BREAKING: Debt Talks Collapse as Boehner Walks Out

Posted: Jul 22, 2011 6:17 PM

It appears that much-discussed, back-channel deal between the Speaker and the President has been put on ice:

House Speaker John Boehner has walked away from negotiations with President Obama over a deal to raise the debt limit. "In the end, we couldn't connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country," Boehner said in a letter to colleagues. He said Mr. Obama " is emphatic that taxes have to be raised" and "adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs."

"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," he said.

President Obama has angrily summoned leaders from both parties to the negotiating table tomorrow, accusing Boehner of leaving him "at the altar" on several occasions.  The likely next step is last-ditch small ball:

House Republican leadership aides told CBS News that Boehner will work with the Senate leadership in an attempt to reach a deal that meets the GOP's two central requirements: That spending cuts are equal to or greater than debt limit increase and that there are no new taxes.

Without action, the debt limit will be breached on August 2 - 11 days from now - potentially plunging the U.S. economy into chaos. A GOP leadership aide said Boehner has set next Wednesday as the date by which the House must pass a bill in order to get it signed into law in time, with both the House and Senate presenting some sort of plan to members Monday.

In light of multiple media reports that it was Congressional Democrats who were mounting a furious insurrection against the leaked details of the Boehner/Obama accord (they were "fuming" that it didn't raise taxes), could the president have shifted the goalposts late in the game -- prompting Boehner's exit?  We'll see if any details emerge over the weekend, but for now, DC is once again a big, hot mess.  Tick, tock.