Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Florida News

US Senator Bill NelsonU.S. Senator Bill Nelson - Update
May 25, 2011

Oil Subsidies & Offshore Drilling Vote 

Senator Nelson voted in favor of S.940, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, on which he was an original cosponsor.

By a margin of 52-48 the vote failed to reach the 60 votes needed to proceed. The bill would have put an end to taxpayer handouts to the 5 largest oil companies, which are making record $1 trillion profits and would have used the savings to help reduce the deficit.

In a related vote, Sen Nelson voted against the Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011, S.953, which also failed to reach the necessary votes. The bill would have forced the lease sales of critical areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast off Virginia and would have automatically issued drilling permits on applications where no decision is made within 60 days.

Simplifying Taxes for Seniors

For more information
Lynn Bannister: Director of Outreach
111 North Adams St
Tallahassee, FL  32301
850-942-8415 / 850-942-8450 (fax)

Last week, Senators Nelson and Rubio introduced the Seniors Tax Simplification Act (S.1006), a bill that would simplify the tax filing process for seniors receiving Social Security benefits, as well as dividends, capital gains, and interest.

Currently seniors cannot file the one-page 1040EZ form because it does not include a line for pension and Social Security income. This bill would create a new, streamlined form that would be specifically designed to report retirement income, including pension and Social Security income.

The bill is pending before the Senate Finance Committee.

Space Exploration’s Contributions to National Imperatives

Senator Nelson chaired a hearing that considered the economic and strategic importance of the U.S. space industry.

Testimony included an analysis of current national spending on space and space-enabling technologies; current international trends in funding for space endeavors; and the impacts of changing federal policies on the U.S. space industrial base. The hearing provided members an opportunity to more accurately understand the economic benefits of space, how it affects broader U.S. goals and priorities, and the options for avoiding the loss of U.S. leadership in space.

Preventing Drilling off Cuba’s Shores

Senator Nelson wrote Secretary of State Clinton expressing grave concern about drilling off the coast of Cuba, which would threaten Florida’s environment and U.S. national interest. Senator Nelson has been active in preventing drilling in the Cuban basin. The letter urges Secretary Clinton to raise this crucial issue with her counterparts in the Spanish government and impress upon them the urgency of the situation.

Everglades Restoration Letters

Last week, Senator Nelson sent two letters regarding Everglades restoration.

In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Senator Nelson invited Secretary LaHood to visit the Tamiami Trail bridge construction with him and asked for the Department of Transportation’s expertise during the second phase of the bridge planning and construction.

Senator Nelson also wrote to Governor Scott, expressing the need for a strong partnership between the federal government and the state of Florida as Everglades restoration projects continue and the economic and environmental importance that continued funding will provide.

Burn Pits Update

Senator Nelson and Senator Schumer sent letters to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen to request an immediate update on the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) promise to issue safety masks to troops serving at or near toxic burn pits overseas.

The letter follows up on a self-imposed DoD sixty-day timetable to promote the use of masks at toxic burn pits. The senators were informed that U.S. Central Command, which has purview over Iraq and Afghanistan, has issued guidance that will provide DoD personnel supporting burn pit operations access to protective respiratory equipment. The guidance also calls for evaluation of burn pit locations and safety training for burn pit operators.

Jewish Chaplains Recognized at Arlington Cemetery

Senator Nelson cosponsored S. Con. Res. 4 to create a marker at Arlington National Cemetery to honor Jewish chaplains who died on active duty. The marker will be paid for using private funds, and will list the 13 Jewish chaplains who have died while on active duty in the Armed Forces.

Combatting IEDs

Senator Nelson signed a letter to Secretary Clinton urging her to raise the issue of ammonium nitrate produced in Pakistan with her Pakistani counterparts. The letter urges the Pakistani government to stem the flow of ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan, where it is used to create Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). IEDs are the number one cause of fatalities and injuries to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Defending Taiwan

Senator Nelson cosigned a bipartisan letter to President Obama expressing serious concern about military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait and recommending that the Administration move quickly to notify Congress of the sale of 66 F-16 C/D aircraft to Taiwan to correct the imbalance.

Intelligence Authorization Act

By unanimous consent, the Senate passed H.R.754, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.