CLEAR LAKE, Iowa | U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., blasted what she called the obstructionism of House Republicans Friday night at the annual Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom.
Klobuchar, who has gotten media attention recently as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, outlined for the crowd of about 400 her “innovation agenda” for the country.
“Idealogues in the House are holding this country back,” she said.
Klobuchar said a farm bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote. In the House, she said, “a group of Tea Partyers cut it to shreds.”
She is part of a House-Senate conference committee that is supposed to iron out differences, but said she’s still waiting for the phone call from the House.
Klobuchar said the Senate passed an immigration bill with 68 votes, a bill that has the support of both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.
“Despite what you hear from your congressman in the 4th District (Republican Steve King), 61 percent of the people in Iowa want immigration reform,” she said.
“Where’s the immigration bill? It’s stuck in the same place as the farm bill — in someone’s desk drawer in the House. We need to say it’s time to give America the key to that drawer,” she said.
Touting her innovation agenda, Klobuchar said America has invented “everything from Post-it-Notes to pacemakers.
“We need to continue to invest in opportunities,” she said. “We can’t just turn money around on Wall Street. We have to make stuff, and we have to be able to export it.”
She said her agenda includes training students for jobs, including in high school, and bringing down the debt “but gradually, and not on the backs of students, seniors or the middle class.”
Klobuchar said the country needs to be able to double its exports in the next five years, have a fair tax policy, and have reforms that make sure billionaires and super PACs can’t buy elections.
Klobuchar, 53, is a former Hennepin County prosecutor who in 2006 became the first woman from Minnesota elected to the U.S. Senate. She was re-elected in 2012.
She said one of the reasons she came to the Wing Ding was to support Bruce Braley, the Democrat who hopes to succeed Tom Harkin when Harkin retires from the Senate next year.
Braley was one of six Democratic candidates who spoke before Klobuchar took the stage.
He called the Wing Ding “the epicenter of Democratic activism in Iowa.”
C-SPAN provided live television coverage to its national audience.