WASHINGTON _ Deficit reduction talks between the White House and Republican congressional leaders fell apart Friday when Speaker John Boehner walked away, raising serious questions whether Washington can find a way to avoid a government default in 12 days.
Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to his House of Representatives Republican colleagues saying "Ihave 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," Boehner said.
Obama quickly fired back at a hastily-arranged appearance in the White House briefing room. He called Congressional leaders to t he White House Saturday morning, saying "They are going to have to explain to me how it is we are going to avoid default."
The sudden drama followed a day when the Obama administration had said was the crucial date for reaching a deficit reduction deal, Congress went home, with no agreement in hand as the government inched perilously closer to losing its borrowing authority.