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Boehner Ends Debt Talks With Obama, Says ‘Couldn’t Connect’

U.S. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Photographer: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Photographer: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- House Speaker John Boehner withdrew from negotiations with the White House on a broad deficit-reduction package and said he will instead talk with Senate leaders on a way to avoid a U.S. default.

“A deal was never reached, and was never really close,” Boehner said in a letter prepared for distribution to House colleagues. “In the end, we couldn’t connect.”

President Barack Obama said he had offered Boehner an “extraordinarily fair deal” that would cut trillions of dollars in spending, including on entitlement programs.

“It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal,” the president said.

“We have now run out of time,” Obama said, saying he is calling legislative leaders to the White House at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Obama and Boehner have confronted strife within their ranks and dwindling time to avert a default as they pressed for a plan to boost the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit. The two leaders had discussed cutting spending by trillions of dollars and overhauling the tax code.

Boehner said he would “begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.”

The Republican aide said the speaker decided to withdraw from the White House talks because of the limited time left to avoid default before Aug. 2, when Treasury officials project the U.S. will exhaust its legal debt limit.

Boehner told House Republicans earlier in the day that the House would have to vote on legislation by Wednesday so that it could pass both chambers of Congress in time, a Republican lawmaker said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Washington at; Mike Dorning in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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