White House: Biden talks are in 'abeyance,' Obama still hopeful for a compromise

Immediately viewed by many in Washington as a sign that the talks had collapsed, the White House tried to portray the Republicans' decision as the inevitable next step in the process.

"A lot of progress has been made," Carney said. "Obviously, part of the design of this was to find areas of agreement and common ground and then identify areas of disagreement, which could then be referred to the leaders in Congress, obviously to the president, and would then try to work out some of the areas of disagreement."

Carney made clear that Obama has no intention of moving either, saying that with respect to Republicans and tax increases, "everything's got to be on the table."

"The president supports a balanced approach," Carney said. "He does not support an approach that provides for a $200,000 tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by a $6,000 a year hike in expenses and costs for seniors. And he believes the American people support him in that."

Republican leaders have repeatedly called for Obama to get directly involved in the talks. Carney hinted that participation might come sooner than later.

"It has always been the case where these talks would proceed to a point where the remaining areas of disagreement would be addressed by leaders and the president," Carney said. "I don't have any announcement about what happens next but this process is sort of proceeding as envisioned."