The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ “Budget for All”, which would have repealed the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, was voted down by 78–346 last week. It was formally proposed as Amendment 4 to H.Con.Res. 112; OpenCongress.org has the roll call. The House passed Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s budget instead. However, regardless of the failure of the “Budget For All”, Americans Abroad Caucus members who voted in favour of it still owe an explanation to U.S. persons abroad.
As mentioned last time, nine members of the Americans Abroad Caucus are concurrently members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the AAC co-chair, is the only CPC member out of them who opposed the CPC and voted against the Budget For All. The other seven CPC/AAC voting members supported the “Budget For All”, in complete disregard for the interests of actual U.S. persons abroad:
- Mike Honda (D-CA) — the co-sponsor of the “Budget For All”
- Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) — a vocal supporter of the “Budget For All”
- Michael Capuano (D-MA)
- Andre Carson (D-IN)
- Steven Cohen (D-TN)
- Jim McGovern (D-MA)
- Jim Moran (D-VA)
Not included in the above list is Donna Christensen, the non-voting delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands. All non-members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus voted against the CPC’s budget, with the exception of Gregory Meeks, who abstained, as he did on every other budget vote.
However, this is only a temporary respite for Americans abroad, since every few weeks yet another bunch of anti-expat amendments gets stuffed onto the end of some unrelated bill. You may have noticed that all of the AAC members who supported the CPC budget, with the exception of Andre Carson, were also supporters of the so-called Senate “highway” bill and its provisions to confiscate passports and illegalise foreign credit cards. That bill is temporarily off the agenda thanks to John Mica (R-FL)’s alternative proposal to extend the existing highway funding law; however, it is very likely to return in June, as the expiration of Mica’s extension draws near.
My political forecast (which you may take with an appropriately-sized grain of salt): by mid-year, Congress will be getting increasingly nervous about busting through the U.S. debt ceiling yet again. So we can expect renewed public calls to cut random chunks out of the budget — which no doubt means yet another ignorant Congresscritter or his fresh-faced interns will feverishly page through the Joint Committee on Taxation’s list of so-called tax expenditures and come up with yet another “brilliant” proposal to repeal the FEIE.