Dem official: Murray to be debt panel co-chair

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Democratic official says that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will name Sen. Patty Murray to co-chair a powerful "super committee" charged with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit cuts this fall.

The official says the Washington Democrat will be joined by Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry and Montana Democrat Max Baucus on the panel. Reid is scheduled to make the announcement Wednesday.

Murray is a longtime protector of Democratic priorities, as are Kerry and Baucus. In naming the trio, Reid opted against picking Democrats like Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad who have been more forceful in advocating curbs on Medicare spending and Social Security benefits.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Reid's choices aren't yet official.