DC's looking might empty today, as Congress takes its first official day of the "spring district work period."

While that clunky term may not have quite the same ring to it as "Spring Break!!!", it's not as if members of Congress are exactly heading off for sun and surf. The Minnesota delegation will mix work and play over the spring recess, which starts today and ends April 9.

Rep. Jim Oberstar is the Minnesota lawmaker getting the most mileage out of his break; The Iron Range Democrat will be flying to Portugal for a week-long Aspen Institute conference. Aides say he's going to bone up on national security issues.

Rep. Keith Ellison will also be abroad for half of the recess (but can't disclose where he's going for security reasons), and Rep. Collin Peterson will be spending two days in Oregon to hold farm meetings.

The rest of the Minnesota delegation will spend all of their two-week break in the North Star State for district work. Highlights for the week ahead include: 

  • Sen. Al Franken will spend a few days with his family during the break, but will be traveling around the state for a Census door-knock, talking about health care and stopping in Monticello, Sandstone and Pine City, among others.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar will hold events on health care, child nutrition and cybersecurity as she travels around the state and will also be spending some time with her family.
  • Rep. Tim Walz will accept the American Veterans' (AMVETS) Silver Helmet Award for "excellence and outstanding accomplishment in the fields of Americanism, defense, rehabilitation, congressional and civil service."
  • Rep. John Kline plans to tour plants, meet with Chambers of Commerce and host a roundtable meeting with 2nd District superintendents to discuss education issues being debated in Congress.
  • Rep. Erik Paulsen will head back to his Metro-area district to meet with small businesses, speak to rotary clubs, visit local schools and stop by the VA hospital.
  • Rep. Betty McCollum will be doing regular district work during the break.
  • After Rep. Keith Ellison returns to the district, he'll hold meetings to discuss health care reform and the Middle East peace process and will speak to university and grade school students.
  • Fresh off her appearance on CBS' Meet the Press, Rep. Michele Bachmann will meet with local organizations in her district and present the Presidential Unit Citation to Vietnam veteran Bob Hathaway.
  • While he's in the district, Rep. Collin Peterson will attend meetings related to water (flooding, water retention, diversion) in different communities across Western Minnesota.

Hayley Tsukayama is an intern in the Star Tribune's Washington bureau.

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