(Politico) — In the first of what will be a closely watched selection process for a powerful new deficit panel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he will appoint Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.), Max Baucus (Mont.) and John Kerry (Mass.) as his three choices for a super committee charged with finding more than $1 trillion in spending cuts by the end of this year.
Murray will serve as co-chair of the 12-member panel. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will select her co-chair and two other panelists, as required by the next debt limit agreement signed into law by President Barack Obama last week. Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell will each select three additional members.
Murray is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and close to Reid and the rest of the Senate Democratic leadership. Baucus is the chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, while Kerry — the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee — has been lobbying for a spot.