E. Benjamin Nelson

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U.S. Senator

E. Benjamin Nelson




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the NE-Senate Class I Seat:
(Next election: 6 November 2012)

Confirmed: None so far
Considering: None so far
Rumored: None so far
Potential: None so far
Dropped-out: None so far
(more info and editing for the NE-Senate Class I Seat)
On the Web
Official website
Earl Benjamin Nelson a Democrat, is currently the junior Senator from Nebraska. He was first elected in 2000.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

Click through the score to see the records of other members of Congress and full descriptions of the individual votes.

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union not avail. not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action not avail. not avail.
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce not avail. not avail.

Iraq War

Nelson voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

In March 2007, it was revealed that Sens. Nelson and John Warner (R-Va.) had been discussing the possibility of breaking ranks and coming up with a compromise piece of legislation regarding the President's plan for a troop "surge" in Iraq and the over $120 billion Iraq War spending bill.

Main article: Congressional actions regarding President Bush’s 2007 proposed troop “surge” in Iraq

On March 15, Nelson was one of two Democratic Senators who voted against a joint resolution to revise U.S. policy in Iraq. The measure failed 48-50.

Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007 (H.R.1591)
For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Gang of 14

On May 23, 2005, Nelson was one of fourteen Senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial Filibuster, thus blocking the Republican leadership's attempt to implement the so-called "Nuclear option". Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster one of President Bush's judicial nominees only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and the three most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William H. Pryor, Jr.) would receive a vote by the full Senate. Subsequently, he was the only Democratic senator to vote in favor of Brown; he was later the first Democratic senator to support Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Vote against stem cell bill

Nelson was one of two Democrats in the Senate who voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 which would have lifted restrictions on stem cell research. It passed the Senate in a vote of 63-34. It was later vetoed by President George W. Bush. The other Senator was Bob Casey (D- PA).[1]

Main article: U.S. federal stem cell legislation#Senate

Vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General

Nelson was one of six Democrats to vote in favor of confirming Michael Mukasey as Attorney General. The controversial vote's final tally was 53-40 in favor of confirmation. [2]



Nelson was born May 17, 1941 in McCook, Nebraska. Nelson earned a BA (1963), Master's degree (1965), and Juris JD (1970) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was an attorney and insurance executive before being elected governor as a in 1990, and was easily reelected in 1994. During his first race for governor, he ran against Kay A. Orr.

Nelson left the governor's office in 1999 after two terms. Instead he ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1996 but was defeated by Republican Chuck Hagel. He ran again in 2000 after incumbent Bob Kerrey, announced his retirement. Nelson won with 51% of the vote.

Senate Career

Nelson is among the leading conservative Democrats in the Senate. Nebraska has traditionally been a conservative state and Nelson's relatively conservative record has resulted in high approval ratings.

He voted twice, with three other Democrats, to end Senate debate over President Bush's United Nations Ambassador nominee John Bolton. He was one of only two Democratic senators to vote against the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. Nelson supports eliminating the estate tax and voted in favor of both the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. He has voted with Republicans on matters of bankruptcy reform, environmental protection, lawsuit reform, and trade. He opposes most gun control laws and supports expanding use of the federal death penalty. He was one of only three Democratic senators to vote to invoke cloture on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Nelson has also voted against increasing funds for Head Start and energy assistance for people with low incomes. Votes such as these have often placed Nelson, perceived by most political observers as a moderate conservative, at odds with the leadership of his party. Democratic Party Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said that Nelson is probably the most conservative Democrat in the entire Senate caucus [1] [2].

Nelson is one of several Democrats in the Senate with a pro-life voting record. Nelson is a member of the Democrats for Life of America, a national organization for pro-life members of the Democratic party that advocates a 95% reduction in the number of abortions performed over the next 10 years. Nelson has also opposed legislation put forth by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that aimed to reduce the number of abortions by making sex education and contraceptives more available, putting Nelson in the same column as many conservative Republicans.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Pete Ricketts to face Nelson in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [3] Nelson retained his seat.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for E. Benjamin Nelson
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Involvement in Science Policy

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education



“Ben Nelson on Energy and Oil”

Senator Nelson’s stances on various issues are included at the ontheissues.org website.
Included in his stances on energy and oil policy are his votes on various related legislation. Nelson has voted in the past for legislation calling for decreased oil dependence and in support of clean energy technologies.

"Science policy tracking by Christopher Ince Jr, SEA National Security Intern"


“Ben Nelson: Cap-and-trade will not pass this Congress”
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/65615-ben-nelson-cap-and-trade-will-not-pass-this-congress October 30, 2009

Late in 2009, Senator Nelson responded to questions on whether he thought the cap-and-trade bills on climate change will pass Congress. He responded that they would not, stating that, “…I haven't been able to sell that argument to my farmers, and I don't think they're going to buy it from anybody else. I think at the end of the day, the people who turn the switch on at home will be disadvantaged." Nelson’s view on the cap-and-trade bills has put him at odds with other Democratic party leaders on climate change policy

"Science policy tracking by Christopher Ince Jr, SEA National Security Intern"



“Health Care Breakthrough: Ben Nelson Will Vote for Health Reform “

Earlier in 2010, before its passing, Senator Nelson publicly announced his intention to vote for health care reform. Nelson is quoted as saying, "I believe this legislation will stand the test of time and will be noted as one of the major reforms of the 21s century. Lives will be saved and our health care system will reflect the better nature of our country.”

“Health Care Reform”

On his Senate web site, Senator Nelson gives his views on the health care reform bill. It also announces his whistle-blowing efforts on a $35 billion unfunded federal mandate on Medicare in health reform legislation. Additionally, Nelson’s page recounts his efforts along with Senators Orrin Hatch and Robert Casey to extend the ban on federal funding for abortions.

"Science policy tracking by Christopher Ince Jr, SEA National Security Intern"


Research and Development (R&D)

“Ben Nelson says earmarks vital for Nebraska “
http://journalstar.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_192af2c6-678d-11df-ba5b-001cc4c002e0.html May 24, 2010

Defending his efforts to obtain earmarks in federal funding for Nebraska projects, Senator Nelson said to Nebraskans this spring that he will, “…make sure that some of the tax dollars you send to Washington are returned to your state for worthwhile projects here." Some of the earmarks include $60.6 million in funding for Department of Agriculture research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Innovation Campus. Some of the projects funded by the earmarks include energy and water development projects and health and children’s services.

"Science policy tracking by Christopher Ince Jr, SEA National Security Intern"

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on E. Benjamin Nelson. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 720 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-6551 Fax: 202-228-0012
    Webform email
District offices
  • 287 Denny Federal Building, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, NE 68508
    Ph: 402-441-4600 Fax: (none entered)
  • 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 205, Omaha, NE 68114
    Ph: 402-391-3411 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and resources


See also


Local blogs and discussion sites

Semantic data (Edit data)