Last week, Senators Rubio and Nelson spoke with FOX 13 about the “Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act,” a bill they introduced in the Senate which would simplify tax filing requirements for seniors.Idealogically Divided, Rubio and Nelson Team Up On Key State Issues
By Ledyard King
Gannett Washington Bureau
March 11, 2013
It might seem odd that the same state that elected Rubio, a conservative darling of the tea party, by a wide margin in 2010 would turn around two years later to overwhelmingly re-elect Nelson, one of the Senate’s staunchest supporters of President Barack Obama’s agenda.
But it shouldn’t, said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
“Florida is still the most divided state in the country,” she said referring to whisker-thin margins in recent presidential and gubernatorial contests.
A mid-term election cycle (2010) tends to attract a less diverse, more conservative electorate than a presidential one, and Rubio ran in a year when many GOP congressional candidates were swept into office. Fewer than half of Florida’s registered voters — 49 percent — turned out for the general election that year, according to state records.
Nelson won Florida in a year (2012) when Obama carried the state, albeit narrowly, and nearly three of every four voters — 72 percent — cast a ballot in November.
“A lot of it has to do with the composition of the electorate,” MacManus said. “But it really isn’t surprising that once they got to Washington, they would have very different views on the role of government and have voted accordingly.”
Partisanship aside, Nelson and Rubio say they team up when it comes to issues of strategic interest to their home state.
They and their staffs cooperate on judicial appointments, service academy nominations and constituent service. They both promote measures aimed at helping key industries in the state, such as tourism, agriculture and space, even if they disagree at times on the role the federal government should play.
On Tuesday, they gave a rare joint interview to tout a bill they co-sponsored that would simplify tax filing requirements for seniors, a key Florida constituency. The Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act would create a new 1040SR form for seniors to enable easier filing for income stemming from Social Security benefits, retirement plans, annuities, dividends, capital gains and interest.
In a town that revolves around conflict, Nelson said it shows that he and Rubio are more united than divided.
“Certainly there’s no personal conflict between the two of us,” Nelson said. “We do so much together that you’d never see that if you didn’t have a good personal relationship, it would be miserable.”
Read the full article here.