No 'lines in the sand' on protecting Medicare and Medicaid, says co-chairman of supercommittee

Murray added that the media should not expect members of the supercommittee to take on certain roles based on reputation.

“The pundits and journalists should not pigeonhole any one of us,” she said. “That will allow us to move forward.”

As a leader of the committee, Murray said she has been in touch with the other 11 members and was impressed with the gravity with which they take their responsibility. 

“I have reached out individually to each member of the committee,” Murray told The Columbian. “I’ve been impressed that they consider this a serious responsibility.”

The debt-ceiling deal signed into law earlier in the month establishes the bipartisan, bicameral supercommittee of 12 legislators, for which Murray was chosen by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to serve as the Democratic leader.

The committee is charged with putting together a $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction package.

The other five senators chosen to serve on the supercommittee are: Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

The overall debt-limit agreement cuts federal deficits by nearly $1 trillion over 10 years while raising the debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion through 2012.