skip to main content

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.

 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

2nd most bipartisan among 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 »

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Senate Democrats 4th most bipartisan out of 44 20
66% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 2nd most bipartisan out of 46 11
54% of bills View All
All Senators 5th most bipartisan out of 98 11
66% of bills View All

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

 

Ideology Score

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

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Senate Democrats 5th most conservative out of 44
View All
Serving 10+ Years 24th most liberal out of 47
View All
All Senators 43rd most liberal out of 100
View All
 

Leadership Score

5th best score among 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.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Democrats 5th best score out of 44
View All
Serving 10+ Years 12th best score out of 47
View All
All Senators 14th best score out of 100
View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

6th fewest bills among 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 »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 6th fewest bills out of 44 152
479 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 16th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 47 74
426 bills View All
All Senators 33rd fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 74
479 bills View All
 

Bills Out of Committee

10th most bills among Senate Democrats

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Nelson introduced 5 bills in the 114th Congress that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 10th most bills out of 44 0
19 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 24th fewest bills out of 47 0
36 bills View All
All Senators 42nd most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 100 0
36 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

11th most absent among All Senators

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

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Serving 10+ Years 6th most absent out of 47 0
28% missed votes View All
All Senators 11th most absent out of 100 0
32% missed votes View All
 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

10th most bills among Senate Democrats; tied with 2 others

In this era of partisanship, it is encouraging to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 17 of Nelson’s 45 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 10th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 44 3
36 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 15th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 47 0
49 bills View All
All Senators 23rd most bills (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
49 bills View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

13th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 8 others

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 17th fewest bills (tied w/ 5) out of 44 0
15 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 13th fewest bills (tied w/ 8) out of 47 0
19 bills View All
All Senators 41st fewest bills (tied w/ 10) out of 100 0
19 bills View All
 

Cosponsors

18th most cosponsors among 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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Democrats 9th most cosponsors out of 44 73
711 cosponsors View All
Serving 10+ Years 15th most cosponsors out of 47 11
989 cosponsors View All
All Senators 18th most cosponsors out of 100 11
989 cosponsors View All
 

Laws Enacted

15th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 6 others

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 16th most bills (tied w/ 10) out of 44 0
9 View All
Serving 10+ Years 15th fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 47 0
15 View All
All Senators 41st fewest bills (tied w/ 17) out of 100 0
15 View All

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.

 

Working with the House

20th most bills among 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 12th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 44 1
26 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 14th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 47 1
40 bills View All
All Senators 20th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 100 1
40 bills View All

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

 

Government Transparency

29th least supportive among All Senators; tied with 15 others

GovTrack looked at whether Nelson supported any of 22 government transparency 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.

Cosponsored: S. 229: DISCLOSE Act of 2015

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Democrats the least supportive (tied w/ 4) out of 44 1
11 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 14th least supportive (tied w/ 8) out of 47 0
11 points View All
All Senators 29th least supportive (tied w/ 15) out of 100 0
11 points View All
 

Bills Introduced

39th most bills among All Senators; tied with 3 others

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

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 20th most bills out of 44 18
87 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 22nd most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 47 8
140 bills View All
All Senators 39th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 100 8
140 bills 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 4th highest score (tied w/ 14) out of 44 0
12 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 8th highest score (tied w/ 22) out of 47 0
12 points View All
All Senators 10th highest score (tied w/ 24) out of 100 0
16 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 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.