Sen. Bill Nelson: A Lesson in Civics 101

By July 26, 2006Energy

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), longtime foe of tapping US resources off of the Florida coast (even though it’s way past the sight line and you can’t “spill” natural gas), now sees the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act inching slowly toward passage. He appeared at first to be on board with the bill, but has now tossed up a new roadblock, one that should mystify anyone who has taken a basics civics course.

Sen. Nelson’s latest gambit is his effort to seek assurances (not sure from whom) that the Senate bill — if it passes — will not be conferenced or compromised with the more expansive House bill — which they all get a chance to vote on again anyway. Even the lefty St. Petersburg (that’s Florida, not Russia) Times ran a story about it under the headline, “Nelson makes unusual request for bill.” We guess so.

So in the interest of Sen. Bill Nelson’s continuing education (we don’t want anyone to confuse him with Sen. Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, who actually understands the legislative process), we present a link to this site that describes how a bill becomes law. See, one chamber passes their bill, the other chamber passes their bill and then — see step “D” in the attached link — it goes to Conference to work out the differences. For 200+ years it has worked this way even though for 200+ years, every sponsor of every bill would like to have their bill become law just the way they wrote it. Would that it were so.

Welcome to the world of legislation, Sen. Nelson. Welcome to the world of compromise.

Click here if you want to drop him a note.