House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday "no substantive progress" has been made in negotiations to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," delivering a blow to the mostly optimistic statements Washington leaders have given since Election Day.

Speaking after a 45-minute meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Boehner said that meeting and a call with President Obama Wednesday evening left him believing Democrats are not willing to rein in entitlement spending. 

Boehner said he told Obama that he was firm that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched by equivalent cuts in spending. “There are a lot of things I’ve wanted in my life,” Boehner said he told Obama, “but almost all of them have had a price tag attached to them.”

Financial markets, which have mistakenly been betting a deal was at hand in recent days, began a downward dive as Boehner spoke.

The speaker's prepared remarks contrasted sharply with the comments of the past three weeks, during which he and Obama tried to appear optimistic.

"His actions have not matched his public comments," Boehner said.