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White House Talks Over, Boehner Says; Senate Blocks Debt Bill

Speaker of the House John Boehner leaves after discussing the government shutdown with his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill Saturday. Boehner reportedly told his colleagues that talks with the White House had ended without a deal.

Negotiations between the White House and Republicans in the House ended with President Obama rejecting the GOP plan Friday night, according to reports emerging from a closed meeting held by House Speaker John Boehner this morning.

The talks had focused on ways to end the government shutdown that is now in its 12th day and to raise the federal debt limit, something the Treasury says must happen by Oct. 17 to avoid a potential default.

As it seeks its own solution to the crisis, the Senate blocked a bill backed by Democrats Saturday that would have raised the borrowing limit through 2014.

Attention then turned to Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who has been working to craft a potential compromise solution. After the vote, senators could be seen flocking around her chair on the Senate floor. Collins is expected to speak about her plan in the early afternoon Saturday.

From Capitol Hill, NPR's David Welna reports for our Newscast unit:

"House Republicans met privately this morning, hours after President Obama rejected their plan to extend the debt ceiling for six weeks and start talks on reopening the government. Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp blames Obama for the shutdown.

"'We're waiting for the president actually to make an offer. He has not. Just sitting around waiting doesn't get the job done,' he said.

"Meanwhile in the Senate, Majority leader Harry Reid chided his GOP colleagues.

"The Republicans are not interested, it appears at this stage, of doing anything constructive to extend the debt ceiling, to open the government. Later -- it's what they always say."

Citing a congressional aide, Reuters reports that Reid and his counterpart in the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell, met for about an hour on Saturday, at McConnell's request.

The ongoing stalemate in Congress led NPR's Ari Shapiro to ask the question today, "Would the U.S. Be Better Off With A Parliament?"

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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