Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Charles Rangel (D-NY) have introduced H.R.6263, legislation to create a Federal commission to study the impact of government policies upon the millions of Americans living overseas.
"Americans living and working overseas constitute a kind of unsung constituency," Maloney said. "They pay taxes and vote, but U.S. policies and laws can have unintended and sometimes irrational consequences on their lives-- because no entity in Washington is paying attention. These hardworking citizens are our country's informal ambassadors around the globe and help strengthen the U.S. economy and promote American influence. Their concerns about how their government interacts with them deserve to be heard-- and paid attention to-- here in Washington."
"As a member of the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus, I am proud to fully support the Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act, authored by my friend and Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney,' Honda said. "Millions of U.S. citizens who are living and working abroad have voiced their concerns regarding the harmful impacts of federal policies-- often unintentional-- on their lives. These Americans abroad promote U.S. influence around the globe and help our economy thrive, yet our federal policies often disenfranchise them from becoming citizen ambassadors or even returning to the U.S. It is time we acquire a thorough, comprehensive understanding of the federal policy impacts on these Americans, which this bill would provide."
"This commission would give Congress an opportunity to look under the hood of this issue and see what's working, what isn't, and what can work better," Rep. Rangel said. "It's our elected responsibility to ensure American citizens here and abroad are equally protected by their nation's laws and Executive actions."
BACKGROUND ON THE LEGISLATION
Rep. Maloney is co-founder and Chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus in the House.
This legislation creates a 15-member bipartisan Executive Commission to study the impact of U.S. laws and Executive actions on the overseas Americans community. The study would then be used to make recommendations for actions Congress and the Executive Branch could take to improve collaboration and communication of policies impacting this community. The intent of the review is to ensure awareness, coordination, and integration of the activities of the federal government relating to Americans abroad. Specific areas of federal policy the Commission is charged with looking into are tax and banking policy (including FATCA, Banking Secrecy Act, USA PATRIOT Act), immigration, voting, access to federal benefits (Medicare, Social Security), and student loans. There is an initial study due one year after enactment, and then one year following that report an update of what actions the federal government has taken based on recommendations from the initial report.