House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday expressed frustration with the lack of progress in U.S. budget talks, saying Republicans and Democrats are from different planets who do not even speak the same language.
"The president is frustrated, but my goodness, the rest of us are frustrated too," Boehner told Fox News.
Republicans and Democrats are "like two groups of people from two different planets who barely understand the language of the other one," Boehner said.
"There are two remarkably different visions for what the appropriate role of the government should be in our society. How our country operates. It's stark and it would shock most Americans," he added.
The Obama administration and many economists, including Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, have warned of economic catastrophe if the United States does not raise the amount it is legally allowed to borrow by August 2.
Lawmakers from both parties want to use the threat of that deadline to work out a broader package on long-term deficit reduction, with Republicans looking to cut trillions of dollars in federal spending, while Democrats are pushing for a more "balanced approach," which would include both spending cuts and increased revenue through taxes.
"I think this is the window of opportunity," Boehner said, "I do think that there is a way to deal with it even in the short-time that we have left to negotiate it."
Some of the most conservative Republicans say the threat of catastrophe is ginned up to avoid making difficult decisions about how to cut spending for the federal government.
The top Republican on Capitol Hill said the "room is too big" for effective negotiations to cut a deal over contentious issues.
"There's just too many people in there pouring cold water on virtually every idea that gets thrown on the table," Boehner said.
Asked about a complicated side proposal from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the debt ceiling to be raised in the short-term in exchange for a trio of votes ahead of the 2012 elections that would force Democrats to vote for the increase without Republicans, Boehner said it is not his "preferred option" because there would be no guarantee of spending cuts, but he did not rule it out.
Asked specifically about allegations from his deputy, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor, that Mr. Obama "shoved back" from the table and walked out of talks on Wednesday, Boehner downplayed the spat.
"I think it was fine. I think he decided the meeting was over, got up and left," Boehner said.