Political Stalemate: Congressional Leaders to Meet After Debt Talks Collapse

VIDEO: President Obama and Congressional leaders face increased pressure to reach deal.PlayABCNEWS.com
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President Obama has called Congressional leaders to the White House this morning to try to restart debt ceiling talks after negotiations collapsed.

The president has called on Speaker of the House John Boehner-- along with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid-- to return to the White House this morning for a meeting at 11 a.m. Boehner said Friday night that he will attend the meeting.

"They are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. And they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them," President Obama said Friday.

Boehner called off talks with the White House on the debt ceiling Friday evening, at a time when White House officials thought they were close to reaching a deal on the debt ceiling.

"It has become evident that the White House is not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children's future," Boehner said in a letter sent to every member of Congress.

A visibly frustrated President Obama spoke to reporters just as the Boehner's letter was made public.

"It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal, and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done," the president said.

White House officials said Obama made a call to Boehner Thursday evening, but the call went unreturned until 5:30 p.m. on Friday, when Boehner reportedly called and told the president he was calling off negotiations.

"If Speaker Boehner had called back, Americans would have had a deal," a White House official told reporters after the president announced Boehner had pulled out of negotiations.

The speaker said in a press conference Friday night that talks broke down on Thursday, because the White House "moved the goal posts" and called for more revenue increases than had been previously discussed.

"There was an agreement on some additional revenues until yesterday, when the president demanded $400 billion more, which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people," Boehner said.

Boehner said that, in addition to the White House's insistence on tax increases, that the administration has not been serious about cutting government spending.

But the president told reporters the White House had offered Boehner a generous deal that called for less revenue increases than the "Gang of Six" deal that had been seriously considered earlier this week and had offered over a trillion dollars in discretionary spending cuts, in addition to $650 million in cuts to entitlement programs.

Boehner said he will move forward in talks with Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill to try and strike a deal before the Aug. 2 deadline when the country will default on its financial obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised.

"I think we can work together here on Capitol Hill to forge and agreement, and I'm hopeful that the president will work with us," Boehner told reporters.

The standoff over the failing debt negotiations has hinged on the refusal of a group of Congressional Republicans to consider tax increases as part of the deal, while many Democrats are have been unwilling to consider cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

While the political impasse has broken down party lines, it has been further complicated by internal party divisions.

The president faced a revolt from within his own party on Thursday when news surfaced that president and Boehner were working on a far-reaching deal that would call for cuts to government spending without also immediately raising revenue.

Though the White House sought to draw consensus with Congressional Democrats upset by the terms of the evolving deal on Thursday, it was clear on Friday when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate that tensions were mounting.

"I say to both the President and to the Speaker here on the Senate floor, representing my Democrats, and I'm confident many Republicans, be very careful," Reid said. "Show a lot of caution as this negotiation goes forward because any arrangement must be fair to all America, not just the wealthy."

Boehner has also faced internal party challenges in attempting to steer a group of freshman representatives in the Republican caucus, many of whom came to Washington vowing to block tax increases, to consider compromises on revenue.

When asked by ABC's Jonathan Karl if he walked away from the negotiations because he was unable to control his own caucus, Boehner said that was "absolutely not" a factor.

"I gave the president's proposal serious consideration," Boehner said. "But let's understand something. There was an agreement. There was an agreement with the White House at $800 billion in revenue. It's the president who walked away from his agreement and demanded more money at the last minute. "

Friday's negotiation fallout is coupled with the failure of the Republican's "Cut, Cap, and Balance" legislative plan, which was shot down in a party line vote in the Senate on Friday.

The legislation, which was expected to fail as it moved through Congress this week, would have cut federal spending over the next decade, while also calling for an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget.