WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has won a position in Democratic leadership.
Senate Democrats elected Klobuchar to chair the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee on Thursday during a round of leadership elections for the next Congress. The Steering Committee is a policy-based outreach arm for the Democratic caucus, tasked with meeting with outside groups and experts to discuss and set policy positions for the party. Recently, the committee has worked on issues like LGBT rights, college affordability, voting rights, the Jewish community and women’s health.
At a press conference, both Klobuchar and Democratic leader Harry Reid pitched the position as a bridge to Republicans once they take control of the Senate next year, and said she would work to find areas of agreement between the two parties.
“If you want to get something done across party lines, talk to Klobuchar,” Reid said.
Reid said Klobuchar will make a list of potentially bipartisan bills for Democrats and Republicans to work on together. Klobuchar said she thinks the parties can find common ground on issues like the minimum wage, tax reform, education and immigration.
“The broader purpose is to move on legislation and that’s something I’ve been able to do,” she said. “That is something that I have been doing for years, and I think it’s a very necessary role right now, because I take the Republicans at their word. They say they want to move on things. … I think that there is some opportunity here. We will know probably within three months if it’s real, but I think there’s opportunity.”
Klobuchar was one of two women added to the Democrats leadership team. The other is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who will take a newly created position. Montana Sen. Jon Tester was elected new chair of Senate Democrats’ campaigning arm ahead of the 2016 elections.
With that, here’s an update on leadership roles (both within the parties and on major committees) for the Minnesota delegation:
-Klobuchar: Current vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, a position that will presumably flip to a Republican senator in the next Congress; incoming chair of the Democratic Steering Committee.
-Rep. John Kline: Current chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee; expected to maintain that position into the next Congress.
-Rep. Collin Peterson: Current ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee; expected to maintain that position into the next Congress.
-Rep. Tim Walz: Seeking the ranking position on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Walz penned an op-ed about his run for that position in The Hill on Thursday. House Democrats will vote on committee leadership roles soon.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry