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Sen. Bill Nelson’s 2016 Report Card

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


These special statistics cover Nelson’s record during the 114th Congress (Jan 6, 2015-Jan 3, 2017) and compare him to other senators also serving at the end of the session. Last updated on Aug 24, 2017. The statistics were updated on Jan 20, 2017 and Aug 24, 2017 to improve how we counted enacted laws. Originally published on Jan 7, 2017.

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.

 

Joined bipartisan bills the 2nd most often compared to Serving 10+ Years

In this era of partisanship, it is encouraging to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. Of the 215 bills that Nelson cosponsored, 53% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (91st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (96th percentile); All Senators (95th percentile).

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


 

Ranked 5th most conservative compared to 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 114th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Nelson’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (89th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (49th percentile); All Senators (42nd percentile).


 

Ranked the 5th top leader compared to Senate Democrats

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 114th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Nelson’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (89th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (74th percentile); All Senators (86th percentile).


 

Cosponsored the 6th fewest bills compared to Senate Democrats

Nelson cosponsored 215 bills and resolutions introduced by other Members of Congress. Cosponsorship shows a willingness to work with others to advance policy goals. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (11th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (32nd percentile); All Senators (32nd percentile).


 

Got their bills out of committee the 10th most often compared to Senate Democrats

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Nelson introduced 5 bills in the 114th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 142: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act ...; S. 3038: Coastal Coordination Act of 2016; S. 3099: Access for Sportfishing Act of ...; S.Res. 99: A resolution calling on the ...; S.Con.Res. 46: A concurrent resolution expressing support ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (77th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (49th percentile); All Senators (55th percentile).


 

Was 11th most absent in votes compared to All Senators

Nelson missed 6.4% of votes (32 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Nelson’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (87th percentile); All Senators (89th percentile).


 

Got the 18th most cosponsors on their bills compared to All Senators

Nelson’s bills and resolutions had 435 cosponsors in the 114th 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 »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (80th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (68th percentile); All Senators (82nd percentile).


 

Got bicameral support on the 20th most bills compared to All Senators (tied with 4 others)

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 17 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. 120: A bill to amend the ...; S. 142: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act ...; S. 441: Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small ...; S. 693: Lena Horne Recognition Act; S. 757: No Stolen Trademarks Honored in ...; S. 1083: Medicare Drug Savings Act of ...; S. 1171: Seismic Moratorium Act; S. 2346: Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act; S. 2481: Everglades for the Next Generation ...; S. 2671: Advancing Medical Resident Training in ...; S. 3058: A bill to require that ...; S. 3219: Housing Accountability Act of 2016; S. 3374: Fishing Equipment Tax Relief Act ...; S. 3418: Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of ...; S.Res. 99: A resolution calling on the ...; S.Res. 496: A resolution condemning the terrorist ...; S.Con.Res. 39: A concurrent resolution honoring the ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (68th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (68th percentile); All Senators (76th percentile).

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


 

Powerful Cosponsors

4 of Nelson’s bills and resolutions in the 114th 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. 2909: CAPTIVE Act; S. 2957: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative ...; S.Res. 199: A resolution expressing the sense ...; S.Con.Res. 36: A concurrent resolution expressing support ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (36th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (26th percentile); All Senators (40th percentile).


 

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. View Nelson’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (59th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (36th percentile); All Senators (66th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Nelson supported any of 22 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Nelson 1 point, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Nelson cosponsored S. 229: DISCLOSE Act of 2015

Compare to all Senate Democrats (0th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (28th percentile); All Senators (28th percentile).


 

Bills Introduced

Nelson introduced 45 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (55th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (47th percentile); All Senators (58th percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Nelson introduced 2 bills that became law, including via incorporation into other measures, in the 114th 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. 142: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act ...; S. 2957: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (41st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (30th percentile); All Senators (40th percentile).

The legislator must be the primary sponsor of the bill or joint resolution that was enacted or the primary sponsor of a bill or joint resolution for which at least about one third of its text was incorporated into another bill or joint resolution that was enacted as law, as determined by an automated analysis. While a legislator may lay claim to authoring other bills that became law, these cases are difficult for us to track quantitatively. We also exclude bills where the sponsor’s original intent is not in the final bill.


 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

Nelson tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 17 of Nelson’s 45 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (73rd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (62nd percentile); All Senators (72nd percentile).


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.

Missing Bills: We exclude bills from some statistics where the sponsor’s original intent is not in the final bill because the bill’s text was replaced in whole with unrelated provisions (i.e. it became a vehicle for passage of unrelated provisions).

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 114th Congress) was the 114th Congress (freshmen) or 113th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.