Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Day 3 of Overseas Americans Week
We had a full day of back-to-back meetings yesterday and this morning was filled with one that was every bit as good as the meeting with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service.
But before we talk about that meeting, let me explain a bit about what exactly we are doing here in D.C. Overseas Americans Week sounds grand but what does mean?
Meetings. Lots and lots of meeting. The AARO/FAWCO delegation is talking with the staffs of U.S. lawmakers, the Congressmen and women who make the laws that impact us, and with different government agencies like the IRS, the folks who implement them.
Sometimes we go to these meetings wearing two hats: an AARO/FAWCO member and a constituent of that lawmaker. I have already met with the staff of my representative in Seattle, Jim McDermott, and will be meeting with the staff of one of my senators later in the week.
The meetings with the agencies are longer and it's more of an exchange - there is more time to go into detail and ask each other questions. I already talked about the meeting with TAS but this morning we met with people at the State Department responsible for overseas citizens services.
Everywhere we go we are talking about what's happening right now to Americans abroad. One observation I would make is that, with very few exceptions, when we talk about banking discrimination, people start nodding their heads. Some of their information has come from media reports, but also from constituents abroad. I found that encouraging - they are reading their mail from abroad. So if you were wondering (as I was) if it really is worth sending them a note (and struggling with their websites), the answer is "yes" because I have seen firsthand that it does help. A lot. When we start talking and they can connect the issue to something that came in from a constituent(s), it make a world of difference in how they view that information.
So that's what it's all about, folks.
One last word before Ellen and I have dinner. In one meeting I was asked point blank if I was planning to renounce. And I was filled with so much anger. I will do everything I can, I replied, so that day never comes. I will send letters, I will knock on doors, I will write, I will do whatever I have to including annoying the hell out of people like you until I've exhausted all possibilities.
And then we'll see.