Deckard1138 recently received a reply from Democrats Abroad which he wanted to share. His comments precede the letter. Perhaps we should give a letter/email blast another try?
I am thinking of adapting the letter to my Rep/Senators indicating that these harmful effects were damaging enough that I had to renounce my citizenship. Given the fact that this is due to the threat to my non-US family, perhaps it would be shocking enough to at least cause curiosity and hopefully, get past the “offshore tax cheat” label.
Well, here’s something new from Democrats Abroad. While I do not agree with their premise that “To date, many of the harmful effects of federal laws and policies on Americans abroad have been unintentional”, I am heartened to hear that they are at least attempting to reach out for support from both parties, trying to “…get another dozen sponsors this year, including a few Republicans.”
If a critical mass of House sponsorship can be gathered then there is a chance that Congress might begin to wake-up and respond to the monster they’ve created. It’s been a terribly long time since that Carter-era commission looked at Americans abroad, so I think every effort should be made to bring that attention into the present where it is needed more than ever.
There is legislation just filed in Congress that could be a game-changer for Americans living abroad.
That bill, House Resolution 597, the Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act, would require that the US Congress to systematically study the impact of government policies on the 6 million American citizens living abroad.
To date, many of the harmful effects of federal laws and policies on Americans abroad have been unintentional. With the passage HR 597 lawmakers would be much better informed about those unintended consequences. Congress would have a better idea of who we are, where we live, and the impact of Federal law on us on issues like taxation, immigration, voting rights, and access to financial institutions.
Our good friend in Congress, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY and Chair of the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus) said Americans living and working abroad “are our country’s informal ambassadors around the globe and help strengthen the U.S. economy and promote American influence. Their concerns about how their government interacts with them deserve to be heard — and paid attention to — here in Washington.”
Representative Maloney just introduced HR 597 with Reps. Honda (D-CA) and Napolitano (D-CA) as co-sponsors. The bill was first introduced in the last Congress, but it did not get on any Committee agenda for lack of multiple co-sponsors. A reasonable strategy for Democrats Abroad would be to get another dozen sponsors this year, including a few Republicans.
Congresswoman Maloney is now seeking co-sponsorship for the bill from other members of the House — on both sides of the aisle! We need your help. Contact your representatives to help in the cause. A letter from you now, asking your Representative to sponsor HR 597, will help move the bill through the legislative process.
A short letter will be enough to draw attention to this important bill. Here’s an example:
“Dear Mr./Mrs/Miss ___________: As one of your constituents, I ask that you co-sponsor bill HR 597, the Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act, to examine the range of issues faced by the 6 million Americans who live outside the United States. Such a Commission would be extremely helpful in recognizing our contribution to the American political process and the U.S. economy. I am a proud US citizen living in ________ (your country).” It’s always a good idea to add a personal appeal, if you have time.
If you do not know the name of your Representative or his or her address, please go to http://www.house.gov/ and submit your U.S. voting address. Address the letter to The Honorable ___________, United States House of Representation, Washington. DC 20515
Help us get HR 597 passed. It’s our time to show who we are as U.S. citizens abroad.