Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on Tuesday the three Democratic senators he'll send to the congressional committee tasked with drafting a long-term solution to the nation's mounting federal deficits.
Sens. Patty Murray of Washington state, Max Baucus of Montana, and John Kerry of Massachusetts will serve on the panel. Reid chose Murray to co-chair the committee, Reid said in a statement.
Under the debt ceiling deal passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last week, a panel of 12 legislators - six Democrats and six Republicans, equally divided between the House and Senate - will try to work out $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction after an initial round of more than $900 billion in spending cuts.
Congressional leaders have until August 16 to appoint members to the committee, which is required to complete its work by November 23. Congress then has until December 23 to vote on the proposal, with no amendments permitted.
The Republican Senate appointments to the committee, and both the Republican and Democratic House appointments, have yet to be announced.
A simple majority on the panel - seven of 12 members - is needed to approve whatever package it comes up with, meaning it will take a lone member of either party to push something through by voting with the other side. The committee's proposal would then need a simple majority in each chamber of Congress to make it to Obama's desk.
Murray is the Senate Democratic Conference secretary. Baucus is Senate Finance Committee chairman. Kerry is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.FULL STORY