WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner abruptly broke off talks with President Barack Obama Friday night on a deal to cut spending and avert a threatened government default, sending compromise efforts into a crisis state.
Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House for a Saturday meeting on raising the nation's debt limit. "We've got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it," he said.
Officials say a default could destabilize the already weakened U.S. economy and send major ripple effects across the globe.
Leaders in a divided government, Obama and Boehner blamed each other's partisans for torpedoing a deal.
"In the end, we couldn't connect," Boehner wrote Republican rank-and-file lawmakers, accusing the president of wanting to raise taxes and being reluctant to cut benefit programs.
But Obama, in a rare Friday evening turn at the White House podium, said, "I've been left at the altar now a couple of times."
"If Congress and the House Republicans are not willing to ensure that we avoid default, it's fair to say they take responsibility for whatever arises," the president said.
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