Biden to lead spending negotiations, Reid says

WASHINGTON, March 2 Wed Mar 2, 2011 11:49am EST

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will lead negotiations in Congress to set government spending levels for the current fiscal year, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Reid has urged the White House to help close a sharp partisan divide between Republicans, who are pressing for deep spending cuts to tackle a massive budget deficit, and Democrats who fear that those cuts could imperil the shaky economic recovery and eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Sandra Maler)