Overseas Americans Week (OAW) brings together FAWCO and its coalition partners each year for a five-day "door-knock" campaign in Washington to bring our issues personally to the attention of lawmakers, agencies and their staffs. Our traditional partners include the Association of Americans Resident Overseas [www.aaro.org] and American Citizens Abroad [www.americansabroad.org].
The first “Overseas Americans Week” was in May 2002, though FAWCO and its partners have a much longer history of personal advocacy in Washington, going back to the fight to get the vote for Americans overseas (1975), advocating the inclusion of overseas Americans in the U.S. decennial Census (1995-2001), fighting repeal of the “Section 911 Foreign-Earned Income Exclusion” (multi-year campaign), and promoting the inclusion of overseas Americans in the Help America Vote Act (2001).
The prime focuses over the years have remained the same, though immediate priorities change from year to year: ensuring that military and civilian overseas voters can vote using secure, efficient technology and know that their ballots will arrive in time to be counted; facilitating transmission of U.S. citizenship to the children and grandchildren of Americans abroad; reducing the financial reporting burden on Americans living and working abroad; working to create an equitable tax system for overseas Americans and, more recently, to move from "citizenship based taxation" to "residence based taxation" in line with other industrialized countries around the world.
We have reacted swiftly in the face of new challenges like the creation of FATCA legislation in 2010, provisions to deny or refuse to renew passports for overseas Americans with outstanding fines or debts to the IRS, increasing numbers of financial institutions refusing service to Americans living abroad, the closing of IRS offices abroad, etc.
FAWCO was directly instrumental in the creation in 2007 of the Americans Abroad Caucus. We have honored various legislators and policymakers for their work benefiting overseas Americans: Senator Jay Rockefeller and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (2002) for their ongoing support for the overseas community; Senators Chris Dodd and Mitch McConnell and Representatives Steny Hoyer and Bob Ney (2003) for crafting the Help America Vote Act; and United States Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson (2014) for her support for "fair tax treatment for the global American population".
Below are the most recent position papers taken to Washington in the context of Overseas Americans Week, in which FAWCO will participate once again in April 2017.
Read the Overall Goals in 2016 for Overseas American Week