WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar will chair the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach committee -- a role that gives her additional power in dealmaking with Republicans and special interests on Capitol Hill next year.

The steering commitee's primary purpose is outreach to special interest and outside groups when hammering together compromises.

"This is something I've been doing for years and I think it's a very necessary role right now," she said to a group of reporters at the Capitol Thursday following the announcement. "I take the Republicans at their word. They say they want to move on things."

Though Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken will be in the minority party starting in January, Klobuchar's appointment Thursday by Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid means she will still be in the mix trying to strike bargains with Republicans, she said.

Among problems she hopes to tackle in the next year: tax reform, immigration reform and negotiating a federal standard minimum wage.

"I think there is some opportunity here," she said. "We will know within probably three months if it's real, but I think there is some opportunity now."

Klobuchar is serving her second term and isn't up for re-election until 2018.