UPDATE 1-Boehner breaks off US debt limit talks with Obama

Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:16pm EDT

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(Updates with more details)

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner broke off talks with President Barack Obama on Friday and said he will begin negotiations with Senate leaders aimed at meeting an Aug. 2 deadline to avert an unprecedented U.S. debt default.

In a letter to congressional colleagues, Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, said talks with the Democratic president had become futile, citing Obama's demand to raise taxes.

"The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised," Boehner wrote. "As a former small businessman, I know taxes destroy jobs."

Boehner's surprise announcement came a day after reports he and Obama were nearing a 10-year deal on $3 trillion in cuts that riled the president's fellow Democrats. They complained that it included no guarantees of additional tax revenues and would likely force benefits cuts in popular entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Just a month ago, Boehner's deputy, House Republican leader Eric Cantor, walked out of deficit-reduction negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden, complaining that the administration was insisting on tax hikes despite Republican objections.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan, Thomas Ferraro, Richard Cowan and Donna Smith; editing by Doina Chiacu)

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