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On July 15, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney introduced the Commission on Americans Abroad Act of 2015, a slightly simplified version of her earlier bill (H.R. 597) in the last Congress.  As for the earlier bill, Congressman Mike Honda is an original co-sponsor.  Both Representatives are long-standing champions of overseas Americans and understand the problems we face.

H.R. 3078 would create a bipartisan federal commission to look at the issues facing Americans overseas, including the military, and make concrete recommendations to Congress for solutions. Members of the Commission are to include members of organizations that represent United States citizens living in foreign countries.  The bill turns a spotlight on the everyday problems of most concern to Americans living abroad: 1) federal financial reporting requirements for U.S. citizens living abroad; 2) federal policies and requirements that affect the ability of a U.S. citizen living in a foreign country to access foreign and domestic financial institutions; 3) federal requirements for the spouse, child or other family member of a U.S. citizen living abroad to become a U.S. citizen; 4) the ability of a U.S. citizen living overseas to vote in federal, state and local elections in the United States; 5) the processes by which a United States citizen living in a foreign country interacts with Federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare; and 6) which Federal agencies have jurisdiction over each Federal program that serves United States citizens who live in foreign countries and possible methods to improve the collaboration of and coordination between such Federal agencies..

FAWCO supports and applauds this important piece of legislation that takes a comprehensive look at how the federal government interacts with its citizens abroad. We urge our members to encourage their own legislators to co-sponsor this bill!

You can send or adapt a model letter to your legislator but you can also get your family and friends to use or adapt a model letter for constituents in the US.  It is not enough to complain that things are becoming more and more difficult for overseas Americans – we must get our Representatives to support this bill and get it to the floor of Congress.

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