News

In September –

 

In This Issue —

Events:

  • Experienced Dems Get Together
  • Bratislava Meet & Greet – In person
  • Solidarity Sundays: Democracy State of Mind
  • Save the Date! EMEA Regional Meeting Oct 1-3
  • DAA Black Caucus Book Club in October

Issues & Actions:

  • Introducing the All-New Phonebanking Training!
  • Introducing the 2021-2023 Global Caucus and Team Leadership
  • ProDA GOTV Initiative

Reviews:

  • Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Global Meeting
  • July 4 Party in Vienna
  • July 4 Party in Vorarlberg

 

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

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Events:

Experienced Dems Get Together

When: September 14, 2021

Time: 6 pm

Where: In-person. Cafe Museum, Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna

RSVP to attend.

 

 

Photograph by Martin Katler

Bratislava Meet & Greet – In person

When: September 25, 2021

Time: 6:00pm - 9pm

Where: Los Mexikas, Františkánske námestie 8, Bratislava

RSVP to attend.

 

 

Solidarity Sundays: Democracy State of Mind

When: Sunday, September 26, 2021

Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m. CET

RSVP for link.

 

 

EMEA Regional Meeting — All Leaders & Volunteers Are Welcome to Join!

When: Friday-Sunday, October 1-3, 2021

Time: Saturday: 10:00-6:00 p.m. CET

RSVP for link.

 

 

DAA Black Caucus Book Club

When: Sunday, October 17

Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Where: Cafe Phil. Gumpendorferstr 10-12, Vienna 1060

RSVP to attend.




Issues & Actions:

Introducing the All-New Phonebanking Training!

The November 2 elections are coming up quickly! We’ll begin our 2021 calls to Virginia and New Jersey members for their gubernatorial and state legislature and to our Ohio voters in two congressional districts on September 6th.

New Training Features:

  • optional PRACTICE CALLS available 24/7 to friendly practice volunteers, helping trainees feel more comfortable before attempting a first call
  • demonstration VIDEOS are now incorporated into the training presentation, showing a call, revising data, adding a new mobile number, etc.
  • expanded explanation of the CONFIDENTIALITY agreement you signed
  • an open-book QUIZ on the calling essentials to better prepare new callers
  • expanded resources for caller SUPPORT, caller groups, and engagement

READ MORE

 

Introducing the 2021-2023 Global Caucus and Team Leadership

International Chair Candice Kerestan and the DPCA ExCom ran on a commitment to make Democrats Abroad a more understandable and accessible organization.

Over the last few weeks, the International ExCom conducted a call for applications for global committee and caucus leadership positions. In total, they received over 70 extremely impressive applications. They were truly inspired not only by the amount of skills, passion, and creativity within our membership but also by the fact that so many people are willing to share these with us.

DA Austria would also like to congratulate Bruce Murray, our former Counsel and DPCA Voting Representative, on his appointment as Chair of the Progressive Caucus. Congratulations Bruce!

READ MORE

 

proDA GOTV Initiative

Our road to success in 2021, 2022, and beyond will be paved by all of us working harder than ever. We worked so hard to win the opportunity to build back better. Now we must do exactly that by:

  • implementing bold legislation to strengthen our physical and human infrastructure
  • addressing our climate change crisis effectively in the process
  • highlighting our accomplishments to get out the vote.

While laying the legislative groundwork for our success, it is time to take the next steps to get out the vote. In addition to heeding our Democrats Abroad calls to action, please consider participating in initiatives like the Vote Forward letter-writing campaign.

Its current campaign focuses on Virginia: send letters to encourage Democratic-leaning registered voters in Virginia to request their absentee ballots in advance of the election in November. We can help protect Virginia's Democratic trifecta this year by encouraging Democratic-leaning voters in Virginia to request their absentee ballots.

  • Please use this Vote Forward link to sign up and adopt 20 letters now.
  • Place your completed letters in one large envelope and send it to me by September 7th
  • Bruce Murray, Neuwaldeggerstr. 16/2/6, A-1170 Wien

I will stamp and carry the letters to the United States where I will mail them on September 17. Please let me know if you have questions/suggestions at [email protected]

Let's build back better and get out the vote!

– Bruce Murray, proDA Austria liaison, proDA Global Chair

 

DA work to get Tax Relief into the Budget Reconciliation Bill - you can help!

GREAT THINGS are happening in our work to get tax relief into the Budget Reconciliation Bill. These are things you should know about DA's tax advocacy work.

  1. On September 2,2021 Democrats Abroad published research on the experience of Americans abroad who own small businesses dealing with GILTI Tax. You can download it here. For many the tax and the enormous tax compliance complexity and cost have been devastating. We are working hard to get a GILTI Tax exemption into the Budget Reconciliation Bill.
  2. The research was completed just in time to be used in a statement we submitted in response to the Senate International Tax Framework discussion draft. They strengthen our arguments in support of a GILTI tax exemption for American business owners abroad. Download our Senate submission here. We are scheduling meetings with House Small Business Committee members this month and this work will feature prominently in those discussions.

READ MORE

 


Reviews:

Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Global Meeting

Democrats Abroad approved two important amendments to its charter that will give more overseas Americans a greater say in DA. At our August online Global Meeting, DPCA voters (Austria has three voting members) approved an amendment that allows for the creation of DPCA representation for non-country-committee members. We also approved an amendment that creates transnational committees, meaning regions such as the Caribbean or parts of Africa can unite to form a committee (up to now, DA has only allowed country committees, not regional ones). Both of these amendments will give more DA members representation and a vote in DA Global matters. Speaking of greater representation, at the global meeting DA Kenya received approval as a new country committee – the second in Africa!

A number of resolutions were taken up as well at the meeting. Two controversial resolutions addressed U.S. foreign aid to Israel and the human rights of the Palestinian people. Although many people agreed with the sentiment behind these resolutions, they noted that the DA charter does not allow us to speak out as a body on foreign policy matters. DPCA voting members voted to postpone those two resolutions indefinitely. If you have questions about the meeting, please email: [email protected].

– Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

 

July 4 Party in Vienna

Thanks to everyone who came out for our ‘Feel the Freedom’ Fourth of July party in Vienna! Some people traveled quite a distance, like from Amstetten, Graz, and even Slovakia! We had live music from Jacki and the Bidenettes led by DAA’s own Jacki Hafellner. Congrats to our raffle winners (the Notorious R.B.G. bobblehead found a good home) and thanks to those who participated in the name-the-band contest. The winner by audience applause: ‘Rage Against the Voting Machines’ with the runner up ‘Get out the Note.’ We sent a group cheer to Democrats Abroad Kenya which officially became a country committee. Thanks to all for the fun and good spirit!

– Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

 

July 4 Party in Vorarlberg

Democrats Abroad in Vorarlberg celebrated the 4th of July with a delicious potluck in beautiful Bregenz. Despite a last-minute location change due to unruly weather, our members enjoyed a lovely evening discussing everything from politics and religion, to food, traveling, and cults of personality. We welcomed some new guests from other local expat groups and talked about how we could reach out to more Americans. Now, after a summer of traveling, trips back home, and meet-ups with old and new friends, we’re looking forward to starting up again in the fall and making plans for the upcoming midterm elections!

Find out about upcoming events in Vorarlberg on the DA website or DA Vorarlberg’s Facebook Group!

– Stephanie Don, DA Vorarlberg

 

Thank you for reading the September Newsletter! We'll see you in October.


DA work to get Tax Relief into the Budget Reconciliation Bill - you can help!

GREAT THINGS are happening in our work to get tax relief into the Budget Reconciliation Bill.  These are things you should know about DA's tax advocacy work.

  1. On September 2,2021 Democrats Abroad published research on the experience of Americans abroad who own small businesses dealing with GILTI Tax.  You can download it here. For many the tax and the enormous tax compliance complexity and cost have been devastating.  We are working hard to get a GILTI Tax exemption into the Budget Reconciliation Bill.  
  2. The research was completed just in time to be used in a statement we submitted in response to the Senate International Tax Framework discussion draft.  They strengthen our arguments in support of a GILTI tax exemption for American business owners abroad.  Download our Senate submission here. We are scheduling meetings with House Small Business Committee members this month and this work will feature prominently in those discussions.
  3. We are organising Zoom meetings for Constituents abroad of key members of the House and Senate this month.  The Tax Talk Zooms we hosted in July were enormously helpful to us generating support for a filing modification for Americans abroad for the Budget Reconciliation Bill. (Details here.) We are working on legislative language now and it is very exciting. 

DA members globally have been invited to participate in these important constituent meetings.  But they only get an invitation if we know what district they vote in.  Please share this link to make your members aware of this project and encourage them to log in to the DA website and update their member data so we don't miss messaging them when a meeting with their Rep or Senator has been arranged.

  1. As always, we ask that those interested in tax reform for Americans abroad use this Guide to call or write to their members of Congress and demand relief.  Please share it as much as you can. Tax reform will happen when enough Americans abroad reach out to their elected representatives and demand it.
  2. There's lots to share with DA members about the work we are doing to get tax relief for Americans abroad into the 2021 Budget Reconciliation Bill.  If you are interested in having the Taxation Task Force  present our tax advocacy work in a zoom event for DA Austria members, please let Richard know at [email protected].
  3. Lapses in U.S. tax compliance are common amongst Americans abroad because 1) filing is so complex, 2) professional tax return preparation can be very expensive and 3) IRS support to Americans abroad is woefully inadequate and has been for a long time.  

Democrats Abroad knows that many Americans abroad who are not up to date with their U.S. tax filing harbour serious levels of fear and distress.  It makes them anxious and reluctant to engage with any US government services, including voting in federal elections.  They would like to become compliant but don't know where to begin.  Dems Abroad is planning a webinar aimed at Americans abroad who are not U.S. tax compliant but would like to understand how to become so.  Please look out for messaging about the Webinar to be scheduled in the months to come.

Thanks for your support.  Send questions or comments to [email protected].

— Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force

 


Introducing the All-New Phonebanking Training!

The November 2 elections are coming up quickly! We’ll begin our 2021 calls to Virginia and New Jersey members for their gubernatorial and state legislature, and to our Ohio voters in two congressional districts, on September 6th. 

New Training Features:

- optional PRACTICE CALLS available 24/7 to friendly practice volunteers, helping trainees feel more comfortable    before attempting a first call

- demonstration VIDEOS are now incorporated into the training presentation, showing a call, revising data, adding a new mobile number, etc.

- expanded explanation of the CONFIDENTIALITY agreement you signed

- an open-book QUIZ on the calling essentials, to better prepare new callers

- expanded resources for caller SUPPORT, caller groups, and engagement

If you can still remember your first training and are curious to see the improvements, or if you'd like a refresher that will answer some of the questions you’ve had in the past and perhaps had to solve for yourself, please sign up for one of our global phonebanking training sessions. 

Go to www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking_training and choose the session that’s most convenient for you. (The page will prompt you to sign into your DA account.)

Are you ready to call? We’d be pleased to see you at a training session, and DELIGHTED to have you on the phones for 2021. 

Democratically yours, 

Heidi, Stephanie, Susan, and Stan

DA Global CallHub Team

 


Introducing the 2021-2023 Global Caucus and Team Leadership

International Chair Candice Kerestan and the DPCA ExCom ran on a commitment to make Democrats Abroad a more understandable and accessible organization. 

Over the last few weeks, the International ExCom conducted a call for applications for global committee and caucus leadership positions. In total, they received over 70 extremely impressive applications. They were truly inspired not only by the amount of skills, passion, and creativity within our membership, but by the fact that so many people are willing to share these with us. 

DA Austria would also like to congratulate Bruce Murray, our former Counsel and DPCA Voting Representative, on his appointment as Chair of the Global Progressive Caucus. Congratulations Bruce!

– Jen Rakow-Stepper, RVC-EMEA , DPCA ExCom Member

 

The International Chair and ExCom were pleased to announce the following appointments: 

AAPI Caucus Chair: Emily Lines 

Advocacy Coordinator: Katie Solon

Black Caucus Chair: Leedonal “Jazz” Moore 

Caucus Coordinator: Karen Frankenstein

Design Coordinator: Alyson McLean

ERA Task Force Chair: Shari Temple

Events Coordinator: Alex Rehbinder

Fundraising Coordinator: Jeffrey Nadison

GOTV AP Coordinator: Cory Lemke

GOTV EMEA Coordinator: Diego Rivas

Hispanic Caucus Chair: Onélica Andrade

Internal Communications Coordinator: Brooke Burns

IT Coordinator: Shari Temple

LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair: Bob Vallier 

Medicare Portability Task Force Chair: Heather Stone

Press Coordinator: Daniel Strieff

Progressive Caucus Chair: Bruce Murray

Reparations Task Force Chair: Antar Keith

Tax Task Force Chair: Carmelan Polce (2021) / Rebecca Lammers (2022)

Youth Caucus Chair: Miguel Madrigal

Veterans and Military Families Caucus Chair: Mike Nitz 

Voter Assistance Coordinator: Kendra Borgen

Vote From Abroad Coordinator: Heidi Burch

Women’s Caucus Chair: Ann Hesse

 


Let's Get GILTI Tax Relief This Year. Congress needs data. Take this survey.

Let's get GILTI Tax relief into legislation this year.  Congress needs data on Americans abroad who have small businesses hit by GILTI Tax.  If you are an American living abroad with a small to medium size business registered as a company in the country you live in please click here to do this GILTI Tax survey.  Thank you!

Read More


July's Newsletter

 

In This Issue —

Events:

  • July 4 Party–Vienna 
  • July 4 Party–Vorarlberg 
  • DAA Black Caucus Book Club  
  • Seattle Mayor Candidate Forum 

Issues & Actions:

  • Fourth of July Party in Vienna’s Augarten 
  • Constituent Abroad Zoom Project - Connecting Americans abroad to Congress about tax reform
  • Advocating in DC: The Benefits of Membership

Reviews:

  • Pride Parade
  • Solidarity Sundays

 

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

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Message from the Chair

We all bring our own individual talents and passion to Democrats Abroad. Some of us are activists. Some are organizers. Some are tech savvy. Some are poets, artists, and graphic designers.

As for me, I’m a drummer.

Well, not just that, of course. But playing music is something I love, and I’d like to incorporate more music into our DA events where we can.

At my day job at SOS Children’s Villages, we have started a rock band made up of staff members. We called the band the G-Meiners, in homage to the Austrian founder of SOS, Herman Gmeiner.

So, I thought it would be cool if the musicians among us could form our own DA Austria rock/pop/funk band! We are starting off at this year’s July 4 party with a small but powerful trio, led by our own Jacki Hafellner, a professional singer/pianist/oboist from Graz, who is also founder of the Schneider vocal academy. We’ll be joined by a buddy of mine from the G-Meiners, Paul Bastos, on guitar, and I’ll be on drums (a souped-up Cajon). We decided to have a name-the-band contest at the July 4 party. An early contender is Jacki and the Bidenettes!

As an all-volunteer organization, it is great if everyone contributes their skills and energy to help us reach our goals. Next year, especially, we will need many more volunteers to support our get-out-the-vote efforts, be it at in-person voter help tables, phone banking, or elsewhere. There are many options. Please let us know what your talents are and how you might like to help. Fill out the form here

And if you want to join the DA Austria band, you are more than welcome (although, as long as I’m chair, I have dibs on the drums).

— Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

 


Events: 

July 4 Party–Vienna

When: Sunday, July 4 

Time: 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Where: In-person. Die Schankwirtschaft im Augarten

RSVP: Sold OutHosted by DA Austria

 

 

July 4 Party–Vorarlberg

When: Sunday, July 4

Time: 3:00-7:30 p.m.

Where: In-person. Schwarzbad, Lochau

RSVP to attendHosted by DA Austria, Vorarlberg

 

 

Seattle Mayor Candidate Forum July 10 at 7:00 p.m. 

When: Sunday, July 10

Time: 7:00-8:00 p.m. CET

RSVP for linkHosted by DA Global

 

 

DAA Black Caucus Book Club 

When: Sunday, July 18

Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Where: In-person. TBD

RSVP to attendHosted by DA Austria




Issues & Actions: 

Fourth of July Party in Vienna’s Augarten

For those who have RSVP’d (we need to cap the total at 100), we look forward to seeing you Sunday, July 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at Die Schankwirschaft im AugartenWe'll have live music performed by our new—and hopefully to be expanded—Democrats Abroad band (don't miss the name-the-band contest!). We will also have a raffle with prizes including some must-have goodies, like an Inauguration Day t-shirt straight from Washington DC, a Notorious R.B.G. bobblehead, and other fabulous DA collectible swag.

Remember, Austria’s 3G rule applies. In the customary Austrian style, everyone pays the wait staff for their own food and beverage. More details at the event link on the DA website.

See you Sunday! 

— Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

 

Constituent Abroad Zoom Project — connecting Americans abroad to Congress about tax reform

The DA Taxation Task Force is organising zoom meetings in July to connect selected members of Congress to their constituents for a discussion about tax reform for Americans abroad. We are very excited to add this exciting new initiative to our multi-pronged strategy for getting tax reform for Americans abroad into legislation Congress will enact this year.  

They will be sending out an email announcement to constituent-members soon. Those constituents interested in attending are asked to register.

Constituents are the keys that open doors, hearts, and minds to our issues.

READ MORE

 

The Benefits of Membership

Democrats Abroad actively advocates in DC on issues affecting Amerians living abroad. Here are two recent examples that have also been picked up in major newspapers.

— Jen Rakow-Stepper, Regional Vice Chair–EMEA, DAA Member-at-Large

 

Vaccines for U.S. Citizens Abroad

The DA Global Executive Committee recently sent a letter to the Office of President Joe Biden to raise awareness that many US Citizens living abroad remain unvaccinated and will be at the back of the line to receive a vaccine in their host country. The letter urged the U.S. government to take appropriate steps to ensure that vaccines are available to all of its citizens worldwide.

The letter came about as an action from DA Thailand where many DA members are unable to be vaccinated or to return to the US to do so. The story was picked up in the Washington Post which mentions DA’s involvement. 

Read More

 

Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force

Carmelan Polce, DATaxation Tax Force Chair, wrote an open letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen on the impacts of tax policy on U.S. citizens abroad. Her Letter to the Editor was published in the New York Times. Thank you Carmelan for all the fantastic work you do on our behalf!

Read More

 


Reviews:

Vienna Pride Parade 2021 

Some 20 DA Austria members came out on a steamy Saturday to march in this year’s Vienna Pride Parade. We were expecting a more or less socially distanced parade (no trucks this year), and we all came prepared with masks (thanks to Eva Ciabbatonni for handing out rainbow-colored FFP2 masks). Ultimately, most faces—like some bodies on the parade route— were uncovered. But we happened to get the lead position in front of the second wave of marchers, allowing us to keep some distance and with the added benefit that in photos it looks like we’re leading a throng of thousands!

A big thanks to Jessica Mijnssen for stepping in to be our lead Pride organizer, printing up our rainbow-themed Democrats Abroad t-shirts (designed by Sophie Spiegelberger) and putting together the paper flags we waved and handed out to fellow marchers.

Why do we march each year at Pride? It means something different to everyone. We know from the past four years that the hard fought rights of the LGBTQ+ community can be taken away if we don’t elect leaders who respect and protect those rights. Pride is about joy and freedom; it is also about staying engaged to ensure that the rights of all are secure.

— Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

 

Solidarity Sundays:  The Paris Agreement -- Where the Rubber Meets the Road,

June 27, 2021

“Can I still be optimistic? Is there time to make a difference?” 

Yes, you can, says Olivia Coldrey, a leading expert in the global transformation to clean energy. National pledges to reduce emissions are increasing, but not enough—elected representatives need to act. “Best thing you can do? Speak up, vote.” (Solidarity Sundays reminds you to register to vote at VoteFromAbroad.org!)

The US is a key actor in the world economy. Biden is moving on clean energy faster than anyone saw coming. He set the goal of net-zero by 2050, placed climate at the center of his policies, and appointed Cabinet secretaries committed to transforming our energy sector. The world’s financiers are noticing. 

Biden wants America—the highest per capita CO2 emitter—at the forefront of climate investment. He is pulling the US out of fossil-fuel energy projects abroad and pivoting to cleaner ones. “We’re not reading it in the paper, but fundamental developments to the financial system are underway.” The Federal Reserve, for example, has signaled support for mandatory climate disclosures by companies. Businesses relying heavily on fossil fuels would become risky for investors; the attractiveness of cleaner companies would transform the global economy. Want to know more? Read Coldrey’s PDF presentation here.

Solidarity Sundays is exploring ways to engage with our elected officials. Calling the US from abroad is prohibitive, but Skype Credit lets you phone your senators for pennies. Find step-by-step instructions here. The Equality Act has stalled in the Senate—your senators need to hear from you.

Have a great summer break! Solidarity Sundays goes back to work fixing democracy in September!

— Tanya Lolonis, Member at Large DA Austria, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator

 

Thank you for reading the July Newsletter! We'll see you in September. 

 


June's Newsletter

 

In this Issue:

Events:

  • Gabby Giffords–Courage to Fight Gun Violence 
  • Vienna Pride Parade 2021
  • Global Virtual Pride Marathon
  • DAA Black Caucus Book Club
  • ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #5
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • 4th of July Gathering in Vienna
  • Red, Wine & Blue: 4th of July Picnic in Vorarlberg 

Issues & Actions:  

  • Introducing DAA’s new Phone-bank Coordinator Yvonne Richard
  • Auf Wiedersehen
  • GBC Book Club is Back!

Reviews:

  • Global & Regional Meetings 
  • Expat Taxes 101 
  • Solidarity Sundays: Moonshot

Members Corner: 

  • The Senate Filibuster Impasse

 

Having trouble viewing this email? You can read the newsletter online

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

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Events:

Gabby Giffords–Courage to Fight Gun Violence

When: Thursday, June 17

Time: 5-7:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Switzerland

Vienna Pride Parade 2021

When: Saturday, June 19

Time: 1-5:00 p.m.

RSVP: In-Person! RSVP here

 

Global Virtual Pride Marathon

When: Sunday, June 20

Time: 12 p.m-12:00 a.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Global LGBTQ+ Caucus

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAA Black Caucus Book Club

When: Sunday, June 20

Time: 4-6:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Austria

 

 

ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #5

When: Thursday, June 24

Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link Hosted by DA Austria

Solidarity Sundays

When: Sunday, June 27

Time: 4-6:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link

 

4th of July in Vienna

When: Sunday, July 4

Time: 12-3:00 p.m.

RSVP: In-person! RSVP here  

 

Red, Wine, & Blue: 4th of July in Vorarlberg

When: Sunday, July 4

Time: 3-7:00 p.m.

RSVP: In-person! RSVP here  

 


Issues & Actions: 

Introducing DAA’s new Phone-bank Coordinator Yvonne Richard

DAA has a new Phone Bank Coordinator! Yvonne Richard has taken on the position of head of phone bankers. Yvonne lives in Vienna and has a lot of experience in phone banking, including being one of the top callers in the 2020 election cycle. She will be supported by Marjorie Rosenberg in Graz, who was also very active on Call Hub during the last presidential election. DAA’s phone bankers helped raise the global turnout in the crucial election that voted Trump out of the White House. Next year when both the Senate and House are at stake, our team of phone bankers in Austria will again play a crucial role in raising awareness for the midterms among American voters living overseas and helping them cast their ballots from abroad.   

 

Auf Wiedersehen

It’s a bittersweet goodbye to two of DA Austria’s most dedicated super volunteers who are moving back to the US in June. Dan Englund and Michael Wagner arrived on the DAA scene a few years ago and quickly became regular attendees of Solidarity Sundays, Pro DA, Pride parades, and other meetings and events. They also became invaluable super volunteers as they dedicated many hours to helping Americans register to vote at voter registration events and the Global Presidential Primary. Michael was Phone Bank Coordinator during the 2020 election cycle, and his leadership resulted in DA Austria’s wildly successful call campaign in 2020. 

We wish you a great next chapter in your lives, and we will see you again!

 

GBC Book Club

Our book club is back! We're starting off with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a historical novel that traces the descendants of two half-sisters Effia and Esi, born into different villages in Ghana. Homegoing follows the parallel narrative lines of their descendants through eight generations, intimately portraying African and African American experiences in the aftermath of enslavement. Join our virtual meeting Sunday, June 20 at 4 p.m. via Zoom. Be sure to RSVP on the Democrats Abroad page to get the link. See you there!

 


Reviews:

Global & Regional Elections and Meetings

At 3 a.m. Austria time, groggy Democrats (at least those in our time zone) logged into Zoom for the 2021 Annual Global Meeting.

It was the second time since the start of the pandemic that the global gathering of Democrats Abroad leaders was held virtually, electing new international officers, voting on bylaws, and passing resolutions.

But for 2021, it was decided to start the meeting at a time convenient for members in the Asia Pacific region, which is why your three voting members from DA Austria – chair, vice chair, and DPCA voting rep – needed to rise (if not shine) quite early.

That marked the start of a 20-plus-hour online meeting over two days – May 15 and 16 – with more than 200 participants present at all times. Like a mini-session of Congress, there were presentations, speeches, motions, objections, amendments, points of order, and most of all – votes. It was truly a demonstration of just how dedicated people are to this all-volunteer organization.

A lot was achieved. We elected a new International Executive Committee, and we can be most proud that our own Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, our former chair of DA Austria, prevailed over four challengers to be elected the new EMEA Regional Vice Chair.

READ MORE


Expat Taxes

June 15 is the tax filing deadline for Americans abroad. To help you get prepared, Democrats Abroad Austria hosted a 90-minute webinar in May titled Expat Taxes 101. It was a super informative session with two amazing guest panelists: Nathalie Goldstein of MyExpatTaxes, and Katelynn Minott of Bright!Tax. They covered everything from the basics of tax filing and getting your stimulus payments (if you haven’t already), to the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) and the IRS’s amnesty program for those who may be behind in their filings. 

If you missed it and would like a recording, please make at least the minimum donation for our global get-out-the-vote efforts in 2022 by clicking here, and then send your request to Richard Miller at [email protected].

 

Solidarity Sundays:  Moonshot 

May 30, 2021

Solidarity Sundays looked at a critical, little-understood aspect of the Biden project. His infrastructure plan aims to transform America's economy and society. We talk about what the proposals contain, how much they will cost, in what shape they will pass — if they will pass at all. But what happens after the legislation becomes law may be the most consequential part of all.

Elaine Kamarck, Harvard professor and seasoned White House advisor, addressed the question, why do modern presidencies begin in hope and end in disappointment? Her answer:  presidents enter office with little understanding of the massive government they're supposed to run.

Inexperience can cripple an administration. Consider Bush and the Iraq War, his response to Katrina, and the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website. These failures ended hopes of progress on important policy issues. Worse, they eroded trust in the ability of government to solve people's problems. Donald Trump leveraged this disillusionment to vault to the Oval Office. 

Dr. Kamarck credits Trump's cluelessness about the federal government as the reason it remains intact. Biden, by contrast, understood how to harness the government's capacity to tame the pandemic. If he creates infrastructure jobs before the midterms, she predicts a good outcome for Democrats. You can get Dr. Kamarck's book, "Why Presidents Fail -- and How They Can Succeed Again" here.

Solidarity Sundays explored trolling, the Republican political strategy of the internet age. Each day, Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Greene intentionally bait liberals into online fights. And the engagement is a trap:  every time liberals fight with someone in the comments section or dunk with a Quote Tweet, algorithms push the offensive post into the feeds of more people. Read an excellent explanation of this GOP strategy — and how to outwit the algorithm — here.

 


Members Corner:

The Senate Filibuster Impasse   

Over the past decade, the Senate filibuster rule has ground essential Senate legislation to a virtual halt. In the last session, only four percent of proposed Senate legislation was brought to a vote (govtrack.us/congress). The minority party, whether Democratic or Republican, uses this tactic to indefinitely prolong legislative consideration or debate, which often results in no debate at all. All filibusters, however, are not the same. Rule of thumb estimates indicate that over the past decade, Democratic legislation had more popular support from all voters than was the case for proposed Republican legislation. Hence, Joe Biden could claim that the recent passage of the Covid-19 Relief Package had bipartisan support, even though Senate Republican members were uniformly opposed.

To defeat the filibuster maneuver and to actually bring legislation to a vote, a 3/5 majority or a 60 senator vote is required to close debate. The high threshold should prompt Senate members to negotiate across the aisle and reach legislative compromise. Such compromise, however, has been overtaken by party interest.  Popularly supported and essential legislation languishes and often dies as a result of  unprecedented filibuster use.

READ MORE

 

Thank you for reading the June Newsletter!

 

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Global & Regional Elections and Meetings

Global & Regional Elections and Meetings

At 3 a.m. Austria time, groggy Democrats (at least those in our time zone) logged into Zoom for the 2021 Annual Global Meeting.

It was the second time since the start of the pandemic that the global gathering of Democrats Abroad leaders was held virtually, electing new international officers, voting on bylaws, and passing resolutions.

But for 2021, it was decided to start the meeting at a time convenient for members in the Asia Pacific region, which is why your three voting members from DA Austria – chair, vice chair, and DPCA voting rep – needed to rise (if not shine) quite early.

That marked the start of a 20-plus-hour online meeting over two days – May 15 and 16 – with more than 200 participants present at all times. Like a mini-session of Congress, there were presentations, speeches, motions, objections, amendments, points of order, and most of all – votes. It was truly a demonstration of just how dedicated people are to this all-volunteer organization.

A lot was achieved. We elected a new International Executive Committee, and we can be most proud that our own Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, our former chair of DA Austria, prevailed over four challengers to be elected the new EMEA Regional Vice Chair.

Among the seven bylaws that passed, one that is most consequential changed the way DA calculates the number of DPCA voting representatives per country committee. The end result is that many smaller country committees – some 80% of the CCs – will now have one additional voting representative. For DA Austria, that means our voting power goes from three to four!

About a dozen of the 25 resolutions passed (see below), with the rest tabled for a later meeting. We also voted that next year’s global AGM will be held in-person in Costa Rica!

A 20-hour Zoom meeting can be exhausting for attendees, but even more for those who are facilitating sessions for hours and hours on very little sleep. A huge thank you to all those who led us through the sessions on the bylaws and resolutions, as well as a big shout out to members of the outgoing International Executive Committee, especially our former Chair Julia Bryan, who was the epitome of poise, patience, and cool during the AGM. 

Onwards, together! 

— Richard Miller, Chair, DA Austria

 

Bylaws and Resolutions at the Global Meeting

At the Global Meeting, the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) body debates and votes on proposed Bylaws amendments and Resolutions. Following are the Bylaws and Resolutions that passed or were sent to committee. There was not enough time to hear all the Resolutions and another meeting will be set for the DPCA voting representatives to hear and consider them. 

Bylaws Amendments that passed: 

Proposal 1– Proposal to remove automatic proxies; Proposal 3 – Proposal to provide for more direct involvement by the DPCA Excom in appointments; Proposal 5 – Remove requirement to hold the DPCA Officer elections at the first meeting of the year; Proposal 6 – 2021 DPCA Vote Allocation Amendment, Proposal 9 – Remote On-line participation for quorum; Proposal 10 – Section 6.2 Election of RVC by One Vote Each for Chair and Vice-Chair; Proposal 11 – Country Committee Admission Criteria: Increasing Minimum Membership. 

Bylaws Amendments that were referred to committee:  

Proposal 7 – Create DPCA Representation for Non-Country Committee Members; Proposal 8 – Enable the Formation of Region Committees; Proposal 14 – Using Ranked Choice Voting within Democrats Abroad at International and Regional Levels.

Adopted Resolutions: 

  1. To Rename the Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge for Congressman John R. Lewis; 2. Applauding Congressman Jamie Raskin and House Impeachment Managers; 5. In Support of Urgent Federal Tax Filing Relief for Americans Abroad in the American Jobs Plan (infrastructure legislation) and American Families Plan; 6. Honoring Patrick Werner, founder of Democrats Abroad Nicaragua; 10. In Support of the PRO Act; 11. In Support of H.R. 40 and the Commission to Study U.S. Reparations; 16. In Support of Medicare Portability; 21. To condemn the Arkansas Legislature for passing Anti-Transgender Legislation; 23. In Support of Non-Citizen Service Members, their Families, Deported Veterans and H.R. 1182: the Veterans Deportation Prevention and Reform Act; 24. Supporting the Military Justice Improvement Act to Protect Military Women & Men from Sexual Harassment & Assault; 26. Advocating Against Prison Gerrymandering.

— DA Austria’s DPCA Voting Representatives: Richard Miller, Faith Hall Herbold, and Jen Rakow-Steppe

 


May's Newsletter

In May's Issue:

Events:

  • Citizen Stripping
  • Candidate Townhall for EMEA Regional Vice Chair
  • AAPI Caucus and Hispanic Caucus: Meet the Candidates
  • 2021 Global Meeting & Elections
  • 2021 EMEA Regional Meeting & Elections
  • Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad
  • ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #4
  • Solidarity Sundays: Moon Shot

Issues & Actions:

  • A Message from the Chair
  • Upcoming Global & Regional Meeting
  • Vaccinated in America

Reviews:

  • Solidarity Sundays

 

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

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Events:

Citizenship Stripping

When: Tuesday, May 4

Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Spain

 

 

Candidate Townhall for EMEA Regional Vice Chair

When: Wednesday, May 5

Time: 9-10:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by EMEA

 

AAPI Caucus & Hispanic Caucus Meet the Candidates

When: Thursday, May 6

Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Germany, Berlin

 

Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad

When: Thursday, May 20

Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Austria

 

ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

When: Thursday, May 20

Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link

 

Solidarity Sundays:

When: Sunday, May 30

Time: 4-5:30 p.m.

RSVP for the zoom link

 


Issues & Actions:

Message from the Chair

When you’re part of an organization (and especially when you are the chair), it’s essential to have a good elevator pitch: You know, that 30-second explanation of what your organization is all about, presumably the one you tell someone in the time it takes to travel in an elevator (and in Austria, there aren’t too many long elevator rides).

On a recent call with our outgoing global chair Julia Bryan, she put it like this: Democrats Abroad is the largest organization of civilian Americans outside the United States. We make sure overseas Americans know they can vote, make sure they know how, and make sure they know that their vote counts!

It’s that last bit—the extent that our votes count—that I find the most compelling.

So, get this: In 2020 approximately 1.8 million eligible American voters living abroad requested their ballot compared to 930,156 ballots received in 2016. We likely doubled our vote!

The overseas vote was the margin of victory for Biden-Harris in Arizona (~19,500 votes from abroad), Georgia (~20,000 votes from abroad) and most likely Wisconsin (numbers still out, but Biden won by less than 1%, which we typically deliver). Our votes also helped tip the scales in the Georgia Senate race, leading to a run-off and a Democrat-controlled Senate.

As I’ve heard Julia say on a number of occasions, “Hey folks, WE SAVED DEMOCRACY.”

So when you're recruiting a new member to Democrats Abroad Austria this year (hey, how are you coming along with that?), you can try out that elevator pitch and be sure they know that our votes really do count!

— Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair

 

 

Upcoming 2021 Global & Regional Meetings

The 2021 Global Meeting and EMEA Regional Meeting will take place exclusively online on the weekend of May 15–16. All DA members are welcome to attend the meetings. Please note that there are a few “meet the candidate” events listed under events above.

The EMEA Regional Meeting will take place from 9–10am (CET) on Sunday, May 16. The only order of business is for the election of the 2021–2023 EMEA Regional Vice Chair. Former DA Austria Chair, Jen Rakow-Stepper, is one of five candidates running for the position.

In order to accommodate participation from timezones from Fiji to Vancouver, the 2021 Global Meeting will be called to order at 3:30 a.m., Saturday, May 15 (CET) and adjourn at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 16.

During the global meeting, DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad) voting representatives elected at the county committee level (3 from Austria) will elect the Global Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Legal Counsel. These individuals will lead Democrats Abroad for the next two years, guiding and supporting all of our leaders, volunteers, and members around the world. Here is the link to the Officer Candidate list: DA 2021 International Officer Candidate List.pdf

A draft agenda is available here. The agenda is tentative and subject to change. Attendance online will be possible throughout the meeting. Chairs, Vice Chairs, and DPCA Voting representatives of compliant country committees of Democrats Abroad may vote. You may register for the meeting here.

Resolutions and changes to the DPCA ByLaws (Charter) will also be voted on at the meeting. Here is the list of charter amendments and list of resolutions which the DPCA body will discuss.

— Jen Rakow-Stepper, DPCA Voting Representative

 

Vaccinated in America

Late in the afternoon on a recent Friday, my wife and I walked into one of the cavernous south halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Inside a room large enough for an airliner to be displayed in, we went straight up to one the FEMA staff managing the check-in process, confirmed our registrations, and then walked straight to an empty seat at one of the many vaccination stations. Less than 10 minutes after pulling into the parking lot, we had received our first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. For a lot of us living in Europe, this ease of access to vaccines seems like some kind of dream. From 8 in the morning until 7:30 in the evening, there are appointments available every 15 minutes—either on foot or in the new convenient drive-thru—making getting vaccinated even easier than getting married!

On the reverse, to fly back to Austria we needed a negative COVID test. Not having symptoms, we found we had to pay at least $125 for a test, and most options would not return a result—even for antigen tests— any faster than 2 to 3 days. We ended up going to a small clinic which provided rapid antigen testing for the casino workers on the Strip and paying cash to get tested, while here in Austria we can get a PCR test result the same day for free via Alles gurgelt! at any BIPA location.

In so many ways, the entire COVID vaccination and testing experience was a great reminder of both the strengths and weaknesses of the two countries I live my life between. The USA has a mammoth capacity for making huge quantities of virtually anything and then distributing it rapidly. Something which requires social responsibility and continued, thorough effort with no obvious immediate result, like widespread testing, is much more effectively done here in Austria.

Back in Austria now, we’re happy to have been vaccinated and happy we could easily test upon our return to continue to stay safe!

— Nathan Fowler, DAA IT Committee

 



Reviews:

Solidarity Sundays: For the People

April 25, 2021

Wherever Republicans control a chamber of the state legislature, bills to restrict voting are advancing fast: 361 bills and counting. Americans face a potential contraction of voting rights unlike anything in recent memory.

The vehicle for Democratic pushback is the For the People Act. The pro-democracy bill would register voters automatically, end partisan gerrymandering, and make Election Day a federal holiday. Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad, broke down how the legislation, called S1 in the Senate, could stop voter suppression in its tracks. But without changing the filibuster, it can‘t pass the Senate.

Democrats Abroad is experimenting with different approaches to build momentum for S1. They are talking with legislators to suggest changes to the bill that address particular challenges overseas voters face. What, for instance, is the biggest reason votes from abroad don‘t get counted? People not receiving ballots in time or not getting them back in time. Prompt transmission of ballots is vital to us.

After seeing how hard it was to vote from abroad in 2020, members are stepping up to help protect the vote. For one initiative, DA contacted members from New Jersey, where the Assembly is considering absentee voting legislation. They asked them to text their legislators to support changes that help us vote. The high number of people who answered DA’s call is inspiring similar initiatives.

You can take action from home. Solidarity Sundays learned the nuts and bolts of emailing our senators — a quick, effective way to tell your senators to support S1 and reform the filibuster. Email yours in five minutes (find them here.) Want a copy of the Solidarity Sundays Guide on emailing senators? Contact us: [email protected]

— Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sunday Co-Coordinator

 

Thank you for reading May’s newsletter!


April's Newsletter

 

In This Issue– 

Events:

  • Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott
  • ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days
  • Vorarlberg Picnic Social
  • Solidarity Sundays: For The People

2021 Annual General Meeting & Elections:

  • Election Results

Issues & Actions:

  • Letter from the Chair
  • Open Caucus and Committee Positions
  • Introducing Jason Means
  • News from Solidarity Sundays
  • Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

Reviews:  

  • Annual General Meeting
  • Filibuster or Bust!

 

Having trouble viewing this email? You can read the newsletter online

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

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Events:

Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott

Tuesday, April 13,  6-7 p.m. (CET) – Online

RSVP for the zoom link

 

Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

Thursday, April 22, 7-8 p.m. (CET) – Online

RSVP for the zoom link 

SolSun: For The People

Sunday, April 25, 4-6 p.m. (CET) – Online

RSVP for the zoom link, then pour a

glass of wine and join us in Paris

DA Vorarlberg Picnic Social

April 23, 5:00-8:30PM

Vorarlberg (in-person)

 


2021 AGM & Elections:

 

New Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elected

Due to Covid restrictions, the election of the 2021-23 DAA ExComm was conducted for the second time in an online-only format. To maximize opportunities for engagement in the electoral process, the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) issued multiple announcements soliciting nominations in the weeks before the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and ensured that members would have ample time to cast votes, beginning on March 7. Voting concluded during the March 21, 2021 AGM.  Although several qualified candidates stepped forward to serve on the ExComm, there were no contested races. 

Congratulations to our new ExComm members: 

Chair:  Richard Miller (73 votes), Vice Chair:  Faith Hall Herbold (71 votes), Treasurer: Diego Heatherman (70 votes), Secretary: Marcy Fowler (71 votes), Counsel: Josh Friedman (71 votes), Members-at-Large: Ted France (69 votes), Jacki Hafellner (66 votes), Tanya Lolonis (68 votes), Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (69 votes), Raina Saul-Ganev (69 votes), Sophie Spiegelberger (68 votes), DPCA Voting Representative: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (72 votes)

 


 

Issues & Actions:

From the Chair

Many of us look for outlets where we can volunteer our time, to help others and make a difference. I know I have, pouring coffee at soup kitchens, joining community spring clean-ups, raising money for good causes.

But nothing quite compared to my time as a DA Super Volunteer (not an official title, I’m sure) in the run-up to the 2020 election. The energy I felt rallying overseas voters made me feel like I was personally working to save democracy, if not the planet! And that energy was amplified many times over by so many of you. Look at what we in Austria achieved!

  • In 2020, our 34 phone bankers had 11,904 conversations with members around the world - the 6th highest of all country committees!
  • With 65 active volunteers, DAA had one of the highest volunteer rates of any country committee.
  • Volunteers working at 17 in-person voter help tables registered and helped hundreds of Americans living in Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, and Vienna to vote.
  • And finally, 391 Americans in Austria joined DAA in 2020 - our largest gain ever!

As your Chair for the next two years, working alongside an amazing Executive Committee, we look to harness that same energy to set the stage and then get out of the vote for the midterm elections in 2022.

But we need your help. If you have the time and desire, please consider sharing your talents and skills, whether to organize an event or recruit new members. Find out more about open positions below, "Open Caucus and Committee Positions."

Let me end with a challenge! I would ask each one of you to commit to signing up at least one new member of DA Austria this year. I am going to start with my youngest son, Marco, who turns 18 on April 8. That’s one! Who will you approach?

What makes me proud is to lead an organization with so many committed members. I cannot think of a more important way to volunteer than by being part of this great team and serving as chair of Democrats Abroad Austria.

Democratically yours,

Richard 

Democrats Abroad Austria, Chair



Open Caucus and Committee Positions

We are searching for people to lead some of our caucuses, namely the Youth Caucus, AAPI Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and LGBTQ+ Caucus. If you have questions about leading a caucus, reach out to our new Vice Chair, Faith Hall Herbold, who, with Jason Means, is co-coordinator of DAA’s Black Caucus. You can also read about all our volunteer positions here.

— Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair



Introducing Jason Means

Global Black Caucus Austria would like to introduce Jason Means, who will serve as co-coordinator with Faith Herbold. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jason moved to Austria in 2018. When he’s not working in international research funding at the University of Vienna, you can find him...on the couch, surrounded by plants and attempting to knit (a newly acquired lockdown skill)! Welcome to the team, Jason! Stay tuned for more information and events from the GBC!  



Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force Congressional Action

The Taxation Task Force has published a Democrats Abroad statement submitted to the Senate Committee on Finance in relation to their March 25 hearing on “How U.S. International Tax Policy Impacts American Workers, Jobs, and Investment”.  You can download it here.

Importantly, in our statement we join the other organisations advocating on behalf of Americans living abroad in asking for hearings on Americans abroad and the tax, financial account reporting, and other issues we deal with, as well as the implications of Residency-Based Taxation.

Many DA members have messaged the Tax Task Force about the hearing, interested to know if we would make a statement.  

Tax is an issue of perennial concern to Democrats Abroad members.  We ask you to read this post and share with friends, colleagues, and on your social media channels.  

We are still looking for volunteers to help with some research in support of our advocacy work. If you would like to help, please contact us at [email protected].

Many thanks and please send questions or comments to [email protected].

— Carmelan Polce, Taxation Task Force Chair



News from Solidarity Sundays

For four years, Solidarity Sundays conducted our own civics course, analysing our political system and acting to fix it—one Sunday a month. 

The pandemic pushed our community into cyberspace, but the challenge helped us to move from humble beginnings in Vienna‘s 7th District to global 😉 reach. Online, Solidarity Sundays draws participants and speakers from all corners of Austria, from Israel to California and from the UK to South Africa.

Our co-founder, Juan, has relocated to Paris, where he now chairs the Paris Chapter of DA France (congratulations, Buddy!). On April 25 he will host Solidarity Sundays‘ first Parisian Edition. 

At our last meet up, Bruce Murray spoke to us on how H.R. 1 passed the House with unanimous Democratic support. The bill is designed to take the burden off voters, and it’s a broadly popular bill. But Republicans have decided that anything that makes it easier for all people to vote is a nonstarter for them. Solidarity Sundays is building on Bruce‘s lead. At our April meeting, Ada Shen, former Chair, Democrats Abroad France, will discuss voter protection and the For The People Act in detail, and how we can help get it over the finish line.

— Tanya Lolonis & Juan Cerda, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinators

Contact us!  [email protected]

Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

While you’re calling and writing to your representatives about the Environmental Justice for All Act, learning about the impact of industrial agriculture on the climate and food production, and not falling for fossil fuel industry greenwashing, we hope you will join us in celebrating Earth Day safely from wherever you are! Because we are spread across the globe, and subject to different covid restrictions, The Climate Action Team is curating a list of virtual Earth Day events for you to participate in. We have things that work for multiple time zones, and for various age groups. This list will be continually updated until Earth Day, so if you have a suggestion, please email it to gwc-climateacti[email protected] and we will consider adding it! Find all the Earth Day events here.

 


 

Reviews:  

2021 Annual General Meeting

Forty-two members attended this year’s Annual General Meeting from all around Austria. They participated in a discussion about our plans to hold the House and Senate in 2022 and map out our priorities for 2021 in order to achieve this goal. Members went into breakout rooms for small group discussions and then reported back to the main group. Some of the themes touched on were ways to reach more Americans, increase membership, and raise funds to support our Get Out The Vote efforts in 2022. We also discussed how to build on our momentum with members outside of Vienna and keep them engaged when we return to in-person events. 

Prior to the introduction of the 2021-2023 Executive Committee, the outgoing ExCom and Caucuses gave reports on their work over the past year. In her Chair’s Report, Jen noted that DA Austria once again had fantastic voter engagement numbers this year ranking 6th globally and had the highest volunteer rate of the 51 DA country committees. Marcy, in her Treasurer’s Report, discussed DAA’s strong financial position thanks to an increase in sustaining donors and generous donations. She also reported on how the funds raised were put to good use to enhance our voter engagement efforts. 

Special guest speaker, Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair, spoke to us about how DA was the margin of victory in key states, like Georgia, in 2020. Her presentation also focused on legislative outreach to counteract voter suppression efforts at the state level. Please get in touch with her if you’d like to help in this effort at [email protected]

Thanks to everyone who attended! As promised, you will receive an invitation for a wine tasting event as soon as we’re able to hold in-person events again.

— Jen Rakow-Stepper, 2017-2021 DAA Chair



Solidarity Sundays: Filibuster or Bust

March 28, 2021

Americans want gun control, money out of politics, and action on climate. Why doesn't Congress act on the people's priorities? Are there any levers to break the gridlock? 

There's one. Every bill passes through the Senate on its way to becoming law. And a single Senate rule lets a minority of senators block the will of the nation.

The filibuster, a parliamentary procedure, was an innovation by southern senators to protect slavery. It has been used to prevent anything from legislation to nominations from being brought to a vote unless three-fifths of senators (60 of 100) vote to move forward. This means a minority of 41 senators can prevent bills they don’t like from ever getting a vote.

Eliminating (or reforming) the filibuster only needs a simple majority of senators (51) to change the rules. However, a small group of Senate Democrats remains reluctant to eliminate this anti-democratic feature of our political system once and for all. Got 5 minutes to help democracy? (Heck, it's lockdown, of course you've got 5 minutes!) Help your senators do the right thing. Tell them to end the filibuster and fix the Senate. Find and email them here.

Budget reconciliation is exempt from the supermajority requirement, which is why Biden's American Rescue Plan passed with only 51 Senate votes. It sends economic assistance directly to families, workers, and small businesses. Hunter Christopher says one feature is poised to make it the biggest anti-poverty act since The New Deal.

Currently, the partially-refundable Child Tax Credit helps families by reducing their income tax liability. The Rescue Plan takes the transformative step of making the credit fully refundable. 

Why does refundability matter? It can now be paid to working families who don‘t earn enough to pay federal income tax. And monthly installments begin this summer—no waiting until tax season. 

Economists expect this to reduce child poverty in America by 45 percent. Elections have consequences. Solidarity Sundays thanks you for being a voter.

— Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinator

For slides from the meet-up:  [email protected]



Thank you for reading April’s newsletter!