VIRGINIA (AP) - President Barack Obama's chief of staff was headed to Minnesota's Iron range to talk about a domestic steel industry crisis taking a job toll.

Denis McDonough was joining top state and federal elected officials for a private meeting Tuesday about steps to combat a downturn that has led to more than 1,500 layoffs so far at Minnesota taconite plants.

The officials planned a news conference after their discussion. Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota's two U.S. senators, Rep. Rick Nolan and top state lawmakers were planning to be in attendance.

The U.S. steel industry has suffered from a glut of foreign-made steel on the market, a strong dollar making exports harder and low fuel prices that have reduced demand for steel materials used in oil exploration.