Boehner ends talks with White House on debt deal

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday said he ended negotiations with President Obama on a so-called grand bargain to achieve sizable deficit reduction in the context of raising the debt ceiling.

Boehner informed all House Republicans in a letter released at 6 p.m. EDT.

"A deal was never reached and was never really close," Boehner wrote. "I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward."

Boehner blamed Obama's demand for higher taxes and opposition to "fundamental changes" to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

"In the end, we couldn't connect," Boehner wrote. "Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country. The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs."

In a statement at the White House, Obama said Boehner had walked away from "an extraordinarily fair deal. If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue."

Boehner and senior House GOP aides said there is a common bicameral desire to avoid default on August 2, but have no legislative approach to achieve that goal.

"I believe there is a shared commitment on both sides of the aisle to producing legislation that will serve the best interests of our country in the days ahead," Boehner wrote.

Boehner informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Friday afternoon.

Senior House GOP aides said Boehner is not maneuvering and from now on the only focus of negotiations will be to produce a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and meets Boehner's longstanding demand that spending cuts exceed the amount by which the debt ceiling is lifted and the package contain no tax increases.

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