Amy, What You Wanna Do?

Posted June 5, 2007 at 6:35pm

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Tuesday tapped freshman Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) to serve as the committee’s outreach and policy chairwoman for the 2008 election cycle. [IMGCAP(1)]

In that role, Klobuchar will lead the DSCC’s outreach effort to women, environmental groups and young voters. She also will take over the Women’s Senate Network, which was established in 2001 and includes all 11 Democratic female Senators.

Klobuchar, 47, won what was expected to be a very tough open-seat race last year with surprising ease, taking 58 percent of the vote against then-Rep. Mark Kennedy (R). Prior to her election to the Senate, she spent eight years as Hennepin County attorney, the top prosecutor in the Gopher State’s most populous jurisdiction.

“She will be an invaluable leader in our efforts to grow our majority in 2008,” Schumer said in a statement.

D.C. Lobbying Prohibition Lifted. The District of Columbia will no longer be prohibited from using its own money to lobby on behalf of Congressional representation or distribute clean needles to drug addicts under an appropriations bill that funds $668 million of the city budget.

At a House Appropriations subcommittee markup Tuesday, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) ripped the lobbying prohibition as worse than some practices during the times of slavery. “I think free blacks could lobby for their rights. They wouldn’t get them, but they could lobby.”

But Norton said the lifting of the prohibition on needle-exchange programs was paramount.

“The most important thing this committee can do this year is [eliminate] the needle-exchange rider, which is directly responsible … for countless deaths,” she said, due to the transmission of AIDS from dirty needles. “This is a giant step for us.”

The changes were crafted by Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) — chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government — who cited his upbringing in Puerto Rico. Serrano said it was his intention not to treat the city as a territory or a colony but as a partner.

The moves also were generally endorsed by the subcommittee’s ranking member, Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio).

“We don’t tell the states how to spend their money,” Regula said. “I think we’re at the point where D.C. should have some sovereignty in what they do.”

Regula in particular praised D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s (D) moves to take control of the school system, which he said would bring accountability.

— Josh Kurtz and Steven T. Dennis