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RNC to Bill Nelson: 'What Was the Point' of Government Shutdown?

January 22, 2018 - 3:30pm
Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is drawing criticism for his about-face on shutting down the federal government, with conservative groups questioning why, exactly, the Florida Democrat voted against keeping the government open late Friday evening, all to wave a white flag and vote to reopen federal operations by Monday afternoon.

Nelson, D-Fla., joined 49 other senators to vote against a House-supported continuing resolution to fund the government on Friday evening. The vote was a result of crumbling negotiations over the expiring extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, with Democrats vowing to remain resilient and keep the government closed until a solution was reached.

That evening, Nelson said he opposed continuing resolutions for “national security reasons,” but didn’t once mention DACA, a program which allows young people brought to the United States deferred deportation.

Instead, Nelson slammed short-term budget deals over "national security issues," which Democrats were not using as a rallying cry to close the doors on Capitol Hill.

"These short-term funding bills are hurting our national security and, at some point, we have a responsibility to say enough is enough,” Nelson said, later saying he voted against the CR because of disaster assistance.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee wasted no time pouncing on Nelson, launching a Facebook ad targeting the longtime senator who is one of six U.S. senators who voted against the resolution facing reelection this year.

“Bill Nelson’s vote for the Schumer Shutdown will have serious, real-world consequences for Florida children and seniors, as well as our national security,” NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin said. “When it really mattered, Nelson sided with Washington Democrats instead of Florida, and voters won’t forget in November.”

By Monday afternoon, Nelson and others had a change of heart from “digging their heels in” over DACA and he voted with 80 other senators to end the filibuster and thus reopen the government.

Nelson’s decision drew attention from the national Republican Party, which pondered what Nelson and other Democrats were trying to accomplish during the shutdown. 

“After 3 days of a Schumer Shutdown, only one question remains for Senator Nelson: What was the point?” asked Republican National Committee spokesperson Ellie Hockenbury. 

Gov. Rick Scott, who is widely speculated to be contemplating a run against Nelson, also seemed to hone in on Nelson as just another part of the ongoing “dysfunction” in Washington. 

“In Florida, we pass a balanced budget every year – and now, because of Washington politics, our state agencies will work to ensure that Floridians continue to receive the services they need. Taxpayers deserve better from Washington,” Scott wrote over the weekend. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said Democrats would vote to reopen the government in exchange for negotiations on DACA, but some questioned how effective the Democrats’ strategy was in the long run. 

Nelson, meanwhile, called Monday’s vote a “win for bipartisanship.”

“For days, I've been working with a group of moderate senators to end the shutdown and get a commitment to take up other bills,” he wrote. “As a result, there is now a path forward to help Dreamers, fund the military and provide disaster assistance to Florida.”


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


Bill Nelson: I Always Opposed Offshore Drilling ... Uh, Except When I Didn't


Bill's first response? "What shutdown? I was napping! "

lmao...what else is new....Billly Nelson aka astronaut wannabe...has Been FLIP FLOPPING for his whole Political Life....So dumb he thinks Flip Flopping will get him ReElected at time of dispute of a BILL.....Ha....He Flipped & Lied to Space Shuttle Workers with OpieBama ..and then Voted to Shutdown Defund Program......Years has Changed now...Billy your history just like your Buddy Opie's regulations & executive orders.....

I have never been a big fan of Rick the Health Care Fraud King. But voted for him twice. And will again when he runs against the Python Hunter this fall. Does Billy remind anyone else of the corrupt Senator from Nevada in the "Godfather" movie? In the movie the character played the real life Pat McCarron, a pondscum sucker so far up the Mobs ass that rumor has it Jimmy Hoffa was shoved up behind him years later. Bill Nelson? Time to go.

Can't you people see yet that "Zippy Nelson" is STILL "spaced out", and never was the same after his "out in space ride-along visit". Nelson is an "automaton" who gets "marching orders" every morning from "Plugs Schumer", along with a daily list of "talking points" to repeat in the event someone who doesn't know him asks him a hard question. In THIS particular case, "Shutdown Schumer" saw the futility of "slapping the electorate" and did a "turnaround" with a note to Nelson: "Follow me Zippy !"

It's been time for Nelson to be gone, for a while. Now, it's more evident to me and should be for others. Nelson is not on Team Florida, he's on Team Nelson an Team Democrat. Apparently, that is more important than the voters. There will be changes this year, I will help make that happen. You can take that to the bank, Mary

I'm with ya, Mary. Let's get it done!

He is up for re-election. The VOTERS should limit his tenure in D.C.

A taste of GOP backroom, thug politics, from the Democrat side. More to come. Wait until we see what happens in March when the "debt ceiling" is reached. You "ain't seen nuthin yet".

"change of heart" = better get back in line before the voters hand me my head...

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