Foreign Policy for America Releases Biden Administration Commitment Tracker

June 28, 2021

Foreign Policy for America Releases Biden Administration Commitment Tracker

Washington, DC – Today, Foreign Policy for America debuted a Biden Commitment Tracker – a new feature on our website designed to track President Biden’s foreign policy commitments and promote accountability. The Commitment Tracker, created in collaboration with members of FP4A’s NextGen initiative, identifies 109 promises made by the Biden campaign across 20 key foreign policy issue areas and monitors progress made against each commitment.

Foreign Policy for America recognizes that fundamentally resetting U.S. foreign policy will take time, and that many of President Biden’s commitments require actions from Congress or other nations to be fully realized. However, nearly six months in, it is important take stock of the Biden administration’s performance in relation to the President’s campaign promises. Our goal is to hold the President accountable to his own commitments, and as part of that effort we will regularly update the tracker to reflect both important progress and promises broken.

To date, the Biden administration has made significant progress in achieving its agenda. Of the 109 commitments made, we have identified 22 promises as being kept and 46 areas where work is in progress to follow through on a promise.

However, there has been no progress in publicly available data on 17 of its commitments, and for 24 additional promises it is simply too early to tell. No promise can yet be labeled as broken, but there are concerning signs in some areas and we will continue to monitor each issue closely.

“We endorsed President Biden and we continue to support him and his administration, but we also believe it’s important to hold your friends accountable and that’s what we intend to do,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “We will continue to push the administration, together with our members, to achieve every one of these goals that President Biden laid out – from ending the war in Yemen, to rejoining the Paris agreement, to restoring the historic U.S. tradition of welcoming refugees fleeing war and asylum seekers. We hope the Commitment Tracker will be a useful tool for our membership, for journalists, and for lawmakers to closely monitor the work the Biden administration’s efforts on these 20 issues.”

One area where we saw significant progress is global health. Amidst a historic global health emergency, the administration moved quickly to make good on promises to halt efforts to withdraw from the World Health Organization, restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and rescind the harmful Mexico City Policy (Global Gag Rule) which placed significant restrictions on doctors and patients receiving U.S. aid.

An area of greater concern is refugee policy. In response to the short-sighted decisions of the Trump administration, President Biden pledged to increase the global annual refugee admissions target to 125,000, while seeking to further increase the limit over time. While President Biden signed an executive order in February 2021 to rebuild the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), he initially failed to increase the Trump administration’s historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for fiscal year 2021. Following pressure from supporters, including many leaders from within the FP4A community, President Biden revised the annual refugee cap to 62,500 for FY21, acknowledging that although the U.S. will likely not achieve that number this year it “reflects my commitment to the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions in the first fiscal year of my presidency.” President Biden also pledged to work with Congress to formalize an annual minimum refugee admissions number of 95,000, and we have yet to see any visible progress toward achieving that goal.

“With the many pledges candidates make on the campaign trail, key foreign policy promises can quickly fade from view once a president takes office—especially when the urgent crowds out the important,” said Raleigh Browne, FP4A NextGen member. “The Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran on a revived nuclear deal, for example, represent important progress, but they are just a start. Foreign Policy for America’s commitment tracker will help keep longer-term goals in view, not only marking President Biden on whether promises are ‘kept’ or ‘broken,’ but tracing whether his administration is taking steps to make good on his foreign policy commitments.”