skip to main content

Sen. Bill Nelson’s 2014 Report Card

Senior Senator from Florida
Democrat
Serving Jan 3, 2001 – Jan 3, 2019


These special statistics cover Nelson’s record during the 113th Congress (Jan 3, 2013-Jan 2, 2015) and compare him to other senators also serving at the end of the session. Last updated on Jan 12, 2015. Although Rep. Suzan DelBene [D-WA1], Rep. Thomas Massie [R-KY4], Rep. Donald Payne [D-NJ10], and Sen. Brian Schatz [D-HI] served in the 112th Congress, they took office within the last two months of the 112th Congress and here are grouped with other freshmen for the 113th Congress.

A higher or lower number below doesn’t necessarily make this legislator any better or worse, or more or less effective, than other Members of Congress. We present these statistics for you to understand the quantitative aspects of Nelson’s legislative career and make your own judgements based on what activities you think are important.

Keep in mind that there are many important aspects of being a legislator besides what can be measured, such as constituent services and performing oversight of the executive branch, which aren’t reflected here.

 

Ideology Score

7th most conservative among Senate Democrats

Our unique ideology analysis assigns a score to Members of Congress according to their legislative behavior by how similar the pattern of bills and resolutions they cosponsor are to other Members of Congress.

For more, see our methodology. Note that because on this page only legislative activity in the 113th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Nelson’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 21st most liberal out of 41
View All
Senate Democrats 7th most conservative out of 53
View All
Serving 10+ Years 27th most liberal out of 54
View All
All Senators 48th most liberal out of 100
View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

10th fewest bills among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

Nelson cosponsored 192 bills and resolutions introduced by other Members of Congress. Cosponsorship shows a willingness to work with others to advance policy goals. View Cosponsored Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 10th fewest bills out of 41 51
375 bills View All
Senate Democrats 15th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 53 95
449 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 16th fewest bills out of 54 51
375 bills View All
All Senators 33rd fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 51
449 bills View All
 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

13th most bipartisan among Senate Democrats

In this era of partisanship, it is encouraging to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. Of the 192 bills that Nelson cosponsored, 26% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 18th least bipartisan out of 40 14
70% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 23rd least bipartisan out of 53 14
70% of bills View All
Senate Democrats 13th most bipartisan out of 53 12
48% of bills View All
All Senators 44th least bipartisan out of 98 12
70% of bills View All

Only Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who cosponsored more than 10 bills and resolutions are included in this statistic.

 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

13th highest % of bills among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

In this era of partisanship, it is encouraging to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 36% of Nelson’s 44 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 113th Congress.

compared to... rank lowest % of bills ⇢ highest % of bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 13th highest % of bills out of 35 8
57% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 19th highest % of bills out of 49 8
61% of bills View All
Senate Democrats 22nd highest % of bills out of 51 8
65% of bills View All
All Senators 34th highest % of bills out of 90 5
65% of bills View All

Only Members of Congress who sponsored more than 10 bills and resolutions are included in this statistic.

 

Bills Out of Committee

17th most bills among All Senators; tied with 3 others

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Nelson introduced 10 bills in the 113th Congress that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further consideration.

Those bills were: S. 429: Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education, ...; S. 839: Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act ...; S. 1104: Assessing Progress in Haiti Act ...; S. 1254: Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia ...; S. 1262: Veterans Conservation Corps Act of ...; S. 1317: National Aeronautics and Space Administration ...; S. 1774: Undetectable Firearms Reauthorization Act of ...; S. 2581: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act ...; S.Res. 12: A resolution recognizing the third ...; S.Res. 312: A resolution urging the Government ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 12th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 41 0
30 bills View All
Senate Democrats 13th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 53 0
30 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 13th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 54 0
30 bills View All
All Senators 17th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 100 0
30 bills View All
 

Laws Enacted

18th most bills among All Senators; tied with 18 others

Nelson introduced 2 bills that became law in the 113th Congress. Keep in mind that it takes a law to repeal a law. Very few bills ever become law. View Enacted Bills »

Those bills were: S. 1104: Assessing Progress in Haiti Act ...; S. 1254: Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 11th most bills (tied w/ 11) out of 41 0
7 laws View All
Senate Democrats 11th most bills (tied w/ 11) out of 53 0
7 laws View All
Serving 10+ Years 12th most bills (tied w/ 12) out of 54 0
7 laws View All
All Senators 18th most bills (tied w/ 18) out of 100 0
7 laws View All

A bill or joint resolution is considered enacted if it or an exactly identical bill to it is enacted as law. We only consider bills that the legislator was the primary sponsor of. While a legislator may lay claim to authoring other bills that became law, such as through incorporation into larger bills, these cases are difficult for us to track quantitatively.

 

Working with the House

25th most bills among All Senators; tied with 5 others

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 12 of Nelson’s bills and resolutions had a companion bill in the House. Working with a sponsor in the other chamber makes a bill more likely to be passed by both the House and Senate.

Those bills were: S. 220: Citrus Disease Research and Development ...; S. 397: Lena Horne Recognition Act; S. 414: Everglades for the Next Generation ...; S. 647: No Stolen Trademarks Honored in ...; S. 772: Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small ...; S. 855: CDBG Public Services Flexibility Act ...; S. 1365: Part D Beneficiary Appeals Fairness ...; S. 1672: Special Needs Trust Fairness Act ...; S. 2361: Stop Schemes and Crimes Against ...; S. 2581: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act ...; S. 2861: A bill to authorize the ...; S.Res. 312: A resolution urging the Government ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 11th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 41 0
25 bills View All
Senate Democrats 19th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 53 0
32 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 16th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 54 0
25 bills View All
All Senators 25th most bills (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
32 bills View All

Companion bills are those that are identified as “identical” by Congress’s Congressional Research Service.

 

Leadership Score

31st best score among All Senators

Our unique leadership analysis looks at who is cosponsoring whose bills. A higher score shows a greater ability to get cosponsors on bills.

For more, see our methodology. Note that because on this page only legislative activity in the 113th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Nelson’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 15th best score out of 41
View All
Senate Democrats 23rd best score out of 53
View All
Serving 10+ Years 22nd best score out of 54
View All
All Senators 31st best score out of 100
View All
 

Bills Introduced

33rd most bills among All Senators; tied with 1 other

Nelson introduced 44 bills and resolutions in the 113th Congress. View Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 17th most bills out of 41 7
107 bills View All
Senate Democrats 26th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 53 9
107 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 23rd most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 54 7
107 bills View All
All Senators 33rd most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 7
107 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

36th most absent among All Senators; tied with 2 others

Nelson missed 2.9% of votes (19 of 657 votes) in the 113th Congress. View Nelson’s Profile »

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 17th most absent (tied w/ 1) out of 41 0
20% missed votes View All
Serving 10+ Years 22nd most absent (tied w/ 1) out of 54 0
17% missed votes View All
All Senators 36th most absent (tied w/ 2) out of 100 0
20% missed votes View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

34th most bills among All Senators; tied with 8 others

5 of Nelson’s bills and resolutions in the 113th Congress had a cosponsor who was a chair or ranking member of a committee that the bill was referred to. Getting support from committee leaders on relevant committees is a crucial step in moving legislation forward.

Those bills were: S. 839: Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act ...; S. 1254: Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia ...; S. 1317: National Aeronautics and Space Administration ...; S. 1753: A bill to extend Government ...; S. 2581: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 16th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 41 0
20 bills View All
Senate Democrats 24th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 53 0
20 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 22nd most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 54 0
20 bills View All
All Senators 34th most bills (tied w/ 8) out of 100 0
20 bills View All
 

Cosponsors

38th most cosponsors among All Senators

Nelson’s bills and resolutions had 254 cosponsors in the 113th Congress. Securing cosponsors is an important part of getting support for a bill, although having more cosponsors does not always mean a bill will get a vote. View Bills »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 17th most cosponsors out of 41 9
894 cosponsors View All
Senate Democrats 25th most cosponsors out of 53 23
894 cosponsors View All
Serving 10+ Years 25th most cosponsors out of 54 9
894 cosponsors View All
All Senators 38th most cosponsors out of 100 9
894 cosponsors View All
 

Committee Positions

Nelson held a leadership position on 1 committee and 1 subcommittee, as either a chair (majority party) or ranking member (minority party), at the end of the session. For comparison to other Members of Congress, we assigned a score giving five points for each full committee leadership position and one point for each subcommittee leadership position. View Nelson’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Senate Democrats 5th highest score (tied w/ 15) out of 53 0
16 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 9th highest score (tied w/ 26) out of 54 0
16 points View All
All Senators 10th highest score (tied w/ 26) out of 100 0
16 points View All
 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Nelson supported any of 8 government transparency bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Nelson 0 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs least supportive along with 15 others out of 41 0
8 points View All
Senate Democrats the least supportive (tied w/ 7) out of 53 0
8 points View All
Serving 10+ Years least supportive along with 19 others out of 54 0
8 points View All
All Senators least supportive along with 34 others out of 100 0
8 points View All

Additional Notes

The Speaker’s Votes: Missed votes are not computed for the Speaker of the House. According to current House rules, the Speaker of the House is not required to vote in “ordinary legislative proceedings.” In practice this means the Speaker of the House rarely votes but is not considered absent.

Leadership/Ideology: The leadership and ideology scores are not displayed for Members of Congress who introduced fewer than 10 bills, or, for ideology, for Members of Congress that have a low leadership score, as there is usually not enough data in these cases to compute reliable leadership and ideology statistics.

Ranking Members (RkMembs): The chair of a committee is always selected from the political party that holds the most seats in the chamber, called the “majority party”. The “ranking member” (sometimes “RkMembs”) is the title given to the senior-most member of the committee not in the majority party.

Freshmen/Sophomores: Freshmen and sophomores are Members of Congress whose first term (in the same chamber at the end of the 113th Congress) was the 113th Congress (freshmen) or 112th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.