harry_reid_2.jpgRENO, Nev. (AP) _ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is joining civil rights leader Morris Dees in condemning Republican efforts to cut more than $100 million from the FBI program used to combat hate groups in Nevada and across the country.

Reid agrees federal spending cuts are necessary but the budget shouldn't be balanced on the backs of agents charged with monitoring groups like the Aryan Nation and Ku Klux Klan.

He says 15 hate groups currently are operating in his home state alone.

Dees co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971. He told reporters during a teleconference with Reid Thursday he owes his life to FBI agents who infiltrated a group of white supremacists before they could carry out a plan to kill him during a speech in southern Illinois in 1998.