A Letter from Our Executive Director
As we look back on the 115th Congress, I am excited to share with you Foreign Policy for America’s inaugural Congressional Scorecard. Our goal for the scorecard is to empower citizens by shining a spotlight on how members of Congress have voted on key foreign policy issues.
This is a defining time for our country, and Congress has an enormous role to play. Will the United States remain fully engaged in the world, led by diplomats and aid professionals, or become increasingly reliant on our armed forces alone? Will we hide behind walls and bans, or restore America’s historic commitments to openness and the American dream? Will we tackle the world’s most pressing challenges together with our allies, or walk away?
As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently said, “This is an Article I moment, and Congress must measure up.”
We also have our own responsibilities as individuals. A healthy democracy requires an active and informed citizenry. Each of us can do our part by asking our Members of Congress to not only say the right things but to follow those words with actions.
That’s where our scorecard comes in. As you read through this guide, or visit our website at scorecard.FP4America.org, you will find valuable information about how each Member of Congress voted and the degree to which they supported principled American engagement in the world. We hope that information will inspire you to contact your representatives about key pieces of legislation. To help you take action, our website also includes contact information for each Member of Congress and suggestions for what you can say.
So how did we choose the pieces of legislation to score? At the beginning of the 115th Congress we issued a policy agenda covering 20 issues that reflected our values. Those were the issues we planned to carefully track and advocate for in Congress. At the end of the 115th Congress, we convened dozens of experts, including FP4A advisory board members, and looked for the best single indicator to score for each issue in the Senate and the House of Representatives. In some cases, that was a vote. In a few cases, where there wasn’t a relevant vote, we measured bill cosponsorship. Finally, in other areas, there was neither a vote or a bill sponsorship that fit, which means that not every issue was scored. FP4A made the final decisions, and ultimately we scored 13 pieces of legislation in the Senate and 13 in the House.
We hope this scorecard will help you better understand your elected officials’ voting record and will motivate you to take action on issues vital to our future. Foreign Policy for America is building a national network of leaders like you who advocate for strong, principled American foreign policy. By working together, we can make a powerful difference in the years ahead.
All the best,