President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner held a "frank" face-to-face meeting on Thursday in an effort to break an impasse in talks to avert the "fiscal cliff" of steep tax increases and spending cuts.

With an end-of-year deadline looming, the two leaders talked at the White House as frustration mounted over the recent lack of progress in negotiations that had become bogged down in a daily round of finger-pointing.