On Thursday night, the House passed a measure that would reduce the impact of the fiscal cliff's automatic spending cuts on the military.
However, the chamber then went into recess when it was clear Boehner lacked the votes for his separate tax plan that maintained cut rates on income up to $1 million.
Conservatives opposed to any kind of increase in tax rates refused to sign on, and with Democrats unified in their opposition, the measure had no chance of passing.
"There was a perception created that that vote last night was going to increase taxes. I disagree with that characterization," Boehner said Friday by way of explanation, adding that "the perception was out there, and a lot of our members did not want to have to deal with it."
Reid had said the Senate would spurn the Boehner plan if it passed the House, and Obama promised to veto it if it reached his desk. According to Republican sources, the zero chance for Boehner's Plan B to actually become law influenced some wavering House members to reject it.
Obama campaigned for re-election on extending the tax cuts that date back to his predecessor's administration on income up to $250,000 for families, but returning to higher rates on amounts above that threshold.
Some House Republicans have said they would join Democrats in supporting the president's proposal in hopes of moving past the volatile issue to focus on the spending cuts and entitlement reforms they seek.
The Plan B was significant because Republican leaders previously insisted they wouldn't raise rates on anyone.
Boehner had complained Thursday that in making that concession, he expected but never got significant concessions from Obama.
He elaborated on the negotiations Friday, saying he told Obama that his latest proposal made over the weekend was his bottom line. Boehner said Obama told him the White House counterproposal Monday was the president's bottom line.
Boehner also repeated his complaint that Obama and Democrats were unwilling to address the spending cuts and entitlement reforms that he considers necessary to properly address the nation's chronic federal deficits and debt.
"What the president has proposed so far simply won't do anything to solve our spending problems," Boehner said, noting that "because of the political divide in the country, because of the divide here in Washington, trying to bridge these differences has been difficult."
In his statement Friday, Obama said he had compromised at least halfway on major issues, and that both sides have to accept they will not get all they want.
The possibility of a fiscal cliff was set in motion over the past two years as a way to force action on mounting government debt.
Now legislators risk looking politically cynical by seeking to weaken the measures enacted to try to force them to confront tough questions regarding deficit reduction, such as reforms to popular entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Polling has consistently shown most Americans back the president, who insists wealthy Americans must pay more, rather than Boehner and his Republican colleagues, who have balked at tax rate hikes and demanded spending cuts and entitlement program reforms.
A new CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday showed that just over half of respondents believe Republicans should give up more in any solution and consider the party's policies too extreme.
The two sides seemingly had made progress earlier this week on forging a $2 trillion deficit reduction deal that included new revenue sought by Obama and spending cuts and entitlement changes desired by Boehner.
The president's latest offer set $400,000 as the income threshold for a tax rate increase, up from his original plan of $250,000. It also included a new formula for the consumer price index applied to some entitlement benefits, much to the chagrin of liberals.
Called chained CPI, the new formula includes assumptions on consumer habits in response to rising prices, such as seeking cheaper alternatives, and would result in smaller benefit increases in future years.
Statistics supplied by opponents say the change would mean Social Security recipients would get $6,000 less in benefits over the first 15 years of chained CPI.
Liberal groups sought to mount a pressure campaign against including the chained CPI after news emerged this week that Obama was willing to include it, calling the plan a betrayal of senior citizens who had contributed throughout their lives for their benefits.