The drive for a major deficit-reduction deal entered a new phase Thursday when Republican negotiators pulled out of bipartisan talks, leaving it to President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner to resolve the toughest issues.
The talks were aimed at striking a budget deal in hopes of easing the way for Congress to raise the government's $14.29 trillion debt limit. Treasury Department officials say that without additional borrowing authority, the government will run out of cash to pay its bills by Aug. 2. They warn that defaulting on any U.S. obligations could trigger another financial crisis and recession.
The group, led by Vice President Joseph Biden, canceled its scheduled meeting Thursday. The suspension of the group's work could mark the beginning of the final stage of budget negotiations, which most participants had long assumed would be concluded by the president, the speaker and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.)