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Peters Hopeful For Cooperation In U.S. Senate

Michigan Public Radio Network

Peters sees greater chance for bipartisanship as he enters Senate in minority

Democrat Gary Peters is optimistic he will be able to work with Senate Republicans to pass measures he has championed as a candidate. That's despite the fact that he will be entering the U.S. Senate in the minority party after Republicans seized control in Tuesday's election.

Peters believes he will get bipartisan support for some of his priorities. Those include opening up more loans for small businesses and helping people burdened with student loans.

"I'm a practical, common sense problem solver. And there are other folks in Congress that are that way as well. So we want to make sure that we get everybody together," Peters told reporters at a restaurant in Rochester a day after the election.

The southeast Michigan congressman says he believes he will have more opportunities to work across the aisle in the Senate, compared to the six years he's spent in the House of Representatives.

"Actually, I think the Senate provides a much better opportunity to work together in a bipartisan way," he said. "I mean, it's just very difficult to do that in the House. Part of it is just the size of the House - it's difficult to do that."

But Peters admits it will be more difficult to pass some of his top priorities with a Republican-controlled Congress. Those include raising the federal minimum wage.

"I think it's difficult, certainly, with the change in the control. But that doesn't mean we can't keep fighting for it. In my mind, if someone is working full time, they should be able to earn a wage that allows them to pay their basic bills."

Michigan voters gave Peters an easy victory over Republican Terri Lynn Land in Tuesday's election.