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Monday, March 17, 2014

Overseas Americans Week 2014

Next weekend I'm on a flight to (of all places) Washington, D.C.  It's the city I love to hate but that's due to a very bad first impression.  I went there once back in 1992 for the COSPAR/IAC World Space Congress.  It was hot, polluted, and I had to work 14 hour days as support staff for the scientific meetings.  I missed the opening ceremonies and the cocktail at the Smithsonian.  The only fun I had was the chance to party at the Bulgarian embassy.

It was not a good experience.  Ever since I heard that I would be going I've been chanting "Beginner's Mind" over and over again.  It makes no sense to base an opinion on one brief experience over 20 years ago.

So what's going on next week?

Overseas Americans Week and I'm part of the Association of Americans Resident Overseas' delegation.  The Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) will be there as well.

OAW is a yearly event and this is the 13th year that organizations like FAWCO and AARO head for the capital city "to draw Washington’s attention to issues where current American law excludes, penalizes or denies access to overseas Americans. These issues involve Medicare, Social Security, Citizenship, Taxation and Access to US and foreign banking facilities."  This means that we will be knocking on doors and meeting lawmakers, staff at various U.S. government agencies, and other organizations.

It's going to be a very full week. I am a very junior junior delegate so my job is to observe and to listen.   I won't give away the agenda but I will be meeting with the staff of my senator, Patty Murray (Washington State).  I plan to write one or two posts for the Flophouse while I'm there but if you want to follow the action more closely we will be updating every day the AARO Facebook and Twitter feeds.


Blaze said...

You are a brave soul Victoria.

I couldn't go to D.C. and not scream at the buffoons who foisted this nighmare on us. Even though your role is to observe (Does that mean keep your mouth shut?), I hope you will bring our FATCA articles to the attention of the lawmakers to show them how FATCA has gone so far off the map from the original "Simple Premise" to combat offshore tax evasion.

P. Moore said...

@Blaze. I think you had better stay in Canada and continue to lead this fight the way you are so far. I am afraid if you went to Washington and tell them what you really think of them, we may have to start another fund raising drive for your bail!!

Victoria, we are all looking forward for your reports from Washington.

Catherine said...

Best of luck!

Janet said...

Thank you for representing us in Washington.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

It should be interesting.... :-)

@Blaze, It's Lent to keeping my temper is required. This is new territory for me so I'm cool with my role. Yes, I'll get to talk (and yes I will have copies of our articles) but it's more about guided discovery and paying close attention to what's going on. I also get to communicate and that's something I genuinely enjoy. So it's all good.

@P. Moore I should mention as well that Ellen Lebelle will also be blogging. So you can get more than one perspective.

@Catherine, Thanks! I heard it snowed in D.C. last week. Please, please, please NO SNOW.

@Janet, I'll do the best I can to do you and everyone proud.

And just a hint about the agenda:

We are meeting someone I've called "a goddess among women."

Take a guess...

Shadow Raider said...

Victoria, I live in the Washington, DC area, and I suppose you are familiar with my efforts and ideas at the Isaac Brock Society. I also participated in OAW last year with ACA. Please let me know if you would like some help, information, or just to get together and talk.

Northerndar said...

I visited DC 3 times for pleasure and business. I loved the Smithsonian. It is so amazing and FREE. I know you will be very busy but if you have free time take in a Smithsonian building I liked the National Air & Space Museum the best.
May you make thoughts of those you meet aware of FATCA and the harm it is doing to those abroad and homelanders.

Anonymous said...

We are in good hands - so glad you are going to be there in Washington. Will be very educational one way or the other. Safe travelling.

Convey our appreciation to Nina Olson if you see her. Tell her that her reports are now required reading for those abroad. Thank her for her and her corps of Taxpayer advocate agents (she and they are for me some of the only evidence of any true concern about those the US claims as "US taxable persons' and citizens abroad).

take care,

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous anonymous. It is an honor to be represented by you.
Maybe you could also point out that FATCA also affects negatively 10s of millions of immigrants to the US who did not know about the reporting requirements. Unfortunately for them, there is no reasonable path to compliance, since they reside there. They're in for a very unpleasant surprise from the IRS once the reporting begins. Thanks for passing the message.

patricia said...

kindly convey on my behalf to following: A birth certificate is not a deed of title, it dose not represent a claim of ownership nor provide a share of my economic productivity in perpetuity. You have no legitimate claim to my foreign born children without their consent, absent their ability to consent only with the consent of their legal guardian. Those service I received from the government were paid my taxes or those paid by my parents. My university training was partly paid by my parents, small scholarships, part-time jobs and participation in the ROTC program which incurred an eight year military service obligation, which I fulfilled with eight years active duty during the Vietnam war. The first obligation of any government is to protect those living within its borders, to provide a safe environment where everyone can grow and achieve their full potential, anything less would have been immoral. That you did what any government is supposed to does not entitle the US to a share of the tax base of my country of residence and citizenship.

Tim said...

I personally wouldn't threaten anyone you meet in DC. However, I would point out that if some compromise is reached quickly on FATCA it will simply play into the hands of those in the expat community who want more radical solutions and wish harm against the United States. You should quite explicitly point this out to Murray.

Anonymous said...

This article from Geneva Lunch points out the consequenes of this hunt:

@Tim, I don't understand your last sentence.

Christophe said...

Can't wait to read your report when you come back.
Have a safe trip!

Tim said...


Another question are you going to meet Carl Levin?

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Shadow Raider, Neck deep in preparation here. I'll send you an email and if you like we could get together when I'm there. Would LOVE to meet you.

@Northerndar: THAT is exactly what I missed back in 1992. I will be sure to go this time.

@Badger, I will definitely convey that to Nina Olson if I have the opportunity. I'd like to tell her just how much of a star she is among Americans abroad and we read her report religiously.

@anonymous, Good point. Yes, I will try to make it.

@Patricia, Well said. I'd say we all feel a lot like subjects and not so much citizens these days. I think many Americans in the homeland feel the same way.

@Tim, not sure I understand your point. Could you clarify?

Not sure of the agenda yet. I'm so busy with the prep that I haven't really looked at what is planned. I do know that I have a date with Patty Murray's staff.

@Christophe, Will do my best to report during and after.