Republican leader John Boehner said Sunday he was "flabbergasted" by Treasury secretary Tim Geithner plan to save the nation from the fiscal cliff, in the latest show of brinkmanship over a deal to avert the year end budget crises.

His statement came as Washington leaders took to the airwaves amid an escalation in the clash over how to avert the automatic triggering of massive spending cuts and the expiration of across-the-board tax cuts.