Sen. Harry Reid has made his picks for the deficit super committee whose task it is to recommend with $1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years — Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington State and Max Baucus of Montana.
Several news outlets reported Tuesday afternoon that they learned the names from Democratic sources. The committee will have 12 members, three more named by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, and six named by House Republicans and Democrats.
By choosing Murray, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that will be trying to defend the 23 Senate seats currently held by Democrats, Reid ensures that whatever recommendation his people agree to will be deeply informed by the Democrats' desire to hold onto their slim majority.
Murray is also on the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee and represents a state with a number of military facilities and contractors.
So her presence on the super committee should give some cover to Senate Democrats when they ask Republicans to agree to deeper Defense Department cuts.
Kerry would bring gravitas as his party's 2004 presidential nominee. He also has participated in past bipartisan efforts at deficit reduction. He was a sponsor of the granddaddy of budget balancing efforts, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings legislation which, like the debt-ceiling law, required automatic, across the board spending cuts if Congress failed to reach agreement on what programs to reduce or stop spending on.
Baucus is chair of the Senate Finance Committee.