The 2016 Democrats Abroad Platform
Democrats Abroad contribution to the Democratic Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform Committee met in Orlando, FL to make final adjustments to the draft prepared by the Platform Drafting Committee over the previous month. We are pleased to report that an amendment presented by Democrats Abroad supporting a commitment to finding solutions to the problems FATCA and FBAR reporting cause Americans abroad was adopted unanimously.
These few moments of CSPAN coverage of the amendment understate the many hours and years of work that went into drawing attention to the harm these financial account reporting requirements have caused us. The work’s not done yet, but the problems are understood and the consensus exists amongst party leaders to solve them.
But FATCA reform is only ONE of the issues on our agenda for change (click here to download our IAAA Posters). Residence-based taxation is also high on our list of advocacy initiatives. So is Medicare portability, tax code recognition of foreign retirement savings plans, equalization of Social Security benefits for Americans abroad, access to Obamacare for Americans living and traveling abroad, simplified residency application procedures for relatives of U.S. citizens, amnesty for Accidental Americans, and so much more.
While many issues remain to be addressed by US lawmakers and regulators, we believe that FATCA has opened the eyes of many of our Democratic Party colleagues to the serious problems caused by laws and regulations enacted without due consideration of their impact on the overseas community. We have advocated strongly for a Commission to study these laws and regulations and make recommendations to Congress to remedy their unintended adverse impacts.
With a Democratic administration and a Democratic legislature promoting a Democratic agenda we will make even more progress over the next four years on effecting the changes necessary to equalize the treatment of Americans abroad.
We are pleased with the success of the process undertaken to prepare the platform -
- From the beginning of April 2016, a team of about 30 area experts and issues advocates updated the 2012 Democrats Abroad Platform, deleting obsolete planks, updating out of date planks and adding new planks.
- A small but mighty group of editors with long-standing knowledge of Democrats Abroad and excellent editing skills prepared the draft for distribution to our members.
- The edited draft was thrown open to Democrats Abroad members for comment during the 4th week of April. Over 3,250 submissions were received.
- A team of 2 dozen intrepid volunteers - some from the earlier volunteer group and some new volunteers - undertook the mammoth task of reading all those comments and further amending the draft.
- Susan Vaillant of DA France-Strasbourg and John McQueen of DA Germany-Heidelberg master edited the mega document, which was then distributed to Democrats Abroad leaders a week before the Global Convention in Berlin.
- In Berlin we succeeded in reviewing much of the platform across a 5 hour period, but that wonderful discussion carried on during 4 global Webex discussions held through the month of June and featuring participation by many dozens of DA leaders across all three regions.
- The document attached is the result. Voting to ratify the final version of the Platform was held over a 48 hour period in which 97% of electors voted in favor of the draft.
As we have noted many times, the 2016 Democrats Abroad Platform has literally thousands and thousands of Democrats abroad fingerprints on it - a fantastic, grassroots-driven initiative that has built a policy document we can all be proud of.
The first section of the Platform outlines a wide range of matters that uniquely impact Americans living outside the United States. A selection of the most urgently needed policy reforms is presented on this poster. These are the issues that Democrats Abroad will continue advocate for in the months and years to come.