children's future.
A deal was never reached, and was never really close.
In the end, we couldn't connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country.
The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.
The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. As the father of two daughters, I know these programs won't be there for their generation unless significant action is taken now.
For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.
The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have not been participants in the conversations I and Leader Cantor have had with the White House; nor have the Republican leaders of the Senate. But I believe there is a shared commitment on both sides of the aisle to producing legislation that will serve the best interests of our country in the days ahead - legislation that reflects the will of the American people, consistent with the principles of the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act that passed the House with bipartisan support this week.
I wanted to alert you to these developments as soon as possible. Further information will be coming as soon as it is available. It is an honor to serve with you. Together, we will do everything in our power to end the spending binge in Washington and help our economy get back to creating jobs.