It is my pleasure to present Foreign Policy for America (FP4A)’s Legislative Scorecard for the 117th Congress. As a non-partisan organization working to strengthen support for principled American leadership in the world, our hope is that this scorecard serves as a resource to help you better understand your elected officials’ voting record on critical issues.
The 117th Congress confronted some of the most pronounced and challenging foreign policy developments in recent memory, from the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the evacuation of over one hundred thousand Afghans, to the ongoing global response to COVID-19 and its economic aftershocks, to Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine.
In many ways, Congress met the moment, marking a renewal of American global leadership after a costly period of decay and isolation. For the first time in decades, it passed State Department authorization bills—in both 2021 and 2022—taking modest but important steps to strengthen our diplomatic readiness. In May 2022, Congress rose to Ukraine’s defense by delivering the first of several assistance packages. During the Summer of 2022, it passed two pieces of landmark legislation that will speed the energy transition at home, strengthen our climate leadership abroad, and secure critical supply chains.
There were certainly opportunities missed. Foreign Policy for America noted with regret Congress’ failure to make decisive investments in global COVID-19 relief and pandemic preparedness as well as the collapse of the Afghan Adjustment Act in the final hours of the 117th Congress. Lawmakers failed to meaningfully address the increasing disparity be- tween U.S. defense spending and the resources we commit to non-military international engagement. Nonetheless, this Congress will be remembered for making crucial investments in American strength at home and leadership abroad.
Each of these actions and more are detailed in the pages that follow. But how does the Scorecard come together?
Every Congress, FP4A hosts a series of meetings with our Policy Committee—a collection of our Advisory Board members and experts from partner organizations. Following rounds of consultation, debate, and consensus-building among participants, Foreign Policy for America scores Members of Congress on the actions they took that are most representative of their positions on each of the 20 issues in our Legislative Agenda. Whenever possible, we score votes. But, at times, prominent legislation our community tracked and advocated for does not receive a vote. In those cases, we consider and sometimes choose to score cosponsorship of legislation as an alternative. For some issues, there are no measures we can reasonably score. Ultimately, FP4A evaluated a series of measures—15 in the House and 9 in the Senate—with an eye toward keeping Americans safe and out of conflicts, delivering shared prosperity, and holding fast to our highest values as a country.
On behalf of everyone at Foreign Policy for America, I want to thank you for joining us in this work. Our experience over these last six years makes clear that by joining together and raising our voices, we can shift the playing field in favor of our values, deliver results for Americans, and promote a more just, sustainable, and secure world. We look forward to continuing that work together with you in the years ahead.
Foreign Policy for America