Bill Nelson on Foreign Policy
Democratic Sr Senator (FL)
Keep the Cuban embargo, but let family members travel
On Cuba policy, Mack said any loosening of the U.S. embargo would "pad the pockets of the Castro brothers.'' The embargo will be lifted when the country has free, Democratic elections, free speech
and releases political prisoners, he said.
Nelson said the embargo shouldn't be lifted, but that family members should be allowed to travel and take remittances with them.
Source: Sun-Sentinel coverage of 2012 Florida Senate debate
, Oct 16, 2012
Diplomacy first with N.Korea; keep military option on table
Q: How far are you willing to go to confront North Korea?
NELSON: The US has got to do everything possible to stop the continued nuclear program, through diplomacy particularly via China and South Korea. North Korea doesn’t have a missile that is a
threat to us at this point, but they can peddle those nuclear weapons. You put that in the hands of terrorist groups, and we have a whole new destabilization of the world. So at the end of the day the US has got to be successful.
HARRIS: Clearly, nuclear North Korea would be a danger to us. We will not negotiate bilaterally with terrorists. The former administration did so, and it was a failed strategy.
Q: At what point should we consider a military option?
NELSON: We don’t want to have to use that option, because they have a million-man army. You do want to keep it on the table.
HARRIS: If the sanctions fail and none of the economic issue work, the final military option would be at stake.
Source: FL 2006 Senate Debate moderated by PBS’ Linda O’Brien
, Oct 23, 2006
Get State Dept. to do more for Holocaust victims
At the urging of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, Colin Powell, nominee for secretary of state, said today he’ll “immediately look at the welfare” of the government’s office for aiding Holocaust victims if confirmed to head the State Department.
“We dragged them kicking and screaming to set up a Holocaust commission,” Nelson said of his and the efforts of an international task force to recover from big insurers unpaid
World War II-era policies. “And there was a lot more than just insurance still owed to victims.”
In fact, jewelry, art and other property plundered by Nazi Germany weren’t returned to Holocaust victims, a presidential commission
reported this week. The report was part of an unprecedented half-decade campaign to re-examine what happened in the Holocaust, and recalculate what’s owed to survivors.
Source: Press Release, “Holocaust Office”
, Jan 17, 2001
Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
- Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
- Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
- any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement;
; vote number 2008-S211
on Oct 1, 2008
Voted YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe.
H.R. 3167; Gerald B. H. Solomon Freedom Consolidation Act of 2001, To endorse the vision of further enlargement of the NATO Alliance. Vote to pass a bill that would support further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, authorize military assistance to several eastern European countries and lift assistance restrictions on Slovakia.
; vote number 2002-116
on May 17, 2002
Progressive Internationalism: globalize with US pre-eminence.
Nelson adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Build a Public Consensus Supporting US Global Leadership
The internationalist outlook that served America and the world so well during the second half of the 20th century is under attack from both ends of the political spectrum. As the left has gravitated toward protectionism, many on the right have reverted to “America First” isolationism.
Our leaders should articulate a progressive internationalism based on the new realities of the Information Age: globalization, democracy, American pre-eminence, and the rise of a new array of threats ranging from regional and ethnic conflicts to the spread of missiles and biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. This approach recognizes the need to revamp, while continuing to rely on, multilateral alliances that advance U.S. values and interests.
A strong, technologically superior defense is the foundation for US global leadership. Yet the US continues to employ defense strategies, military missions, and force
structures left over from the Cold War, creating a defense establishment that is ill-prepared to meet new threats to our security. The US must speed up the “revolution in military affairs” that uses our technological advantage to project force in many different contingencies involving uncertain and rapidly changing security threats -- including terrorism and information warfare.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC12 on Aug 1, 2000
- A clear national policy with bipartisan support that continues US global leadership, adjusts our alliances to new regional threats to peace and security, promotes the spread of political and economic freedom, and outlines where and how we are willing to use force.
- A modernized military equipped to deal with emerging threats to security, such as terrorism, information warfare, weapons of mass destruction, and destabilizing regional conflicts.
Impose sanctions and an import ban on Burma.
Nelson co-sponsored imposing sanctions and an import ban on Burma
A bill to impose sanctions on officials of the State Peace and Development Council in Burma, to prohibit the importation of gemstones and hardwoods from Burma, & to promote a coordinated international effort to restore civilian democratic rule to Burma.
(The two Senate versions currently differ in wording). The Saffron Revolution Support Act states that it is U.S. policy to:
Directs the President to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of:
- support the democratic aspirations of Burma's people;
- condemn the repression carried out by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); and
- hold accountable individuals responsible for the repression of peaceful political activity in Burma.
- SPDC officials who play or have played a substantial role in political repression in Burma or in the commission of human rights abuses;
- Subjects persons so identified to U.S. entry prohibition and financial sanctions.
- Amends the
Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 to prohibit the importation into the US of Burmese gems, teak, or other hardwood timber.
- Prohibits any U.S. person or corporation from investing in Burma.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. McCAIN. The world has reacted with horror and revulsion at the Burmese junta's recent brutal crackdown against peaceful demonstrators. In crushing the Saffron Revolution, killing hundreds and jailing thousands, including countless Buddhist monks, the junta has left no doubt about its blatant disregard for basic human decency. We, as Americans, stand on the side of freedom, not fear; of peace, not violence; and of the millions in Burma who aspire to a better life, not those who would keep them isolated and oppressed. Our response must go beyond statements of condemnation, and the time to act is now. This legislation imposes meaningful and effective punitive action against the cruel, thuggish, and illegitimate Burmese government.
Source: Burma Democracy Promotion Act (S.2257 & S.2172) 07-S2257 on Oct 29, 2007
Rated 0 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record.
Nelson scores 0 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012
- S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
- S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
- S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
- S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a
negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
- S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
- S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
- S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
- S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
- S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
- S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Vigorous support for State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.
Nelson co-sponsored Resolution for Israeli Self-Defense
RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:
- Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;
- Whereas Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
- Whereas terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year, an increase from roughly 675 attacks in 2011 and 350 in 2010;
- Whereas Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self defense in the face of terrorist attacks:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress:
Source: SR599/HR813 12-SRes599 on Nov 16, 2012
- expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the
State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
- reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
- urges the UN Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
- encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Sponsored funding and supplying the Syrian rebels.
Nelson co-sponsored Free Syria Act
- Authorizes assistance for humanitarian activities taking place in and outside Syria, including post-transition efforts.
- Authorizes assistance to the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) and Free Syrian Army (FSA), including non-lethal equipment and training to vetted members of the FSA.
- Urges the US to develop a plan for securing conventional and unconventional weapons in Syria and preventing their illicit sale or transfer out of Syria.
Proponent's argument for bill:(by United Free Syria organization): House of Representatives: Free Syria Act (HR.1327):
- Provides funding & other assistance for a peaceful, stable, and organized political transition to a democratic, inclusive government structure, as well as robust economic aid for rebuilding.
- Permits securing and destroying chemical & biological weapons in Syria.
- Increases humanitarian aid dramatically, and also provides for conditional, limited arming
of moderate vetted opposition forces
Senate: Syria Democratic Transition Act (S.617):The House bill would set up a framework under which the Obama administration could deploy anti-aircraft systems to help the rebels fight off the Syrian regime's attacks from above, and assist a post-Assad transition by using sanctions relief and loans from international financial institutions to support a new transitional government. "We believe there are credible options at your disposal, including limited military options, that would require neither putting US troops on the ground nor acting unilaterally," Sens. Levin and McCain wrote. "First, we urge you to lead an effort, together with our friends and allies, to degrade the Assad regime's airpower and to support Turkey if they are willing to establish a safe zone inside of Syria's northern border."
Source: S.617 / H.R.1327 13-S617 on Mar 21, 2013
- Provides funding and humanitarian aid, and also provides for increased non-lethal aid to the Etilaf.
- Increases refugee aid funding
Two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank.
Nelson signed two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank
Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.
- Calls for such resolution to be repealed or fundamentally altered and allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties.
- Notes that granting membership and statehood standing to the Palestinians at the UN, its specialized agencies, and other international institutions outside of the context of a bilateral peace agreement with Israel would cause severe harm to the peace process.
- Urges upholding the U.S. practice of vetoing all Security Council resolutions that recognize unilateral Palestinian actions or dictate terms and a time line for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Reaffirms that it is U.S. policy to seek a sustainable, just, and secure two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.
Source: S.Res.6 & H.Res.11 17-SRes6 on Jan 3, 2017
Urge Venezuela to re-open dissident radio & TV stations.
Nelson co-sponsored urging Venezuela to re-open dissident radio & TV stations
Source: Radio Caracas Resolution (S.RES.211) 2007-SR211 on May 21, 2007
- WHEREAS for several months, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, has been announcing over various media that he will not renew the current concession of the television station "Radio Caracas Televisión", also known as RCTV, which is set to expire on May 27, 2007, because of its adherence to an editorial stance different from his way of thinking;
- WHEREAS President Chavez justifies this measure based on the alleged role RCTV played in the unsuccessful unconstitutional attempts in April 2002 to unseat President Chavez, under circumstances where there exists no filed complaint or judicial sentence that would sustain such a charge under Venezuelan law;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Senate--
- (1) expresses its profound concern about the transgression against freedom of thought and expression that is being committed in Venezuela by the refusal of the President Hugo Chavez to renew the concession of RCTV
- (2) strongly encourages the Organization of American States to respond appropriately, with full consideration of the necessary institutional instruments, to such transgression.
Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.
Nelson signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members
Dear Secretary Rice,
Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007
In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:
- Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peace
- Take visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terror
- Stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
- Recognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions
- End the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its forms
- Pressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps.
Page last updated: Sep 18, 2018