Sen. Gary Peters on bi-partisanship and the two bills he is co-sponsoring
When he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Gary Peters promised to approach his job in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation. He says that's exactly what's behind the first two bills he has introduced in the Senate.
The first is the Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act, which Peters co-sponsored with Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford.
"What this bill does is it reduces the repair cost for the fleet of vehicles that the federal government maintains," Peters says.
He estimates that the federal government spends nearly $1 billion on vehicle maintenance every year.
The bill encourages the use of remanufactured parts for repairs. Peters says using these parts are less expensive, in part because they use less energy to produce. He says using these parts would also be beneficial to Michigan with its large remanufacturing industry.
So far the bill has been successful, having passed out of the Senate committee this week with a unanimous vote. The bill will now be moving onto the Senate floor.
The second bill co-sponsored by Peters is the Military Reserve Small Business Jobs Act of 2015.
When reserve members are called to serve, they usually make less than they would in their civilian jobs. Large companies who employ these members pay the difference, but small businesses have a hard time doing the same.
"Our bill deals with small businesses to help them with paying that differential if they choose to do that for their employee," Peters says.
If the bill is passed, small businesses will receive a 20% tax credit to help pay the difference, according to Peters.
Peters has served as a Seabee combat warfare specialist in the Navy. He rose to Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve, and re-upped in the Naval Reserve after 9/11. His co-sponsor on the Military Reserve Small Business Jobs Act of 2015, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is the first female veteran to serve in the Senate. She is also a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa National Guard.
Peters says he's strong proponent of working across party lines to build trust.
"Let's spend some time focusing on those things that are clearly going to bring people together,build those relationships," he says. "And then when you build those relationships and have some trust between you, then you can deal with the tougher issues as well."