The debt ceiling talks, to the nation (and the world's) increasing frustration and fear, reached a bleak moment Friday evening when President Obama said that House Speaker John Boehner walked away from negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. President Obama called an urgent meeting Saturday morning at the White House, which ended without resolution less than an hour later, the New York Times reports. The meeting, as various sources have speculated, was probably not a happy one. Jamie Dupree from Cox radio indicated that the White House Pool noted "strained body language" as debt limit negotiations began.
In attendance at the meeting, according to National Journal, were Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. With an air of desperation, media outlets tried to report on what had been accomplished. So far few have come up with concrete answers. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said only that Obama wanted reassurance on Saturday that there was a plan to prevent the nation from defaulting, according to Talking Points Memo.
"The President wanted to know that there was a plan for preventing national default," McConnell said in a brief statement. "The bipartisan leadership in Congress is committed to working on new legislation that will prevent default while substantially reducing Washington spending."
Another Democratic aide told TPM that "Leaders discussed the urgency of finding a path forward this weekend and agreed that staffs would work together throughout the weekend." White House press secretary Jay Carney likewise said in a statement, “The leaders agreed to return to Capitol Hill to talk to their members and discuss a way forward, and conversations will continue throughout the day.” And after the meeting, Boehner held a conference call with rank-and-file Republicans where he pledged to help avert a crisis in the Asian markets by making a statement within 24 hours about the status of raising the debt limit.