On 17 July Democrats Abroad made a submission to the Senate Finance Committee on tax reform in response to an invitation from SFC Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch. These are key comments in summary.Read more
On July 13 and 14, at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump traveled to Paris to observe Bastille Day festivities. Democrats Abroad France responded to Trump’s visit with a rally supporting Democratic issues.Read more
We would like to extend a huge “Thank you” to the GOTV and phonebanking volunteers! Thanks to our volunteers, we contacted hundreds of DA members who vote in Georgia and South Carolina — and hundreds more who vote in Montana, California and Kansas for the 2017 Special Elections. A special shout-out to the top three phonebanking volunteers in June:
Wendy Abondolo (DA UK)
Dean Shuey (DA Philippines)
Michelle Beldner (DA Denmark)
All of the 2017 Special Elections have been held in deeply 'red' districts, specifically chosen by Republicans because they were 'safe' seats. Each seat came very close to being flipped! In just seven months since the 2016 elections, Republicans suffered huge drops in their winning margins — ranging from 9 to 24 point swings.
These results show that Democrats can pick up the 24 seats needed to win a House majority in 2018. All 435 House seats are up for grabs in 2018, including 241 Republican seats. More than 70 of these Republican seats lean more Democratic than the Georgia 6th District!
This fall, we'll be counting on DA members and volunteers to turn out the Democratic vote for the Special Election in Utah's 3rd Congressional District, the Special Election for the Alabama Senate seat, and the New Jersey and Virginia State races. Let's keep the momentum going for 2018!
Here’s what you can do:
Volunteer with the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) team. Use this form to let us know what you’d like to do: Join the GOTV Team
Send your ideas to help make GOTV more effective to firstname.lastname@example.org
Vote in a 2017 election: start the process at VoteFromAbroad.org and follow the prompts. Then print out the form, sign it and send it in to your Local Election Office back in the U.S.
Net Neutrality or the Open Internet is important for everyone, but for Americans living abroad internet access is absolutely vital for staying in touch with family and friends, and to continue participating in American democracy.
Proposed FCC rules structurally undermine the equality of citizens to participate freely in the public sphere.Read more
Under Trumpcare, Americans abroad with pre-existing conditions may be forced to live in “exile” if the Republican health bill passes. Young families considering a return to the US would face decreased coverage for family planning and maternal/infant care. For those with loved ones in the US, cutting Medicaid funding will have an impact on our elderly family members as well as those with disabilities or mental health issues. We face very tough decisions, not only about ourselves but about our families back in the US.
There are lots of unknowns about the Senate healthcare bill. The bill is being written behind closed doors by a 13-member (all white male) working group led by Senator Mitch McConnell. Even Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price admitted on June 17th that he had not seen what the Republicans were working on. But what we do know is that the Republican-dominated Senate is pushing forward to get their health care bill passed by July 4th. The Senate plans on sending their bill to the Congressional Budget Office before making their text public and have been liaising with the CBO behind the scenes in order to speed up the scoring.
By contrast, the Affordable Care Act had months of public hearings, 160 hours of debate and discussions surrounding hundreds of amendments (170 of which were adopted).
It is critical that we demand that the senate discuss the bill in a democratic fashion - opening it up to discussion, debate and amendment. It is critical that we demand that no American's health and security be sacrificed at the altar of special interests. The pressure that McConnell is exercising on Republican Senators to get enough votes to pass this bill is immense. We must exert equal pressure by calling our Senators to let them know how the bill will impact us and to tell our stories.
Take a moment today to call your senator about the bill and tell them your story. If they are Democratic they will appreciate your support and if they are Republican they need to feel the pressure.
Below are a few personal stories from Americans abroad that provide our unique perspective on health care - both in the US and in the countries where we now live.
As Congress moves toward tax reform, Americans living abroad demand a fairer, common-sense approach
Democrats Abroad calls on Congress to consider Residence-Based Taxation as part of their upcoming comprehensive tax reform package.Read more
Last month in Washington DC at the Democrats Abroad Annual Global Convention, the LGBT Caucus presented its plans and goals in this new era, which sees LGBT rights under attack and threatened with rollback after eight years of unprecedented progress.Read more
Democrats Abroad reaffirms its support for the Paris Accord and urges President Trump to remain committed to the Agreement.
“As Americans living abroad, we see climate change as an issue that demands our urgent attention,” said Julia Bryan, International Chair, Democrats Abroad. “Our members are not only Americans but also global citizens, and we believe that the U.S. can and should take a leadership role in preventing climate change. Committing to the Paris Accord is a critical step in that leadership.”
Earlier this year, Democrats participated in science and climate change marches around the world. The issue of climate change was also a key focus in the 2016 Democrats Abroad Party Platform, which received thousands of contributions with vetting from industry experts. Members voiced their concerns related to greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions, as well as long term security threats such as food and water scarcity, and public health and security issues.
The platform was ratified by 97% of electors, who urged the US government to address this pressing issue before it is too late.
More than 50 Democrats Abroad leaders took to Capitol Hill for a two-day Congressional Door Knock following the DPCA Global Meeting in Washington, D.C.
For this year’s Door Knock, members focused on lobbying for five key DA issues:
1. Overseas voting rights to advocate for easier registration and increased rules and deadlines transparency, including support for the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act and Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP).
2. A fully funded and balanced Elections Assistance Commission to support ballot requests and information for Americans residing abroad.
3. FATCA reform through support of HR 2136 - same country safe harbor bill and combined reporting for FATCA and FBAR forms.
4. A move toward Residence Based Taxation (RBT) to reduce the burden of double taxation on Americans overseas, which DA has advocated for over the past two decades.
5. State Department and Embassy funding to continue education and support programs such as USAID, American Citizen Services, and education services; that enrich the lives of citizens abroad and increase diplomatic relations in foreign countries.
DA leaders had an impactful two days both hearing from and speaking to members of the House and Senate, many of them from their home states and districts, on these issues which greatly impact on American citizens overseas. It was also an opportunity for members to personally visit with their Congressional representatives to better encourage civic engagement.
Participants capped off their trip to the Hill with a special Democrats Abroad focused episode of Democrats Live which energized everyone for the summer of resistance ahead.
Until next time!
Courtney Hagen, DAUK/Global comms team