Vice President Joe Biden says bipartisan budget talks have made headway but that the next step is up to President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders.
Biden issued a statement Thursday declaring the talks in a state of "abeyance" after Republican negotiators abandoned the talks in a dispute with Democrats over higher taxes.
Biden said the goal of the talks was, in his word, "to report our findings back to our respective leaders."
He said those leaders need to determine the scope of an agreement that can tackle the problem and attract bipartisan support.
Democrats and Obama have insisted on reducing long-term deficits by cutting spending and increasing tax revenue. Republicans have said tax hikes will not be part of the negotiations.