Geithner to lead White House team in deficit reduction negotiations

The White House is asking Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to be its lead negotiator in deficit-reduction talks with Congress, giving him about a month to help cut a deal before $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts begin in January.

The assignment will likely be among Geithner’s last before his long-planned departure from the administration.

The assignment is a sharp change in role for Geithner, 51, who, during President Obama’s first term, has largely focused on the country’s financial crisis, banking policy and the European debt crisis, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The president is hoping  Geithner will have more success than a team led by then-White House budget chief Jacob Lew that clashed last year with congressional Republican leaders over raising the debt ceiling.

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