updated 3:57 PM CET, Oct 27, 2020

Joe Biden to Americans abroad: we'll "work...with you" on the issues impacting your lives

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has at last acknowledged the American expatriate voter, with a letter "to all Americans Residing Abroad" in which he pledges that a Biden-Harris administration would "work in partnership with you on all the issues that impact your lives and well-being as Americans resident abroad, including reviewing the barriers to accessing banking and financial services".

"My campaign has made it a priority to engage with you, and that will remain true throughout a Biden-Harris Administration," Biden adds in the single-paged letter, which was posted on the Democrats Abroad's website on Sept. 29th, and which may be viewed by clicking here.

In his letter, Biden begins by talking about the "global pandemic that has cost more than 200,000 lives in the U.S. and almost one million lives globally", then notes how the Trump administration has "actively tried to overturn the Affordable Care Act and strip away health care protections", before going on to observe that Trump had "tarnished America's credibility on the international stage, and damaged our ability to lead the world to address the global challenges that threaten lives everywhere". 

Biden ends by reminding his American expat readers to register to vote, adding, "I'm asking for your vote, and I hope to earn it." 

Among the key issues of interest to American expats that his letter doesn't specifically address are America's citizenship-based tax regime, which many expats say should be replaced with a residence-based system, like most of the rest of the world has; the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which was signed into law by president Obama when Biden was vice president, and is widely seen by expatriate Americans as in need of fixing, if not abolishing; and the cost and difficulties Americans face when trying to renounce their citizenships, currently the subject of a crowd-funded legal case that the Paris-based Accidental Americans Association (Association des Américains Accidentels, or AAA) is planning to bring against the U.S. State Department once the election is over. 

Nor does the letter address certain other issues that, like the call for a residence-based tax regime, were included in the Democrats Abroads' 55-page 2020 platform, which was approved in June, but which, as reported here in July, failed to be taken up by the main Democratic Party in its 2020 platform.

These included a call for "the establishment of a Commission on Americans Abroad" to address the issues Americans abroad continue to face; expansion of the existing Americans Abroad Caucus in Congress; and reforms to the existing U.S. tax regulations that would "exempt law-abiding Americans abroad – and their banks – from FATCA and FBAR reporting, on accounts in their bona fide country of residence (Same Country Exemption)".

Nevertheless, the Democrats Abroad has welcomed Biden's letter, in a posting on the organization's website.

"Thank you, Joe Biden, for your letter to all Americans residing abroad," it begins.

"As you note, this is the most important election of our lifetime. Our votes matter and our voices matter. We believe this deeply, and Democrats Abroad is working tirelessly to make sure every voter abroad has the opportunity to successfully cast their ballot. We are also working to make sure that our voices are heard.

"Towards that goal, we appreciate that senior staff of the Biden campaign have sat down with our policy teams and discussed with us many of the specific issues and concerns that Americans abroad face.

"We appreciate your commitment to ensuring an agile and well functioning State Department able to serve Americans abroad. We appreciate your understanding of our need for consular, visa, immigration, and adoption services to support our families. And we appreciate that you understand the need to seriously review taxation laws which create financial barriers and complexities unique to Americans abroad. Our policy teams are ready to work with your administration to build concrete next steps that will alleviate the issues we all face.

"But before we begin that work, we will first deliver an all-time-high number of votes from abroad in November, and help elect the Biden/Harris ticket and as many Democrats as possible, up and down the ballot, and across the country."

To read Joe Biden's letter to Americans Residing Abroad in full, click "Next", below.


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