S. 1813, the highway (robbery) bill with amendments that let the Treasury Department ban credit cards from non-FATCA banks and give the IRS the power to take away expats’ passports, passed the Senate by a vote of 74-22 with 4 abstentions. The bill will now go to the House, where it will face off against H.R. 7, a competing surface transport bill by Rep. John Mica (R-FL).
I owe readers an apology for getting this bill’s name wrong last time I wrote about it. I should hardly have expected it to have such a sensible name as “Surface Transportation Act”. In fact it was originally called the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act”; now it has been given the grandiose new name of “America Fast Forward Financing Innovation Act”. Indeed, America is becoming increasingly “innovative” in how it finances highways, by finding new ways to tax, fine, and harass people who don’t use those highways in the first place.
OpenCongress.org has the roll call for the bill’s passage — those of you who vote in the U.S. may want to check what your senator did. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who never met an anti-expat provision he didn’t like, went against his own party and voted in favour of the bill. More disappointingly, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who not two months ago went over to Switzerland to raise money from expats, turned around and gave a slap in the face to expatriates everywhere with her “aye” vote for this bill. Now we wait to see whether the members of the Americans Abroad Caucus will lift a finger to get these amendments stripped from the bill.