“At this point, I only see one route to avoiding the cliff, a replay of the TARP debacle in 2008,” said George Washington University’s Sarah Binder, an expert on Congress. In September 2008, the House defeated the bank bailout bill and the market collapsed, prompting a terrified lawmakers to reconsider and pass it…

Boehner’s only other apparent option – one that he hinted at late on Thursday following the collapse of his bill – would be to walk away and leave the problem on Democrats’ doorstep.

“Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Boehner said in a statement referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

But in a closed-door session before that statement, Republican lawmakers said Boehner told them that he would at least try to work out something with Obama.