Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's naming U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state to co-chair a powerful "super committee" charged with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit cuts this fall.

Murray will be joined by fellow Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Max Baucus of Montana on the panel, which was established last week by hard-fought legislation to increase the national debt.

Murray, who is chairwoman of the committee to elect Democratic senators, is a longtime protector of Democratic priorities such as Medicare, Social Security and veterans' benefits, as are Kerry and Baucus.

Reid said Tuesday that Murray has "a depth of knowledge on budget issues and demonstrated her ability to work across party lines."

Reid is the first of four congressional leaders to make his picks to the panel.
Associated Press