Interview with Renee Nielsen of Republicans Abroad
The AABC’s interview with Renee Nielsen:
Representative for Republicans Abroad in The Netherlands
AABC: What is the role of the Republicans Abroad in the Netherlands?
Renee Nielsen: The role of Republicans Abroad is to assist US citizens with voter registration and to work with our host country to help understand what the GOP stands for. [Republicans Abroad] is a soft place to fall for like-minded friendly discussion.
AABC: Do you feel that the interests of Americans living abroad are being considered/addressed in the election and the US government?
RN: The interests of Americans living abroad were absolutely not considered in the past. We are a neglected group of citizens because we are not a concentrated constituency. Our votes are diluted with other homeland American voters whose local issues take priority over ours as they outnumber us in the counties we are required to register our votes in.
However, in this election cycle, the GOP has stepped forward and is hearing those of us living abroad. This is thanks in part to the Republicans Overseas organization with their lawsuits against the Federal Government. RO and other groups against FATCA have gotten the party leadership’s attention — including that of Reince Priebus who is chairman of the Republican National Committee. Republicans Abroad Netherlands is doing our best to promote RO’s fine work. There is congressional panel being convened to investigate FATCA and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has recently introduced HR5935 to go even further in its assistance toward financial relief for American citizens living abroad.
More information about this issue can be found at the Republicans Abroad Netherlands website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
AABC: As a representative for Republicans Abroad, what are your views on the election?
RN: It is an extremely unusual election and Trump is not a traditional GOP candidate in general because he is not a politician, but we do support our party’s nominee as the one to bring about change.
Change for many overseas voters may be in regards to party their traditional party alliance as ordinary Americans living their lives lawfully and peacefully are fearful of the IRS and Treasury departments targeting of their private affairs and being denied bank accounts in their country of residence. Therefore, the luxury of traditional partisan voting may be “trumped” by the reality that only a GOP President is likely to sign any repeal for FATCA and establish residency-based taxation. These two crucial positions have now been established formally within the GOP platform. The Safe Harbor option being pushed as an alternative doesn’t go far enough because it still requires the US citizen to fill out paperwork exempting themselves from taxes and still completely avoids the larger issue on establishing residency-based taxation. This is because Americans living abroad are being used as an easily-targeted (sometimes double-taxed!) revenue generator by the US Government — even though we already pay taxes in our countries of residence. We at RA-NL are thrilled the GOP is taking the lead on financial relief for millions of everyday Americans living ordinary lives outside the USA.
The thought of waiting at least 4 or even 8 more years without resolution and relief from FATCA has transcended tradition party allegiance this election cycle based on the phone calls RA-NL is receiving.
This may sound like a broken record, but it is reality.
AABC: How can Americans abroad make a difference in the election?
RN: Vote. The GOP has reached out to Americans living abroad and has started to hear and understand how badly we are being treated. A vote is the only way we have to voice our disapproval for policies. Unless and until they remove the vote for US citizens living outside the United States, we must make our voices heard.
We as Americans abroad have the right to be considered as a constituency with our own unique issues such as FACTA and residency-based taxation.
Visit fvap.gov to register to vote.
“I Voted” photo credit: bludgeoner86 on Flickr
Share this article: