A new Act is being called for in America to create a commission to study the effects of government policy on the eight million Americans living overseas.

According to the Americans Abroad Caucus, they miss out in terms of voting rights, financial reporting and other issues as federal policies do not take into account the unique circumstances of expats who still have to pay taxes in the US.

USAmap
Carolyn Maloney and Mike Honda of the Americans Abroad Caucus have introduced new legislation to Congress to establish a commission that would study the variety of ways federal policy fails expats.

"Americans living and working overseas constitute a kind of unsung constituency. They pay taxes and vote, but US policies and laws can have unintended and sometimes damaging consequences on their lives because no entity in Washington is paying attention," said Maloney. "These hard working citizens are our country’s informal ambassadors around the globe and help strengthen the US 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."

Honda explained that the Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act would take action to address the concerns of expats who feel disenfranchised.

"Federal laws addressing finance, voting, and access to social programmes often ignore the burdensome impact they have on Americans living overseas," said Honda. "Setting up this commission is a step forward in ensuring that federal laws that affect these citizens take their concerns into account. Every American deserves to have a voice in our great democracy, regardless of where he or she is living."

The Commission would look into federal financial reporting requirements for a US citizen living in a foreign country, federal policies and requirements that affect an overseas citizen’s access to foreign and domestic financial institutions, and federal requirements for a spouse, child or another family member of a US citizen living abroad to become a US citizen.

Other issues to be examined include the ability of a US citizen living overseas to vote in Federal, State and local elections in the US, and the process by which they do so and the process by which a US citizen living abroad interacts with Federal programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Also on the agenda is methods to improve collaborations between US citizens abroad and Federal Agencies that oversee programs that serve them.

The legislation creates a 10-member bipartisan Executive Commission to study the impact of US laws and Executive actions on the overseas Americans community. The study would then be used to make recommendations for actions that Congress and the Executive Branch could take to improve collaboration and communication of policies impacting the expat community.