The climate crisis is a significant contributing factor to many conflicts and refugee situations around the globe, putting Americans abroad - and all global citizens - at risk due to political insecurity. How will you ensure that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions below Paris Accord targets and lead the global effort to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown and the global insecurity it would cause?
What do you think a U.S. President in early 2021 can do, independently of the cooperation of Congress or other countries, to respond to this crisis?
The U.S. has never hesitated to lead the world in the advancement of our values and priorities. But first, we must lead by example, which is why I have put forward a comprehensive plan to combat climate change that includes a direct investment of over $3 trillion by 2030 to fund the transition to a 100% carbon-neutral economy by no later than 2045--ahead of the 2050 timeline for global emissions laid out by international scientists--spurring economic activity, creating millions of jobs, and empowering communities to have control and ownership over their energy systems and local environments. My plan also includes a sweeping investment in environmental justice to focus resources on the communities impacted by pollution and climate change, including the replacement of every school, daycare, and residential lead drinking water service line in the country.
But I understand the urgency of this issue. As president, I will take immediate executive action to:
- Drastically increase EPA enforcement actions against polluting companies.
- Reinstate and strengthen CAFE standards that the Trump administration is rolling back.
- Establish a regulatory requirement that all new passenger vehicles after 2030 be zero emission.
- Signing an executive order to bar all new onshore and offshore fossil fuel leases.
- Implement a requirement for fossil fuel companies to stop methane leaks from both new and existing sources.
- Rescind Trump’s executive orders to shrink national monuments and beginning to designate additional lands and waters for protection.
- Revoke Trump executive orders to approve the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, and that streamline approvals of other fossil fuel projects.
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and bringing the international community together around more ambitious emission reduction commitments.
- Begin to negotiate new trade agreements that include progressive environmental and labor standards.
- End the granting of waivers to big oil companies from their blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Americans abroad hear from our neighbors and colleagues that the standing of the U.S. in world affairs has plummeted over the past three years. What would you do to re-establish trust and re-build the confidence of the U.S. government in global institutions and with other countries?
We are the strongest nation on earth, but that strength is magnified when we stand by our allies and uplift our values. Instead we have a president that has reneged on U.S. multilateral commitments and undermined our allies at every turn. As President, I will work to restore American leadership by ensuring that we have a fully staffed State Department and a fully functioning diplomatic corps, prioritizing foreign aid, and working closely with our allies and recommitting to NATO -- not undermining it. A core component of diplomacy is trust, and I will work tirelessly to rebuild that trust with our friends and allies, and credibility with our adversaries.
In a 2019 survey of Americans living abroad, Democrats Abroad found that 2.2% cited their reason for living abroad as “affordable healthcare.” These numbers include ‘healthcare refugees’ who cannot afford to return to live in the U.S. due to the high cost of healthcare and the threat of bankruptcy due to illness. Under your healthcare plan, will Americans currently abroad at all income levels and states of health be able to return to live in the U.S. and receive quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for their families at reasonable cost without threat of bankruptcy?
Yes. Our health care system is broken. We pay more for health care than any other wealthy country, yet we still have inadequate care, and many uninsured Americans. I will put us on a path to get to Medicare for All, acting with urgency every single day to expand access to every American. That begins with strengthening the Affordable Care Act, reducing drug prices, and providing a public option to ensure guaranteed, affordable health care for every American because health care is a human right.
Executive orders such as the one exploiting the term "public charge" demonstrate that our current immigration system was founded in a shameful era of discrimination and bigotry, and that family members of Americans abroad are allowed entry to the U.S. due to a patchwork of fragile bandaids and weakly defended interpretations. Would you restore the principle of family reunification?
The USCIS, which is responsible for processing applications to reunite families, is slated to close all 14 of its 23 international offices in the next year. These closings are unacceptable, and will cause tremendous harm to Americans living abroad. As president, I will end this administration’s un-American Muslim and refugee bans, and eliminate the un-American “public charge” rule, that targets immigrant families for deportation if they use programs that reduce hunger, poverty, and sickness, forcing families to choose between basic needs or keeping their family together. And, I will fight for the passage of legislation in Congress that reforms our immigration system and provides earned citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working with us as our family members, colleagues, neighbors, and friends.
Regulatory guidance from the Treasury Department could mitigate the harms of FATCA suffered by thousands of Americans living and working abroad. Will you commit to directing the Treasury Department to study and then implement, as a high priority, new guidance that will provide relief to ordinary Americans living abroad who are demonstrably not evading taxes?
Most Americans living abroad think that the time has come for Residency-Based Taxation, the principle guiding all other countries' tax systems and a fix for numerous unjust burdens on Americans living and working abroad. There are bi-partisan, revenue-neutral proposals to implement RBT that include robust provisions to protect the law from abuse by tax evaders. All we need is a moment of leadership to get this done. Will you be that leader?
I support Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act, which would create a bipartisan commission to study the challenges of Americans living abroad, including FATCA requirements, and make policy recommendations for how the federal government can better support them.
While federal legislation provides some protection for overseas voters, this legislation does not go far enough to counter the challenges that states, and recently the Trump administration, have set up to limit voting from abroad. 67% of abroad ballots are returned by mail, largely due to state requirements, yet postal delivery of ballots is fraught with problems, and during each election thousands of ballots do not arrive on time to be counted. To make matters worse, in less than a month the U.S. may withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, likely leading to serious delays and postal mail price increases. How will you help protect the rights of Americans abroad to vote while helping states ensure that ballots are returned safely?
Whether intentional or not, by considering withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union, this administration has threatened the right to vote for Americans abroad, including those serving in the military. We need to be strengthening and expanding the right to vote for all Americans, not undermining it like this president has sought to do time and time again. I am fighting for a New Voting Rights Act to finally put an end to systematic attempts to limit access to the ballot box and strip citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. As president, I will protect and expand every American's right to take part in our democracy. My plan would ensure universal automatic voter registration and vote by mail so that all voters would have the option to vote by mail, not just those who live abroad or in certain states. My voting rights plan would also restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, end partisan gerrymandering and voter roll purging, and make Election Day a national holiday.