Monday, March 30th, 2015

Tracking politicians' promises

The Obameter

Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

GOP Pledge-O-Meter

Tracking the promises of the GOP Leadership in Congress

Promises we’ve rated recently

Sign a "universal" health care bill

The Promise:

"I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president ... ."


Update March 25th, 2015: 5 years later, Medicaid opt-outs create holes in ‘universal’ bill

Support network neutrality on the Internet

The Promise:

"Support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet."


Update February 26th, 2015: FCC approves Obama's net neutrality proposal

Create a tax credit of $500 for workers

The Promise:

Enact a Making Work Pay tax credit that would equal 6.2 percent of up to $8,100 of earnings (yielding a maximum credit of approximately $500). Indexed for inflation.


Update January 20th, 2015: Obama announces new $500 tax credit for two-earner households

Increase the capital gains and dividends taxes for higher-income taxpayers

The Promise:

Increase capital gains and dividends taxes from 15 to 20 percent for those making more than $250,000 (couples) or $200,000 (single)


Update January 20th, 2015: Obama wants higher tax rate on capital gains and tax rates

Require automatic enrollment in IRA plans

The Promise:

Require employers who do not offer retirement plans to offer their workers access to automatic IRAs and contribute via payroll deduction.


Update January 20th, 2015: Obama again pushes for IRA automatic enrollment

End the war in Afghanistan in 2014

The Promise:

"President Obama responsibly ended the war in Iraq and will end the war in Afghanistan in 2014."


Update December 29th, 2014: Combat mission in Afghanistan ends

Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba

The Promise:

"Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. Accordingly, as president, Obama will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island."

Update December 18th, 2014: Historic agreement expands visiting rights and more

Make the Veterans Administration a national leader in health reform

The Promise:

"Make the VA a leader of national health care reform. … This includes efforts to improve electronic records interoperability, expand effectiveness research, promote wellness programs, and instill more accountability for performance and quality improvement initiatives."


Update November 12th, 2014: Legislation passed to address veterans’ health problems, but what will impact be?

Reduce the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog

The Promise:


"There are currently over 400,000 claims pending within the Veterans Benefits Administration, and over 800,000 claims receipts are expected in 2008 alone. … Obama will hire additional claims workers and convene our nation's leading veterans groups, employees and managers to develop an updated training and management model that will ensure that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently, and stem from adequate training and accountability for each claims adjudicator."


Update November 12th, 2014: We note some progress, but the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog is still large

Support network neutrality on the Internet

The Promise:

"Support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet."


Update November 10th, 2014: Obama reaffirms support for net neutrality by backing major shift in federal regulations

No signing statements to nullify instructions from Congress

The Promise:

"While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability. I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law."


Update June 4th, 2014: After ignoring provision about notifying Congress of Guantanamo detainee transfers, this moves to Promise Broken

Set a standard for utility companies that 80 percent of the nation's electricity comes from clean sources by 2035

The Promise:

"Setting a standard for utility companies to that 80 percent of the nation's electricity comes from clean sources by 2035"


Update June 2nd, 2014: New EPA proposal puts this promise back in play

Encourage videotaping of interrogations in capital cases

The Promise:


Will encourage states to adopt a law similar to one he shepherded through the Illinois legislature, "requiring videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases to ensure that prosecutions are fair."


Update May 30th, 2014: Obama administration goes beyond its original promise

End the war in Afghanistan in 2014

The Promise:

"President Obama responsibly ended the war in Iraq and will end the war in Afghanistan in 2014."


Update May 28th, 2014: Obama announces plan to end combat operations this year

Reduce the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog

The Promise:


"There are currently over 400,000 claims pending within the Veterans Benefits Administration, and over 800,000 claims receipts are expected in 2008 alone. … Obama will hire additional claims workers and convene our nation's leading veterans groups, employees and managers to develop an updated training and management model that will ensure that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently, and stem from adequate training and accountability for each claims adjudicator."


Update May 22nd, 2014: Rated broken in 2012, wait times now back in the headlines